Michael Battalio

Friday, November 16, 2012

Serious conversations (part 43):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The forty-third through forty-fifth entries deal with globalization, peace, and war.

        Previously we dealt with space exploration and the need for scientific funding. We continue with a discussion on global peace.

        In the far future I believe global peace is possible if for no other reason that we will all die. All kidding aside, yes, I believe it to be possible. Here is why: a large amount of the global violence can be attributed to intolerance, whether religious, racial, social, gender, sexual, cultural etc. As humanity continues on, a greater and greater percentage of people will become “well” educated. (“Well educated” is a nebulous term that we could spend a lot of time talking about on its own.) Previous events have demonstrated that as education increases, people become more tolerant of differences. For example, consider how warlike Europe was in the middle ages. Since WWII, the more “modern” nations have very little internal fighting. (Granted Europe’s and the US’s relationship to the wars in the middle east is a completely different situation - as in mostly motivated by greed.) Even in eastern Europe where there has been atrocious ethnic cleansing in the last few decades, there is now less large-scale, overt violence. Granted that is because it is enforced from outside (a consequence of globalization actually), but there is peace nonetheless. Also, as education increases religious belief decreases; simply removing religion from the equation will rid ourselves of a lot of the progenitors/instigators of war.

        I have a second reason for believing that we will eventually see global peace (and it is related to my first sentence of this e-mail). Assuming humanity exists for long enough, we will eventually confront some sort of crisis that demands we as a species act together. This crisis could be natural or of our own making or a combination of both (global warming). Inevitably there will be some who embrace the crisis as destiny and continue as if nothing has changed, but many (most) will recognize that humanity cannot continue following its current war drum. Such a huge crisis will galvanize the disparate peoples of the world into a singular people. A crisis big enough to cause this to happen will have to be really gigantic, something like an asteroid impact or contact with extra-terrestrials or some cataclysmic natural disaster, but eventually a crisis that big will happen.

        A third possibility: a WWIII that destroys most of humanity such that the most warlike factions are extinct and those left are either non-warlike in the first place or too few or otherwise incapable to continue the war.

        So I have to say that while we will almost certainly not see peace in our time, we will see it eventually.

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