For most of my life, the U.S. has been involved with one war or another. My young life was very much affected by the Vietnam war. I remember when it was over. I thought maybe sanity would have a chance to take hold of the world. It looked like it might, for a while. But that was only an illusion afforded me because I had no idea about what was taking place in the private rooms of the power-brokers of the world. Other plans were being laid.
There were a few involvements here and there, Granada, Lebanon, and others. However it still looked to me like maybe we (the people of the world) were on our way toward a more harmonious existence. I do believe that is what the majority of the people in the world, the common people, want. When the Iron Curtain fell in 1989, that seemed confirmation that a positive trend was indeed happening. But again, that illusion was only afforded me, and in retrospect a lot of other people, due to ignorance of the plans the rich and powerful had in mind.
As time has gone on and I have learned more about what has precipitated the wars of my lifetime, I have learned the leading cause can be summed up in one word: greed. Of course if any country tries to fly the banner of “greed” to enlist the support of the common citizenry, it probably won’t go very far. Nope. So other banners have to be flown. The favorite ones seem to be “freedom”, “ending terrorism”, “human rights”, “democracy”. Stopping communism from spreading was the rallying cry during the Cold War, but we don’t hear too much about that anymore. Except connected with the Presidential election cycles. I think a while back those who have been able to construct an economic matrix which funnels the vast majority of the world’s wealth into their hands, realized two things:
1. It was/is important to not let the manipulations and inequities of the system being developed to become a mainstream issue. This means finding/inventing reasons which direct the public’s attention in other directions. One of the ploys has been to create a faceless entity “the economy” as a peg on which, with little or no grounding in the day to day world of the general population, explanations for financial conditions can be hung.
2. It is important to keep the attention, the dissatisfaction, of the general public directed toward issues which drive a wedge between different factions. (And away from the reality of what is happening with the wealth that is being produced.) Racial, religious, ethnic, gender, along with a few other issues of the moment, have lent themselves well to keeping the public’s eye off of the wholesale looting of entire countries that is going on. By widely and repeatedly publicizing aspects of these issues on which there is disagreement within factions of the general public, and framing the news coverage in as inflammatory a manner as possible, a great distraction can be achieved.
So here we are, facing a world which is on the brink of a war chasm as deep and dark as any humankind has faced in recorded history. With the possible exception of the Cuban missile crisis and one or two other events of the Cold War, we have never been this precipitously close to a potentially nuclear war. However, there is one important difference in place this time that wasn’t in place earlier. One of the national leaders is unpredictable and apparently actually in favor of starting war. Kennedy didn’t want war, Khrushchev didn’t want war. Nor has any leader of a major world power since that time exhibited such a fascination, (suicidal fascination?) with war and a unilateral use of power as is exhibited by Donald Trump.
In his defense, it’s not just Donald Trump. In some ways he is a product of his environment the same as all of us. The past few decades there has been an underlying, insidious, movement within the worldly “powers-that-be”. A movement away from organizing principles such as unity, equity, fairness, compassion, kinship, and toward more divisive ones: individual identity, competitive acquisition; a winner-take-all ruthlessness that regards others as little more than abstract entities to be used, and/or discarded depending upon the agenda of the moment.
The cultures of the “developed” Western world have had a lot to do with this unfortunate evolution. One major contributor has been the emphasis on individual wealth, fame, power that has been increasingly pervasive since the post WWII period. It is interesting that such a development would take place on the heels of a period in which unity, combined effort, and a worldwide recognition of mutual interests, had played such a critical role in preventing the conquest of the world by ruthless, authoritarian powers.
Considering the current world situation, the current values being exercised, it is enough to cause one to wonder who did win WWII?
Right now we, the people of the world, have been lied to about a lot of things for a long time. We have been lied to by governments, industries, religious leaders, even those from medical science and other sciences. We have been so programmed with lies and half-truths, that for any of us to think we actually know all the details about what’s going among the powers-that-be in the world, well, that is an absurdity. A whole lot of them probably don’t know. Yet we get caught up in the storm and fury. Usually coming from a place of caring about something in the world which we see threatened, we throw our perspectives back and forth at each other. And our perspectives on world events, even national events, are often based upon the half-truths and lies the “authorities” have shared with us.
What do we want to be the defining value of our world? Individual aggrandizement or collective well-being? That seems to be a dichotomy today’s conflicts all revolve around. It’s not a matter of whether or not to have a one-world-government, a one-world-bank, an economy based in free enterprise, capitalism, or managed as democratic socialism. It’s not even whether or not to have a democracy or a monarchy. The question on which everything going on in the world hinges upon is none of these things.
The question, the question which determines how viable any system is or isn’t is, how viable any culture is or isn’t, whether there will or won’t be wars, is this: how do we regard one another?
What do we think about one another? How do we feel toward one another? How do we treat one another?
You know what we are aren’t hearing from our leaders in governments, industry and even too rarely from the leaders of the world’s religions? That we are all brothers and sisters and we should be loving one another and treating each other right. If all of us would do that, if we will turn our backs on all the urgings from all the different sources that we should fear, hate and attack one another, we will be fine. All of us.
We have the resources and the knowledge, as never before in recorded history, to do what is beneficial for humankind and this beautiful planet we call home. All we need is the will to make it so.
It is probably unrealistic to think that everyone, all around the world, can forget about, let go of, all the hateful, fear-mongering propaganda we’ve been being fed for decades. But unless some of us do, unless enough of us do, the future does not look bright for humankind.
A beautiful aspect of this reality is that it doesn’t take a college degree, it doesn’t even take a high school diploma, for us to know how to treat each other right. All it takes is for us to first be honest with ourselves about how we would truly want to be treated in any given situation, and then working to treat others in that manner. To have empathy.
One key, which is absolutely essential to this effort, is for us to know the answers we accept, for how we want to be treated and then how we intend to treat others, are based in love. If they aren’t based in love, they’re based in a falsehood.