V is for Violence

Very rarely in history do we look back and say, “this is a time and place in which we weren’t trying to kill each other.” The sad reality is that humanity has always been in an arms race against itself. One could argue that this springs from a sort of base, survivalist nature in the primitive reptile portion of our brains but really, we’ve grown up as a species; we should know better by now. But A History of Weapons easily shows us that though we have grown and evolved and achieved great feats as a species, as far as solving conflicts, we’ve really only learned how to make bigger, sharper knives and things that go BOOM on a city eliminating scale. This is a bit like solving the problem of excrement in the drinking water by building elaborate, golden port-a-potties on floating barges in the reservoir. That is to say, it doesn’t, and it’s so ridiculous a notion that why would you even think it?

Humanity’s love affair with Arms & Armor seems to run counter with the basic instincts for survival. I mean, if you invent the technology for a nice boomstick that keeps your neighbor out of your garden, that thought process has to involve the assumption that your neighbor is never going to come to the same boomstick epiphany that you did, or at least, won’t collaborate with other neighbors justifiably scared of what the man with the boomstick and the crazy eyes might do next, to mount a pitchfork attack on your house. Never bring a boomstick to an angry pitchfork mobbing, is what I’m saying.

But that brings me to the subject of Castles which were invented for the sole purpose of 1) protecting your garden and boomstick interests, and 2) discouraging these sorts of armed pitchfork uprisings. The problem with castles though, is that humans have a seemingly limitless imagination for ways to kill each other. Sure the castle walls held back the pitchfork riots, but then humans invented atom bombs and napalm and, well, you don’t see too many occupied castles these days, do you?


14 thoughts on “V is for Violence

  1. I guess this must feel particularly poignant in Japan. One of the reasons I voted for independence last year is that we would have (probably) got rid of the nuclear weapons based about 30 miles from where I am sitting. An abomination.

  2. Visiting you in these closing days of the #Challenge. Always happy to find another writer. If you have time or energy at this point in April, come and see what I’ve been up to. Love finding good blogs like yours. Thanks.

    • I think it’s a bit of an awkward mix of creativity and curiosity, honestly. Kids do it all the time, push something until it completely breaks, even if it is a cherished toy. Maybe it’s something we never grow out of.

  3. My husband once found a book for me about the history of peace. I’d gotten discouraged about all the violence in the world and wondered if we’d ever had any peaceful periods in human history. It took much work to find this book, tucked away in a small university’s academic library, but I read it from beginning to end. Even so … you’re right … violence seems to be part of human nature. Today, for example, I learned that in child development, kids first learn to destruct (knock blocks down) before they learn to construct (build and stack blocks). Sigh.

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