Wednesday, July 1, 2009

War, Survival, and Increasing Consciousness

I want to continue to explore the question that I raised in my last blog regarding the causes of the struggles that exist in the world today. I mentioned that our major battle was not between religions, or countries, or ideologies, but was a race between the forces of higher consciousness and the forces that control the thinking and actions of ordinary man. The main issue concerning the world today is whether or not we will kill ourselves, either through an unspeakably horrible war, or through the destruction of our environment, or will we learn to live in a more peaceful and balanced way.

First of all we must understand that war has been an integral part of the history of mankind. There has never been an extended period of peace since the beginning of recorded history. In a Nubian cemetery dating back 12,000 years 50% of the bodies showed evidence of violence. It has been estimated that 90-95% of all civilizations have engaged in some form of warfare. There have been over 150 conflicts and 600 battles in Western Europe in the last 150 years. What is different today is that, for the first time in the history of mankind, we have the potential to destroy our planet through the use of nuclear and/or biological weapons. Very simply the risk of war is no longer acceptable.

There are a number of theories about the causes of war. There are psychological theories that believe that man is basically aggressive and inherently violent. He cannot control himself and war is inevitable. There are theories that believe that war is not a result of the nature of the average man but is primarily caused by power hungry leaders who have no regard for human life. When a society is struggling these leaders use their superior motivational skills to rally the masses behind some dream or belief system that offers hope of a better life in this world or the next.

There are economic theories which see war as a constant struggle for resources and riches
especially when there is scarcity or inequality in the distribution of material wealth. Marx believed that war was a result of competition for resources between imperialist countries and would not end until there was a world government. Thomas Malthus believed that war was a result of expanding populations and limited resources. When the population increased to a certain point it had to be whittled down by war or famine or some other major catastrophe.

A recent theory has been named the "youth bulge theory. This viewpoint attributes war to the existence within a society of too many men ages 16-30 and not enough jobs or productive outlets for their energies. These men need a way to spend their time and channel their testosterone. War is one of the possible ways that can satisfy their needs for action, adventure, and sense of accomplishment.

All these theories have one element in common. They are the result of a level of consciousness whose primary motivation is self-gratification. They are the result of a desire to get more for oneself or one's family or one's country. You might say this is the way man is and their is nothing we can do about it. I agree that this is the way man has been in the past and the way most man are today. However, this way of being is no longer what is required for survival. This is the big difference in the world today.

If we accept the idea that the primary instinct of man is for survival and that evolution has been a result of perfecting man's ability to survive, then we must also accept that for man to continue to survive he is going to have to evolve to the level where he will not engage in activities that are self-destructive. In other words we will learn to get along and recognize that our planet's survival is mutually beneficial or we will go the way of most of the other species that have existed on the earth. It doesn't make sense to bet against us.

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