Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Can the Human Race Outgrow War?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
 
marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 12:56 PM
Original message
Can the Human Race Outgrow War?
via CommonDreams:



Published on Monday, January 25, 2010 by The Boston Globe
Can the Human Race Outgrow War?

by James Carroll


We scoured the woods for the perfect Y-shaped stick - each of its finger-branches similarly stout, the main shaft able to fit snuggly into a closed fist. Attach to the Y-ends a set of rubber bands braided around a leather patch and you had a sling shot.

Then we discovered the lethal virtue of black rubber strips cut from discarded inner tubes. Our projectile supply escalated from pebbles to marbles to ball bearings. A squad of three or four, we were best friends, roaming the woods for rabbits - and, in our minds, for Chi-com soldiers our uncles were fighting in Korea.

How naturally such play came to us. As boys, we seemed born to look for weapons, and to make them ever more lethal. From swamp reeds we fashioned foot-long pea-shooters, perfectly shaped for paper spit-balls, which, unlike ball bearings, we aimed at each other. Spit balls could surprisingly sting, but otherwise were harmless, which soon enough seemed a disadvantage. We figured out how to mold moistened paper around a cotter pin, transforming our pea-shooters into dart blowers. One day, I was walking to the blackboard. Before I took up the piece of chalk I heard the faint thupp of someone firing, felt the mildest of pinches on my right temple, ignored it, and proceeded to my blackboard task. Only the stunned expressions of my classmates told me something was wrong: the spit-ball dart was wedged in my head, sticking there. As I recall it, that was the end of pea shooters in our circle. I know I never blew through one again.

But the conviction that the impulse to weaponize is inbred, among males at least, survived. Childs play had its equivalent in the work of statecraft. We knew our country was great because of its wars and weapons. Our Korean War hero was General Douglas MacArthur, whose entire life embodied the hard human necessity of outgunning enemies - matching their pebbles, in effect, with ball bearings. Although the abolition of war has been the dream of man for centuries, he said once, every proposition to that end has been promptly discarded as impossible and fantastic. ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/01/25-8




Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
1. As long as people have the instinct to survive and resources are limited...
The Human race will never be free from wars.

For those that technology can triumph over nature...
It doesn't help when Religion and Political Theory are accepted causes "to die for" as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
sarge43 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I'd only add: As long as resources are unequally distributed. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
OneTenthofOnePercent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. The problem is resource supply, not necessarily resource distribution.
As with anything in nature and ecology, the environment can only tolerate a certain threshold of population density indefinitely. Overpopulation is really going to be at the center of most economic and environmental problems in the coming decades.

Although you are also correct - In a system with adequate resources, greed is definitely a cause of war.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. Nah, not the main problem.
The main problem is people, not stuff.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12... points towards the problem. It's not "racism," racism is just a particular kind of tribalism.

The problem is complexity. Another thread asks why, when there's so much information available people are so stupid. After all, anybody could research the HCR and come to the same conclusion as that poster. Perhaps, but to really look at all the info would require reading the Senate's and House's HCR bill, Obama's pronouncements, and then punditry, relative statutes, regulations, and case law to figure exactly what the law means, and then a fair amount of economic and social theory to figure out whether the prediction are reasonable and come up with one's own predictions. Stupid is easy. Having something akin to an opinion is easy. Being well informed? Not so easy.

It's the same with experts, with critical thinking, with US politics. It's too complex to get your mind around. You can't think critically without facts, you can't trust experts unless you evaluate their claims and for that you need facts and critical thinking, plus more information than you can process in a given week.

