The dinosaurs lived during a period of time where the world was a violent and tumultuous place. Mostly due in part to their violent nature and predatorial instincts, every moment of their existence was filled with the very real possibility that is could be their last. It was a “kill or be killed” scenario that they were part of. Their environment was hostile and unforgiving and their fellow creatures either were hunting to eat them or were being hunted to be eaten. And yet, even in those horrific conditions those fierce dinosaurs managed to inhabit this violent chaotic world for a couple hundred million years before they were forced from existence by a cataclysmic event; a meteor, a series of erupting volcanoes, a giant solar flare or any other external event that wiped them out. No matter what you believe happened to the dinosaurs, they were annihilated not by an event that they caused themselves, but by unforeseen, uncontrollable happening.
Humans have been inhabiting this planet for about 200,000 years, which is a fraction of the time that our less intelligent, more violent predecessors were on it. And at the rate at which we are desecrating our planet and each other we aren’t going to make it another 1,000. It won’t be aliens, meteors, or solar flares that do us in either, we are going to be the ones to cut short our reign on this planet. And it’s all in part to the fact that we can’t seem to get along with one another. Our end will not come from something that we have no control over, but from the control that we seek to put over one another.
Violence seems to be in our DNA. Ever since there has been man, there has been war. From the early stages of man living on his own and wanted to fight everything around him, to his forming clans and trying to fight other clans, man exist almost in a state of perpetual violence. The political scientist Thomas Hobbes refers to man’s state of nature as a life that is “nasty, brutish, and short.” Man cannot escape what he is, violent.
The irony in all of this is that the thing that is supposed to separate us from the other “lesser” species on this planet which is our intelligence has actually led to our more rapid demise. It seems that with this vast intelligence which could be use to harness the power of the stars, we are limited to harnessing our ability to create more and more terrifying manners of killing one another. Even as I write this, in the background I can hear the familiar sound of machine gun rapport as one of my roommates watches some show about a fictional soldier killing another fictional soldier in the name of some fictional company, I mean country.
Violence is all around us. It is who we are, we shroud ourselves in it daily, bath in it, consume it, until it becomes how we define our existence. People use it to cope, as an excuse to harm others in the name of some cause or misunderstanding. It is no wonder that we have had so many violent outburst from the general public, they are just emulating what are governments have been dong for millenniums. It isn’t until we are willing to change this philosophy, until we make an effort to change our own genetic makeup will this perpetual cycle of violent tendencies cease. We will continue to be fearful war mongering hairless apes until the day we decide to change it or until no one is left. Peace is something that comes from within. We must choose to be peaceful with one another.
Elbert Hubbard said, “Man’s greatest blunder has been in trying to make peace with the skies instead of making peace with his neighbors.” A truer sentiment can not have been uttered. We have to actively build a peaceful society, then take part in maintaining and nourishing that peace. There is no argument that the world is a dangerous, violent place. But if we accept that as the only condition for the human experience, then one is the point of continuing to experience it? We can be better than we are. We can be more peaceful than we are. We can be whoever or whatever we want to be. Let’s stop being violent.