Anthology – Peoples’ Plan for Life, Now and Forever …
Not quoted in Anthology is the Bible. Every justification for human behavior is found there. In it, we find certitude. We discover people who are persuaded to behave with absolute resolve in the belief that life is common to all, no matter who or what stands in the way, as long as “God’s will” is being acknowledged, a condition that fails to recognize the inherent problem in arriving at such a conclusion: Whoever’s belief is unyielding will have to be able to overpower others, equally unyielding. “Overpowering,” if not possible by persuasion, spirituality, or logic, will necessarily result in the use of force. Belief after all, is absolute. Life, however, is not. Indeed, again as described by Primo Levi: “…every living structure harbors a savage distrust toward every contribution of any material of living origin….” That could also be said to be “God’s will.”
Let’s consider the writing by historians who want the best for us all, say Edward Gibbon and Thomas Babington Macaulay. They are the writers whose zeal to document history resulted in reference works –The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (written 1776 – 1788 by Gibbon), The History of England (written 1849-61 by Macaulay). No need here to pause beyond noting that science has taken a forceful role in how people are influenced, including an ever-increasing understanding of how unknowable are the mysteries of the universe. Add Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species (1859) to this list. Subsequent to the publishing of their insights there were wars ending many millions of lives under horrific conditions. Science progressed, but not reverence for life.
That reality would not shake our confidence in the future but for one thing: people fear others will use a superior force against them because they have seen this happen over and over. The perceived need, therefore, is to be “the firstest with the mostest.” The perceived threat will be countered by destroying such a capacity.
Sentinels are posted, increasingly in electronic form. Against whom are these guardians on alert? Themselves. People know not to trust anyone when looking to the future. Therefore it is considered prudent to remove any and all threat, even if the result is suicide. When the United States dropped nuclear weapons on Japan in August 1945 it ushered in the era that assumes mastery of technology by those who use it against those posing threats. Unfortunately it is quite clear, and should have been all along, that everyone is threatened, even those (especially those?) who feel they are the masters. Had Great Britain, the United States and the European powers acknowledged Japan’s legitimate ascension to global standing when it defeated the Russian fleet in 1904, and as well, their desire for access to raw materials, instead of dismissing them with racist-driven derision, the conflicts in Asia of the 20th Century might have been avoided. The development of bombs employing nuclear energy would perhaps not have been pursued.
Consider the success of the Japanese in the latter half of the 20th Century. They achieved the status of the world’s second largest economy from their islands in the Pacific after their defeat. Their enterprise and tenacity has become a model for all developing nations. Asserting themselves militarily brought out their worst traits. Their aggression in Manchuria in the 1930’s is well known and well documented. Would that trait have remained quiescent had they been given equal standing at Versailles in 1919? We’ll never know.