Same for social groups. We can handle groups up to a certain size, depending on how cohesive they are. The less cohesive, the small they have to be. Having outside threats helps instill cohesion, real or imagined. Kids (per NPR per the book cited) have to categorize. The world is too complex without it. That person next door: I have to decide how much to trust him. And the one beside him, across the street, around the block; the kids on my kid's schoolbus; the teachers and administrators, and people in restaurants, on the street, and on those rare occasions I'm in a mall. So I have a certain level of trust and good will, and how do I parcel it out? I can use race, I can use class, I can use accent, I can use ideology, I can use citizenship, I can use language or accent, or dress or some other proxy. But I will use something. Then I'm in a group, and as a primate will seek to help my group, those I empathize with and find support from. That means I'll sacrifice perks for other groups. I'll complain bitterly when others sacrifice my perks for their own good, or when they sacrifice perks for groups I'm sort of in for groups I'm not in and don't expect or want to be in.

From that, violence of one kind or another. Remove that, all wars are accidents--but then only possible if there's no enough good will.

There are kludges. Find a more inclusive proxy, like the US and nation-states did. Islam's serving as a proxy for many. Remake human nature so we stop striving for more, so we honestly don't care about the perquisites of group membership.

As for whether that'll help the species survive in the long run or not, can't know. So that may be an evolutionary mis-step. Or not.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
zipplewrath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. In one sense yes
I've actually studied this a bit over the decades. Man is clearly "out growing" war. However, that's not exactly the pacifist dream that one might imagine. We are learning to exert pressure on each other, quite violently, without whole nation states having to formally go to war.

We are probably a good 200, maybe 300 years away from anything approaching a "war free" world. But even then, there will be much violence and much of it may be, as we are seeing now, conducted predominately by "nonstate actors". However, as it is now, states will have something to do with it, even as indirectly as it may be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
5. Not unless some terrible plague wipes out all of the Americans.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Dumbest post ever...
Do you think that no wars occur without the advent of America?

Did the world exist in peace and harmony until 1776?

Seriously....do you even listen to yourself?

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
proteus_lives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 01:35 AM
Response to Reply #5
16. Wow, what a stupid post.
Ever even been in the same room as a history book?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
endless october Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. i hope so. nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:11 PM
Response to Original message
7. Compared to a Century or Two Ago,
look how far we've already come. Despite numerous regional conflicts since WWII, war is not a fact of life or a daily threat for the overwhelming majority of people today.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tsstranger Donating Member (582 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 03:00 PM
Response to Original message
8. Can the Human Race Outgrow War?
Not until Man outgrows his infantile need for a god and religion.

Religion is, by far, the greatest cause of suffering, death and destruction in the history of Humanity.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ccinamon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 03:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. Never - greed will always be around
and that is the basis for owning/controlling food, water, and land.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
certainot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:07 PM
Response to Original message
11. it's not human nature but a simple choice, according to this alien
who reports here the results of thousands of years of alien research on earth-

my favorite youtube vid (2min)-- hello earth, this is ron...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85ILt3c3S8A
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Butch350 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
12. Sure! Yes!

...just as soon as 1 of the last 2 people on earth die.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NorthCarolina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
14. Not as long as war = $$$. eom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
MisterP Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 11:41 PM
Response to Original message
15. Goodall's primatology and anthropology have done much to undo the ideas of both
a society "outgrowing" something--a 18th-century and Victorian notion of perpetual ascent and forward movement that's quaint at best and poisonous at worst--and the idea of "Man's warlike nature"

Douglas P. Fry's "The Human Potential for Peace" is the strongest antidote to "Progress," Hobbes, the "manful striving" of Teddy Roosevelt, the Social Darwinists, and pre-WWI militarists and jingoists, Konrad Lorentz's perpetual warfare producing the Ten Commandments as an evolutionary adaptation, Robert Ardrey's "biological" call for preparedness against inevitable aggression, or the sociobiologists' glib and unfounded assumptions

the idea of an activity being "outdated" is itself outdated: time doesn't automatically bring a series of data that inexorably debunks Bad Views. Wars have targeted and butchered civilians in astonishing numbers since the Thirty Years' War
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-26-10 03:55 AM
Response to Original message
17. Right After It Outgrows Stupid
or, when science perfects parthenogenisis for humans and men are eliminated...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Mon Dec 22nd 2014, 01:52 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC