« Will Humans Ever Stop… | Home | Will Humans Ever Stop… »

Will Humans Ever Stop Fighting Wars? Matty P's Response

(This week, and next, On Violence and our readers will try to answer the question, “Will humans ever stop fighting wars?” Today’s entry comes from Michael C. Feel free to drop us your response in the comment section, on twitter or by email.)

When Eric C first asked me if there would ever be an end to war, my immediate gut response was, “All things are possible through the grace of God.” It’s not the most analytical response, but I hadn’t analyzed, researched, discussed and over-analyzed the question yet. My response is rooted in a faith-based idealism based on prophesy and promise.

But logic kicks in: war is entropic. Destructive and chaotic. As Eric C so eloquently put it, war is the opposite of civilization. Since the universe naturally flows toward disorder or chaotic state, it’s natural to assume wars will continue as an agent of entropy. With this in mind, it would be reasonable to assume war would likely continue to mature to a point where it enable our own entropic release in the form of utter annihilation of our species.

Further, an end to war as a practice appears counter to the nature very of competitive evolution. Conflict induces change. It’s not merely the practice of the strongest surviving, but those able to adapt. When two birds fight over the same food source, they can either war for that resource or one bird can give up and find another food supply. War is simply a form of conflict. An extreme form to be sure, but conflict nonetheless.

However, while we are drawn to conflict and competition, we are simultaneously and paradoxically called to combat chaos to create order. We build, we congregate, and we cooperate for a greater good. Cooperation, just like conflict, promotes evolution and change. It is also more beneficial to the group. Rather than competing over a single food source, we cooperate to access various sources of food. Ending war--ending conflict on such a massive scale--would be a triumph for our species; an evolutionary landmark like flight or antibiotics or splitting the atom. It would be among our greatest possible achievements.

Then I consider humanity’s nature. We are greedy, true. Selfish, sure. Fearful, absolutely. But what we are is not embodied in these traits alone. While they are part of our nature, we are more complex than a set of baser emotions. We have many forms of love. We had devised many methods of self expression. We demonstrate altruism. And we long for answers and truth, either through science or faith or both.

As I considered and researched and discussed, I could not escape my original answer. It hung there, not like a challenge, but like a promise. My faith dictates that an end to war is inevitable.

four comments

Is one’s heart not deeply intertwined with one’s mind? Very well done Matty P.

History is filled with warfare. The ‘exceptions’ like the ‘Pax Romana’ were periods of time where a big army proclaimed peace.

I like Matt’s point (we aren’t too far away, really the same thing from two different angles) but his second to last paragraph in particular. Particularly the idea that as humans we are greedy, fearful and angry.

At the same time, we are also filled with love, compassion and hope. Which is the more dominant side of humanity. Sure we have ugliness, but times of peace out number times of war. We all have enemies, but we love our children more. Could we continue to push the balance away from our more base emotions? I think we could.

Matt, in regards to your comment, “All things are possible through the grace of God,” what about Revelations Chapter 6? That doesn’t sound like an end to violence.