Thursday, December 18, 2014
I have been incredibly naive. All of my life, I have thought of war as a kind of perversion of the human spirit, a sort of aberration which prevents human beings from being fully human, from realizing their potentials in peace and happiness. I now see that this notion is utter foolishness: war, not peace, is humanity's default setting. WAR is normal. Peace is an aberration, a peculiarly "inhuman" state which quickly makes people uncomfortable and, yes, unhappy. We need war/struggle/conflict/danger in order to feel alive and purposeful. Sitting around under our fig tree sipping lemonade and dandling children on our knees cannot satisfy us for long.
Such peaceful relaxation of tension inevitably leads us to contemplation, and contemplation distresses us painfully: we reflect upon all that is lacking in our lives and we compare ourselves with others who are apparently living "better." We grow agitated, envious, bitter, angry. We complain, we fall into depression, we drink too much, eat too much, take refuge in drugs or cults. And then, when we can no longer endure this oppressive peace, we seize upon an excuse--almost any excuse will do--to take up arms against a neighbor or a neighboring people, blaming him/them for our misery and marching feverishly, ecstatically, toward the ultimate realization of what it means to be human: the taking or losing of human life in the bloody, consciousness-altering orgasm of WAR.