An interesting phrase jumped out at me as I was reading a novel titled “People of the Lakes” by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear. It put into words a sentiment and deeply felt understanding of mine about mankind and all encompassing peace.The wisdom is from a character who is an old Native American wise man/shaman.
“…if all we did was sit around in harmony, what would get done? Think about the clans. They constantly bicker and compete. No matter how fertile a field is, it will grow goosefoot for only so long. Then it ceases to product healthy plants. Balance is the key. You must have enough harmony to provide security, and enough trouble to keep things moving.”
There are even odds that all advances and comforts that we as a species enjoy today are as a result of strife and war. Humanity probably learned to farm because our ancestors were forceably pushed out of the most fertile areas and had to figure out how to make a little food into lots of food. Some intuitive homo-something-or-other ancestor observed that where ever a favorite food plant dropped its seeds more of that plant type grew, and he or most probably she, decided that it would be very useful and more secure to have that plant grow closer to the cave or hut. Lo and behold plant cultivation, aka farming.
If there was universal peace there would also be stagnation and decay. The Earth fights the Sun for its place in orbit and our place in the Solar System andour Solar System fights the black hole in the center of our galaxy for it’s position. The lichen or moss grows on the rocks and gets into the seams and breaks the rocks apart so we can have soil and dirt for trees to grow in. If everything stopped struggling against everything else then nothing would change and nothing would grow. Even the plant struggles against gravity and struggles against the soils intention of keeping roots from burrowing further into it. Strife and struggle is the nature of the universe.
War and conflict is natural because humans are in each others way towards progress. Man makes unrealistic demands of his fellow man. As an example…
“You must believe in my god or die.”(Christians to the Muslims during the Crusades, Fanatical Muslims today to Christians, Americans, Jews, and any other religion, Protestants and Catholics to each other in Ireland)
“You must surrender all of your food to me or die.” (I am sure this happened everywhere)
“You must die because I don’t like you.” (Serbians to ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Germans to the Jews)
“I have an idea that I want to try out in battle so we are now at war.”(World War I)
Unless man can stop being unrealistic then there will always be war but being unrealistic is all bad it is what spurs invention. A computer sitting next to Jesus at the Last Supper is unrealistic but invention and innovation due to war since then has made the computer realistic. The upside is that war is a true catalyst to innovation and invention, the struggle to have the upper-hand can win wars. Most objects that we take for granted today were the result of war. Some examples are:
Microwave ovens Radar Commercial Jets Computers Internet Telephones Cell Phones Metalworking Machinery Space travel Nuclear Power Solar Power Water Distillation
Therefore complete peace is an unrealistic goal even though it is something humanity should strive for. The almost complete emotional desire for peace by humanity is what keeps our species alive. The struggle against war is a war against war, therefore we can’t avoid fighting against it.