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Is World Peace Possible?

Updated on April 6, 2018
DzyMsLizzy profile image

A lifelong reader & writer, Liz writes poetry; articles on this, & other sites; & playing with words. She also enjoys movies & reviewing.

The High Cost of Wars

Arlington National Cemetery Too many stones across the nation mark the place where they sleep who gave their all.
Arlington National Cemetery Too many stones across the nation mark the place where they sleep who gave their all. | Source

Written on Memorial Day, 2012:

On this day, all over Face Book, were hundreds of posts with reminders of the reason we have such a "holiday." There were stories of people's memories from their youth; stories of the sadness and tragedy of losing friends in a war; images of families and friends placing flags and flowers on graves and reading names from memorial walls and plaques.

It is very sad, and very maddening, all at the same time. Here we have a national holiday that is the traditional kick-off to summer fun, what with barbeques, picnics, fireworks, boating, and so forth, all in memory of the senseless loss of lives in wars. This juxtaposition just feels wrong.

While it is true that many of the wars of the past allowed us to be free of the constraints placed upon us by the government of another country, and thus the celebrations; it rankles that so many today have no idea of the actual meaning of the day. Since the holiday is about remembering, honoring, and paying homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, as well as to those who survived, it just feels to this writer that it should be a more somber celebration.

How many know that the beautiful, breathtaking fireworks displays we love were originally a representation and re-creation of the sound and appearance of the gunfire, bombs, and rocket blasts of wartime? Do you know that the parades were originally a tribute by the living to honor those both fallen and who continue to serve, and not a commercial or political advertising opportunity?

And how many set an empty place at their picnic table to honor those men and women?

The Glory of War?? What?

All of this puts many of us into a mindset of "why should there be wars, anyway?" I, myself, am cast back to the Rodney King incident, and feel with him, "Why can't we all just get along?"

What is worse, and shameful, is the glorification of the idea of war seen in the back-slapping camaraderie of many (no, not "all") war veterans, giving the old "hoo-rah," as they recall their battle exploits in killing off the 'bad guys.' I guess the definition of who the 'bad guys' are depends upon your perspective, for in reality, each thinks that of the others.

Hollywood has not helped the matter at all--rather, they've fed into it; created a lust for it; made the younger generations dream of having "their turn" at such so-called glory. For a reality check, just remove the letter "L" from 'glory,' and you have the truth of the matter.

Indeed! If only our social skills as human beings had evolved at the same rate as our technical knowledge, we might well be at that place, all just getting along famously. Sadly, that is not the case.

There are few situations in which we humans exhibit the appropriate skills to solve problems without violence; one remaining is in the arena of formalized debating. Yet even that lofty forum has slid away from its strict rules, with debaters interrupting each other, calling their opponents out as liars, and so forth.

GLORY - L = GORY

The Machines of War Lay Waste to Hope

The anonymity of killing from afar has removed the feeling of personal responsibility
The anonymity of killing from afar has removed the feeling of personal responsibility | Source

Without words, we resort to the sword. And sadly, the sword has morphed into mortars, stealth aircraft, remotely controlled drones, and "personnel bombs" that preserve the buildings for use by the invading forces.

We are the only species on the planet to engage in such self-destructive behavior, and continue to do so with each successive generation!

In truth, every life lost, no matter on whose "side" it is lost; every one of those lives, whether on the battlefield or in civilian areas, is someone's beloved spouse, parent, sibling, or other relative, or even a dear friend.

Every.

Single.

One.

No one ever "wins" a war; it's only a matter of who can outlast or out maneuver the other. The toll taken by wars throughout history is colossal. The destruction of lives is all the sadder when the lost potential of that life is considered.

Which of them might have translated an ancient, lost language? Which of them may have found cure for cancer? Which of them might have found a way for all to have clean energy at reasonable cost? Who might have solved world hunger? The list goes on...

No one ever "wins" a war

What Is War?

