War and Solving the World’s Problems

“Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday Pages 1985-1995

 

I was looking back through my blog today and ran across this quote.  It stopped me in my tracks the first time and it did again today. The world is rife with War. Every day some conflict seems to break out somewhere in the world, ending with more innocent people killed or maimed, their lives and homes destroyed.

Are we thinking about War wrong? Might makes right. The winner writes the history. The strongest survives.

But, as Calvin wisely asked his Dad, how do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?

How indeed? This is one of those questions parents dread. How do you explain war to a child whose innocence you wish to protect? Should we even explain this nasty business to a child or is this one of those times for ‘you’ll understand when you get older?’

Okay, so no, we shouldn’t terrorize children with the concept and reality of war. But if we don’t start teaching them better ways to solve the world’s problems, nothing is going to change.

Man is a violent species. We’re not so different from lions or wolves or alligators. We protect our species from any perceived threat, whether real or not. Every species protests its own, even rabbits. Mice. Maybe amoebas for all I know.

The reality, however, is that we no longer consider ourselves one species. Humans have gone off the scale. Male lions fight for dominion over the pride, but they don’t go killing every other male lion on the plain just because they are male.

Why do we go that extra mile to kill everything which gets in our way, doesn’t think our way, or lives, believes or looks differently. Why have we separated our species into the right and the wrong, the weak or the strong, the human or the non-human.

We’re at war with everything. Ourselves. Our neighbors. The others just across the boundary line. Pollution. Melting Icebergs. Who controls the wealth. Who goes hungry or homeless or without medical care.

How are soldiers killing each other solving these problems?

Truth is, they’re not. We’re not. We’re not solving the problems which matter. We are just creating more division, more dividing lines, more conflict.

War never ends war. Violence only begets more  violence.

Turn that around and peace only begets peace. Living in harmony makes us one again; makes us whole.

Don’t get me wrong. I honor and respect those men and women who willing sacrifice their lives and limbs and days to protect baseball, mom and apple pie, but don’t be fooled. We are no different from the rest of the world. We’ve separated our selves into the American species and might does make right.

How are those soldiers dying and suffering for us solving the world’s problems?

We try, of course we do, but one narrow opening for peace doesn’t defeat war.

War will only be defeated when we, all of us in every town and house and country, rich or poor, homeless or living in a huge mansion, stand together and say ‘Enough.’ When collectively we say nobody should have to fight or die because of our differences.

When we declare we will no longer fight. We will honor our species – every single member of our species – with the basic needs of life. Food. Water. Shelter.

How are soldiers killing each other solving the problems of food, water and shelter?

I am an American and I love my country. I don’t know anything about being Chinese or Russian or French. But you are all my species. These difference don’t make us different. They make us human.

So, next time your neighbor pisses you off, somebody cuts you off in traffic or breaks in front of you in line, ask yourself, “How do soldiers killing each other solve the world’s problems?”

It starts here.

Let’s make history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Post One Word Prompt – Year – January 1, 2017

Year

Another year. 2016 turns into 2017. The past is gone. The future remains. We all believe that everything will be different, new, exciting. But is it really?

What is the New Year after all? Another man-made artifice to slice time into bite-size pieces we can accept and understand. Then again, what is wrong with starting again?

Nothing, so long as we don’t forget the lessons of the past. And how could we? The lessons from our pasts are ingrained in our being, set into the stone of out lives, even if they shouldn’t be. Nature doesn’t need a set day to remember that fall should turn into winter, winter to spring or any other division between then and now.

So why do we need a New Year?

We have gone so far beyond our beginnings, that we need something to slow our lives down even if it is for just one night. Some way to celebrate what we leave behind and what awaits in our future. In the past, there were ceremonies, rituals, keeping man in tune to the natural world, ways to celebrate we no longer understand.

Today, we do have rituals. Party hats and champagne and a ball dropping in New York’s Times Square. Man-made rituals. Hedonist rituals allowing us to pretend that we can start anew. We make resolutions, but how many last? We promise ourselves we will do better, be better, know better; artificial statements in an increasing artificial world.

Does this make us happier or better? Maybe, or maybe just drunk enough to pretend all is well. That we aren’t lost in the artificial world all around us; bigger houses, fancier cars, larger TVs, more money, more, more, more. Prettier clothes. More plastic surgery. All to make us feel better, newer, happier.

Ask yourself this as the new years starts: Am I happy? Are my words and actions meant to spread love and kindness, or are they meant to hurt those around me? Can I stand up, even if it is by myself, and say, “I want the world to be a better place and it starts with me.” Can I say, “I want peace.” In me, in my own world and in the extended world around me.

Hatred isn’t the opposite of love. Fear is. The fear of failure, of pain, of being less than, losing what we think we deserve. Do I deserve everything I have when there are children in my county, my city; hunger and homeless? Afraid? Can we resolve that this year, 2017, we will be kinder, gentler, nicer to those around us. That we will share not only what we have, but who we are. We will open ourselves to others, not close ourselves off.

It’s not hard and these resolutions are so much more important than losing those last five pounds or going regularity to the gym. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for ourselves, but in order to save ourselves, we need to save the world, each one of us, one word and action at a time.

So, this year, instead of only thinking of those five pounds or eating better or going to the gym, think about peace and love and holding out a hand to help those around you instead of knocking them down.

This year, let our resolutions be not only for ourselves, but for the world.