"Faith is not a good reason to believe in any one thing. It's a bad reason to believe in everything. Faith is not synonymous with any one idea; it is synonymous with any strongly held idea, true or not. But one thing faith is not synonymous with is a logically justified idea."
October 17, 2010
Despite the popular opinion to the contrary, war has social benefits. That is, if the goal of society is to advance. By "advance" I mean to discover new truths about reality, to expand our understanding of the universe through science, and to one day colonize the galaxy to the best of our ability. Social advancement through science, the one thing the human race has been exceedingly good at. If we assume this is the goal of society, then we're on the right track not despite our wars but often because of them.
What causes war? I postulate that there are only three basic causes of human conflict... Resources, Pride and Ideology. The most common conflict catalyst is resources. Often it's disguised as another catalyst, but only because leaders use the second two (pride and ideology) to rally their troops. So when you look at the 9 o'clock news you see wars being fought over pride and religion, but you don't notice the battle for resources waging behind the scenes. If we did away with ignorant human delusions, such as religion and nationalism, we would still have resources to worry about. Sure, getting rid of nationalism and religion would solve two of our biggest problems, but resource fighting is a big issue. We could push science to the limit to produce better more efficient fuels, plant more efficient and productive genetically altered crops, and even clean our air and water. But what would this mean? Would the human race finally find a balance between its population growth and its resource consumption? Not at all. It would help, but the human race expands at a rate relative to it's available resources, and then some. We're always making babies one step faster than we can make the food to feed the babies. It's unfortunate, but true.
If you increase the amount of cabbage growth in a rabbit preserve, you should expect to see well fed rabbits... for a while. Then you should expect to see more rabbits, and more and more... Soon you have too many rabbits and none of them are well fed. Species population growth always attempts to exceed resource limitations. There's a reason for this.
Without population growth, eventually a species is engulfed by another species. Grow or die. Every species will always over exceed its resource limitations in an attempt to push it's productivity to the max. Evolution and nature has no compassion for the starving, sick and dying. They will push a species to the breaking point each time. If a small portion of the excess population of a species starves due to a lack of food, then so be it. But at least those who survive are stronger because they're proven themselves by fighting for the food that does exist, and the species as a whole is at its highest possible population.
Many people think we can control our growth. That we can reason our way around this and become harmonious with our resource limitations. First of all, this concept assumes we can get everyone on the same page. Even without religion and nationalism, I'm sure everyone would act separate from what is in the group's best interest as a whole. Second, to force people to get in rhythm with their resource consumption we would need to enforce government regulations on pregnancy and parenthood. This is a touchy area for many people who propose the "No War" concept. But these two concepts seem to come hand and hand eventually. No matter how much the anti-war hippies would disagree.
Is it possible to end human war by relieving population pressure through resource consumption, and in doing so, do away with the evils of war? In this case, through constructing a legal code under which population is limited to resources? No, any breed which stops its own reproduction gets crowded out by breeds which expand.
Let's assume that the human race manages to balance birth and death, resources and consumption, and as a result becomes peaceful. What happens next? Soon (in the not so distant future) a new lifeform appears and kills off this breed which doesn't want to war anymore, and the universe forgets us without compassion. Either we fight, compete and spread, or "they" spread and eventually wipe us out.
Civilizations, human or otherwise, do not become advanced through peace and balancing resources. When they balance appropriately they simply find their niche and stick to it. To evolve to fit your ecosystem and survive, you compete with other species within that ecosystem. To evolve to advance and thrive, you compete within your own species. Constant evolutionary competition, promoting the smarter genes, not the stronger ones.
If we never fought a war, we would have never gotten beyond a tepee and rock tools, if that. We never would have devised of logic, never came up with the scientific method, never landed on the moon, never harnessed the atom, and never ever colonize the galaxy. Perhaps, to some of you, that is okay so long as we don't kill each other. To me, it's unacceptable. The goal of human civilization, or any intelligent civilization, is to advance. We're all animals in the literal sense, but in the figurative sense animals fight to survive while humans fight to thrive.
"But does Man have any right to spread through the universe? Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics - you name it - is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what Man is - not what do gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The universe will let us know - later - whether or not Man has any right to expand through it." -Robert Heinlein
Let us not forget what war does for us. It supports many of the personal traits we respect most in our society... Bravery, courage, personal strength, etc... The things that we value most in society, the psychological traits that push us and motivate us to greater things.
Author: SgtHaile at 6:58 AM