At its simplest and most basic level, a war is nothing more than a disagreement over some principle or concept. It's a schoolyard argument and fight gone out of control to horrifying proportions. What a shame that adults cannot seem to outgrow the urge to fight, instead of negotiating.

There are, and have been, throughout history, only two main causes for wars: greed and religion.

In the first case, some country's leader decides that his empire is simply not large enough, and he wants to control the world, or, he wants to own the products made by that other country or territory, so he will not have to pay to import them: they will be his to use and profit from. In the end, it boils down to money.

In the second case, there is some ruler who has gone to extremist views with his religion, and feels that it is somehow his sworn and sacred duty to convert the rest of the population to his way of thinking.

Religious extremism is dangerous, no matter the religion in question. It is also the ultimate irony and contradiction, since most of the world's major religions have some dictum in place against killing people. And, so far as I have been able to determine, not one of them includes a qualifier stating, " Unless they don't agree with us; then slaughter them all."

Yet the extremists somehow manage to twist the intent of the wording in their "holy books" to force a meaning suitable to their own ends--which usually fall right back into the categories of greed, power, and control.

Regimental march
Regimental march | Source

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.

— Albert Einstein

How Do We End Wars?

It will not be easy. Too many people in high places are in love with the faulty concept that war is good for the economy, although that is the opposite of the truth. The Powers That Be (TPTB) like to believe this, (or say they do), and spout it as a constant stream of propaganda in one form or another.

Why? Because too many are too enamored of the obscene profits they've made from the building of machines of war and destruction, which devastate the economy at large, while fattening their own wallets. Let them instead learn to make their money on peaceable products which benefit all mankind.

However, just as the basis of war boils down to a simple pair of concepts, so is the solution a simple pair of concepts. (Note, simple ≠ easy.) It will be a long and difficult challenge to prise the uber-rich away from their power trips.

First: End greed. Be happy with what you have, and stop lusting after what another country has. World leaders must grow up and stop acting like spoiled children fighting over a toy until they end up with it broken and forgotten, and forget what they were fighting about, so engrossed have they become in the actual battle.

Next: Everyone must keep their religious beliefs to themselves, believing whatever they wish, but not try to force them upon anyone else; no matter what god or gods they choose to worship; no matter if they worship none. But it does matter when they "get in everyone's face" and attempt to convince them of their ways.

To each his own, and as long as no one is doing anyone else any harm, what does it matter?As an old song refrain says, "...for it's nobody's business but our own." Many ancient philosophies embody the sentiment of, "Do what thou wilt, nay harm ye none, for love be the law."

There are those who may call this Communist viewpoint--that is not the case; most folks mistake true peace for Communism, for they know little of either. Alternately, there are those who would point out that this is a Pollyanna-like, unrealistic view and goal. They may be right. But we all have our dreams, and World Peace is mine. I am not the first, nor will I be the last.

We Must Each Do Our Part!

Pass this message along to the upcoming generations; teach them to talk out their differences, and to live and let live, and perhaps, someday, we will have a world living together in peace and harmony--provided we don't blow ourselves to smithereens first.

A Time to Reflect and Remember

Memorial Day Grave Flags
Memorial Day Grave Flags | Source

© 2012 Liz Elias

Comments

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  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    5 months ago from Oakley, CA

    Thank you very much, Larry; I'm pleased you liked the article.

    As to movies, I tend to agree with you, but there have been a few that showed the grittier, sad, and heart-wrenching side as well; "Saving Private Ryan" comes to mind, as does, surprisingly enough, the original "M*A*S*H" movie. Peppered though it was with the gallows humor, it showed plenty of the human cost of war, and the effects on the people who had to deal with it. The surgeons made jokes because it was their only way to cope and maintain their sanity.

    Asked some family members for their ideas of movies that don't glorify, and they came up with this list:

    "Hamburger Hill,"

    "Platoon," and

    "Full Metal Jacket."

    I haven't seen any of those; like you, war movies are not a genre I enjoy.

