War and Peace
Since the dawn of civilization, conflicts and fighting between friends or among people in a community have never ceased. Battles and wars between countries or among nations of the globe flare up every now and then. Amazingly, our civilization has not only survived the destructions caused by the recent two world wars but also flourished in population and prosperity. We still have different ideologies, religious faiths, and political agenda, but, we have learned to embrace, appreciate, and tolerate those differences. Without fighting or war, we will not know the benefits of negotiations and peaceful co-existence. On the other hand, we need bargaining chips and strong positions in a negotiation. We need to prepare to fight or go to war to protect peace like our personal property. We are living in an environment with limited resources. On top of that, not everyone get their fair share of the pie. Inequality breeds discontent which promotes conflict that may lead to fighting, or war. On Earth, war and peace are inseparable like good and evil, happiness and sadness, and life and death.
Bow and Arrow
Before there were written language and civilization, our ancestors already found it advantageous to band together to survive the harsh environment. They made bow and arrow, knife and spear to defend themselves against wild animals as well hunt them for food. As their group got bigger, they made tools to build shelters and cultivate the land for food. In times, they found that their biggest threat for survival was other groups of people. Deadly war would break out where the weaker tribe would be overrun by the stronger one and temporary truce would be established among those who could put up a good fight. Our ancestors had to be on constant vigil and maintain a strong fighting force to protect the fragile peace. Under these precarious conditions, written languages were invented, reliable food sources were secured, and the population was growing.
With the invention of gunpowder, there came the pistol, rifle, and cannon. With these weapons, more people could be maimed or killed with minimum effort and time. As the war became more deadly and destructive, the groups of people in a given territory found it advantageous to band together to form a nation where the necessary military operations could be put together. The aims were to protect the territory and allow its people to pursuit family and culture matters. But this conditioned peaceful environment would last only for a short while before conflict or war was knocking at the door due to either ideological differences or natural resource concerns. As a result, more and more energy and effort were needed to spend on weapon research and national defense. Nations that indulged in material comforts, cultural pursuits, or minding their own business were doomed to be taken advantage of.
In a span of 25 years, two world wars broke out. They involved almost every nation on Earth and caused a total of almost 100 million human lives. Some nations faced near whole scaled destruction of homes and properties. Weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were developed and used indiscriminately. After the second war, an arm race was started by the opposing powers more for defensive than offensive objectives. The arm race was toned down only when a mutual annihilation scenario was reached. Due to the destructive effects and the quantities of the WMDs, if another war is started, the human race will probably meet the same fate as the dinosaurs. Amazingly, living on top of this powder keg:
1) Our population has reached an all time high of around 7 billion,
2) A global commerce is developed where any nation can trade natural resources, manufactured goods, or services with any other nations,
3) A united nation organization is established where any nation can air its beef against any other nation and get mediation before the conflict simmers out of control,
4) An international monetary body is put together by the developed nations to lend a hand to nations that need financial assistance,
5) A worldwide disaster relief and rescue organization, the Red Cross, offers desperately needed and immediate helps to any nation that is affected by natural catastrophe or disease epidemic, etc.
Our journey of life on Earth has never been easy and smooth. Ever since the trek started on the African savanna many million years ago, we learned to develop weapons and defensive strategies to fend off the wild and dangerous animals. As our population grew and civilization blossomed, we learned to develop better weapons and more elaborate defensive strategies to fend off arrogant and power-hungry people who bent on imposing their wills upon the others. Today, our civilization is more than 7000 years old and we are still spending a lot of times and efforts on developing WMDs and maintaining a strong national defense, ironically, to ensure that the world’s fragile peace and order will last for another 7000 years.
War brings out the worst in us. The loss of sanity, the horrific destruction, and the senseless death caused by the war, teach us:
1) To eliminate poverty around the world as it breeds desperation, discontent, and violence,
2) To popularize higher education as it opens the mind to embrace, appreciate, and tolerate the different cultures, religions, ideologies, etc.,
3) To seek the inexhaustible energy source as the survival of our civilization demands it, etc.
On Earth, we are on top of the food chain with no natural enemy to check on our exploding population. We are even able to develop preventive measures against natural catastrophes such as earthquake, hurricane, disease epidemic, and asteroid collision. We turn out to be our own natural enemy. Some of us are capable of great good; some of us are capable of great evil. Fortunately, the great good is prevailing and our civilization gets to move forward. War is a quick and destructive way to resolve disagreements. Peace is a time we find slow and constructive ways to live with our disagreements. War keeps a check on our exploding population as we learn how to use the limited natural resources wisely and to live peacefully amongst ourselves.