Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We Are All In This Together

A glance at human history reveals that man has been engaged in mortal conflict from the earliest of times, and for most of the time with few short intermissions. Bloodshed has been the primary means for solving problems and settling differences. The impetus for conflict has run the gamut from conquest and power, to religion, to the quest for freedom.
In this day of so-called enlightenment, we find ourselves not far removed from the aggressive tendencies of the past. On one hand we have the highest living standards ever; on the other hand, we still treat each other with savagery and disdain. War has been with us continuously. The USA alone has been engaged in at least 12 wars since we became a nation, not counting numerous battles with American Indians.

Why have we not learned to resolve our differences without bloodshed? We seem to think of ourselves as warriors, much the same as did Alexander of Greece over 2,000 years ago. We choose warriors as our heroes, and our national anthems are about victory in battle. Nearly every political or social debate includes terms such as "fight", "battle" and "war" (i.e. war on poverty, terror, crime, drugs, etc.) How can we hope to live in peace when every issue is approached as a battleground rather than as an opportunity to work out a peaceful solution?
We see ourselves as citizens-first of our nation, then our continent, then the world. What would happen if we reversed our citizenship priorities and saw ourselves first as citizens of the world sharing a common need to get along with each other in order to avoid confrontations which might result in armed conflict and. possibly weapons of mass destruction?
There was a time in human history when what one tribe, clan or kingdom did to another affected only 2 parties, the perpetrator and the victim. Not so any longer. Today the people of the world are so interconnected that what happens in one part of the world affects, sooner or later, other parts of the world. Example: one nation attacking another can spread to other nations, and usually does, thus threatening the peace and liberty of all nations. This happened in Nazi Germany and is happening now in the Middle East.
I know of no easy solutions, but, if we are to find any at all, we must have a new dialogue which begins with, "We are all in this together".

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At Thursday, January 15, 2009 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is that while we are all in this together, we are not all the same. Different values, world views, intelligence levels, perceptions, and desires will always create competing parties. Since the dichotomy of desires will be so broad, the conflict must be reduced to the lowest common denominator. Violence is that denominator.


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