  • Larry Fish profile image

    Larry W Fish 

    5 months ago from Raleigh

    Liz, I have often wondered if world peace is possible. I will be 70 years old in September and I see nothing that will convince me that it is possible. As you have said we would have to stop greed. Greed of people in high place is at an all time high. They can not get enough money and power. I served in the military and I support the US military however I refuse to look at Hollywood movies about war. They like to show the glorious side, how can you have a glorious image of war. I will never understand how people can kill people that they don't even know. It is heartbreaking and sad. There have been wars in all of recorded history and it is a shame that it continues. Good writing, Liz, it really makes people think.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    5 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Irc7815,

    Thank you so very much for that ringing endorsement. (I kind of agree with you ;-) ...and I do wish they'd teach the truth in school.... ) Thanks, too, for the vote and share--much appreciated.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 

    5 years ago from Central Virginia

    What a great hub. It should be required reading for the whole world. Voted up and shared.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Vocalcoach,

    Thank you so much for such an awesome endorsement. The only problem is, I detest politics. But truly, make me empress for a day, and I'll fix everything with a few strokes of a pen. ;-)

    Thank you so much for the votes!

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 

    6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    MsLizzy - I don't think you're dizzy at all :-) After reading your hub on Recipe for World Peace, I'm thinking you should be our next President!

    A world filled with peace and harmony. Sounds like "heaven" to me.

    I like this: " At its simplest and most basic level, a war is nothing more than a disagreement over some principle or concept: an argument gone out of control to horrifying proportions."

    I'm voting up and across and thank you so much.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, KT Banks, nice to meet you. I, too, have seen and shared that same photo on FB. Sad, isn't it! Your input is appreciated, and I'm pleased you liked the article. Thanks very much for the votes!

  • KT Banks profile image

    KT Banks 

    6 years ago from Texas

    Well, I'm so happy to have found you and other like-minded souls here. On my Fb page (or timeline?) I posted a picture on Memorial Day of a parade of soldiers marching by and carrying the flag, and the only one who stood up out of respect, was a man in a wheel chair. No one else seemed to even have a clue that they were supposed to.

    Thank you for writing this. Voted Up and across.

  • Sue Adams profile image

    Juliette Kando FI Chor 

    6 years ago from Andalusia

    You are welcome Dzy, Like you say, "if each of us does what we can"

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Sue--

    You said a mouthful, and you are right on target. Those are exactly the actions needed. It has begun with the "Occupy" movement, but it must not stop there.

    We are currently in the process of changing banks...and we do have a small veggie garden...we already boycott goods made offshore, etc. However, as we are senior citizens with health issues, joining marches is not possible for us, nor is making monetary donations.

    But, if each of us does what we can, including spreading the word, there is hope for change. It won't be easy--the top-heavy status-quo is still in charge of buying the electorate, and you know what they say about THAT version of the golden rule: "He who has the gold makes the rules." A tough battle lies ahead.

    Thanks so very much for stopping by and leaving such a well-thought-out comment.

  • Sue Adams profile image

    Juliette Kando FI Chor 

    6 years ago from Andalusia

    Everyone wants to stop wars except those who benefit from it. Get rid of those people, get rid of war.

    War is a business, a profit generating industry. The military is controlled by our elected governments but unfortunately governments are controlled by the evil vultures at the top of the capitalistic pyramid: the banks that run an unviable financial system, and multinational corporations with no regard for human health or life.

    If we sit back, just agree in our lament and moan, nothing will ever change.

    Change begins at home and is well on its way.

    We, you and I, the consumer hold the power and we must use that power by positive action. Here are a few things we all can do now as proven recipes towards world peace.

    1. Say "no" with your feet. Join in peaceful protest marches.

    2. Say "no" with your wallet. Take your money out of Bank of America & other major banks. Move your money to more ethical, local cooperative banks that can be trusted not to invest arms.

    3. Stop buying plastic crap, buy locally made products to reduce the need for oil.

    4. Grow your own food to avoid becoming obese or getting cancer.

    Act positively to save your skin, put the bastards out of business.

