In reality, equilibrium is only an observation over a large scale of time, but at any specific time period, things are more like a pendulum, swinging from one end of the spectrum to the next. Looking at the world today, and the violent conflicts that seem to escalate in scale, it would appear that the world has forgotten the horrors of war – the incredible devastation of the two World Wars that obliterated most of Europe – and the resulting need for international unity and harmony.
As the old Chinese saying goes “after a long time together, it ought to separate, after a long time divided, it ought to come together”. In many ways, if we look at the history of the world, that is exactly how things play out. The world gets smaller, then it divides and feels farther apart. The Macedonian Empire disintegrated into separate polities, only to reunite again under the Romans. The Mongolian tribes were brought together into the largest empire ever seen only to fall apart. In some ways, faced with globalization and the increasing recognition of a common human fate, we have come a long way in terms of joining together as one nation on Earth. Yet, on the other hand, with religious strife, ignorance or the embracing of, military and economic conflict of interests, the world appear to stand farther apart than ever.
As Cecil Lewis wrote 80 years ago in his memoir Sagittarius Rising:
We are aware, for instance, that the incredibly rapid development of communications has telescoped space and time. We know that prosperity is interdependent, that currencies are linked, that commerce is international. But only a few (mainly business men whose pockets are affected) take all this for granted. They demand, as a matter of common sense, that international relations should have international control. For the rest it is an ideal, not an urgent practical necessity. The general public remains isolationist, patriotic, aware (like Nurse Cavell) that patriotism is not enough, but aghast at the problem of coordinating and controlling the life of the planet.
So vital a division puts everything in flux. Nobody knows where to pin their faith, so they believe nothing. Moral and social standards are confused. Disillusion, introspection, defeatism are the lot of all those who can only live by the yardstick of black and white. The fear of feeling the ground slipping from under their feet drives whole nations back into the medieval despotism. They will submit to anything sooner than face this social relativity where nothing is straight, nothing constant, nothing sure. But emulating the ostrich, though it may bring relief for a space, doesn’t not solve the problem. It leads straight back to self-immolation on the altar of outworn patriotism, that is, to barbarism.
How prophetic it was, and how little things have changed in the last 80 years. How much emphasis we still place upon our differences instead of our similarities. How ignorant the majority of the world still is.
Turns out, our so-called education isn’t enlightenment at all. Rather, it is a system to subjugate their subjects to filters. This, combined with the human need to categorize, easily plays into stereotypes and causes few prominent incidents/figures to symbolize entire populations.
We all face the same issues of life. We are all seeking stability and family, a sense of direction and achievement. We are all human beings eking out our living on this planet. It is time to recognize that.
With the instability of the Middle East, headlined by ISIS and Syria, we need to recognize what is really the cause of the conflicts. Violence only begets violence. Furthermore, as I mentioned in a previous post, what did West expect to happen when they destroyed the economic, political, and social infrastructures of the region?
I stand by this belief that if we provided the economic and political stability the region needs, instead of bombing and attack the insurgents – destroying more of the already devastated environments – these conflicts will cease to exist. Destruction only plays into the terrorists’ agenda. The destruction of livelihoods only increases the draw of these organizations – what else have these people have to lose anymore?
Lastly, when a group of nations become involved in military operations, these conflicts can expand into other regions. Just look at the tensions between Turkey and Russia at the moment.
Let’s solve bigger issues affecting all of us – like climate change and energy – instead of bickering among ourselves till a bitter end.
[Image via Princeton University]