Around this time of year, one of the common things we think and talk about is world peace. How ironic is it that we are also reunited with friends and family, and all of the resentment built up over a lifetime is often released during these times.
I don’t have any solutions on how to move towards peace, but I have some observations.
1) Even siblings fight one another over resources and turf. So, in that sense, even if the world were one homogenized community sharing the same beliefs, we still would fight.
2) Humanity is where it is today through two competing forces: competition and cooperation. Competition: the strongest tribes survives, the vanquished tribes disappeared or were assimilates. Cooperation: the tribes where people worked together for survival (and defeating enemies) survived over the groups of people where every man was an island.
3) Even if we could achieve some amount of parity in resource allocation amongst peoples, our instincts for competition will always be encoded in our genetics. Perhaps, outlets like sports provide safe release valve of the urges.
4) Most of us want to “just get along.” But, there are rabble-rousers in our midst. I call them “empire builders.” These are people within our population that have long served a critical purpose towards the survival of tribes. Empire builders often start from humble beginnings and climb the ranks building their “armies” and defeating their detractors. They are natural leaders. Sometimes they remain humble and work towards the bigger picture. Sometimes they are motivated by their own insecurities and desire for attention and power. In either case, as they build their armies, they polarize people, and unite them under one flag. Ultimately, to gain power, they fight – cause wars. They turn ordinary people like us – who normally want to just get along – into warriors or advocates of their conquering efforts.
As I said from the outset, I don’t have any solutions. What I wanted to do though was try to offer some opinions as to why we don’t have world peace today. Here’s some questions we can ask ourselves:
– How do we keep the empire builders at bay before they lead their march of destruction?
– How do we avoid the allure of these people without putting our own lives/livelihoods at risk?
– How do we create an education/environment, where people no longer are convinced by the devious arguments of the builders?
– How do we keep our competitive nature at bay – or at least in a safe space?
– What can we do as individuals to heal the fissures of past battles/wars so as not to breed new ones?
Best of luck in your endeavors, as I always like to tell people.