    The people of Iceland did just that: they sacked the government, changed the laws and incarcerated the bank criminals. We can all follow suit and bring the world back to its senses.

    Yeeha!

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Mhatter99--Thanks for stopping by. I'm not quite sure what you're getting at.. Your comment seems to reiterate exactly the point I was making. It does say "thou shalt not..." and it does NOT say, "unless you think up some exception or excuse..."

    Sorry if I failed to make that clear...

  • Mhatter99 profile image

    Martin Kloess 

    6 years ago from San Francisco

    I thought it said somewhere "thou shalt not ????". perhaps if we lined our pockets with other's lives, we'd understand... sorry

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Mary615, Yes, I know.. It saddens and angers me that a species that considers itself so "advanced" cannot even get along as well as cats and dogs! Agreed that "the Golden Rule" is of paramount importance, it is mostly ignored..much to our detriment. I'm glad you liked the article, though...

    Thanks much for the votes.....

  • mary615 profile image

    Mary Hyatt 

    6 years ago from Florida

    There have been wars since the beginning of time, and I believe there will always be wars. Human beings can't get along! If everyone lived by the Golden Rule, we'd all be better off. Great Hub. I voted it UP, etc.etc.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, mwilliams66,

    Thank you very much for stopping by to add your thoughts and for the compliment. Much appreciated.

  • mwilliams66 profile image

    mwilliams66 

    6 years ago from Left Coast, USA

    I too am in complete agreement with you Ms Lizzy. What an excellent and thought provoking hub.

    Can't we all just get along

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hello, Curiad--

    Thanks so very much. I'm glad you liked the "story," as it were. I feel it is the truth of the matter, and I love that quote you added. I don't recall who said it, either. but it is a great one. Our society has become rather a complex mess, and I'm one for simplifying things down to the nutshell level. People will tell me, "It's not that simple," to which I reply, (borrowing my husband's turn of phrase), "Yes, it IS just that simple--you have to work very hard at it to make things a complicated as they have become."

  • Curiad profile image

    Mark G Weller 

    6 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

    I could not agree with you more MsLizzy!

    You told the story superbly and with truth. I have a saying, I am not sure who said it, but I say it.....

    Live simply that others may simply live.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    @ kartika damon--Thank you very much; I appreciate your comment. Yes, Einstein was a very astute observer. I do hope our species learns before it is too late.

    @ cclitgirl--Santa Claus, indeed. ;-) Good point! That is very interesting information about that island where they have learned a better way. Perhaps they are what remain of the Atlanteans? ;-)

    I thank you very much for the compliment, and I appreciate your addition to the topic.

  • cclitgirl profile image

    Cynthia Calhoun 

    6 years ago from Western NC

    Oh my goodness, my mind flooded with so many things as I read this hub. I thought about how I'm tempted to tell people I believe in "Santa Claus" because no wars have ever been fought over him and I don't think any will be. :) I thought about this little island that I read about in National Geographic off the coast of Yemen called Socato (I think that's how it's spelled) where it's known that the villagers learned the art of debate and long ago shed the notion of war when it came to land disputes and such. Then I thought about the US and how it went to war, really, for oil. In the two Gulf Wars, it was really about controlling oil - greed. Of course, fundamentalists started it in the first place in the name of religion. Ack! You would think that for all of humanity's accomplishments, we have not learned the art of being happy with what you have. Even as a US citizen, I watch as family and friends spend too much money, get too many things and see the Western-style of living encompass the planet - which means more consumerism, more stuff being produced and...next we'll have fierce competition for water and resources. Such a thought-provoking hub. You're right also about how the juxtaposition of a summer kick-off (which doesn't officially start until June 21) and a day of mourning and remembering shouldn't be. Bravo - incredible hub.

  • kartika damon profile image

    kartika damon 

    6 years ago from Fairfield, Iowa

    Very well said. It is disheartening that humans still resort to the horrors of war for a myriad of reasons that usually involve greed, the desire for power, or religious or racial intolerance. Einstein was clever noting that we are destroying ourselves with such self-destructive behavior.

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