Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Another Slow Day at Work

I should have brought something more fun to read than The Iraq Study Group Report. I was opposed to the war from the beginning, for all the reasons that have become painfully apparent to almost everyone. Reading that it has turned out the way any rational observer could have predicted it would is just depressing.

Who the hell thought we would be able to establish a melting-pot democracy in a cobbled-together country of tribal regions where people would rather kill each other than accommodate each other's philosophical differences? This isn't just a stereotyping slur. It's a coldly clinical observation of the behavior reported daily from over there. It's perilously close to happening over here, as people in this country become more and more rigid in their own beliefs. I guarantee there are a number of Americans who would rather shoot first and negotiate later. Sometimes, briefly, I am one of them. So imagine how it must be in a place where that attitude is not only dominant but celebrated.

No one would listen to what I think, in the run-up to war. Anyone opposed to war in general is a pussy coward, right?

War is the ultimate expression of despair. It is the ultimate acknowledgment that life is hopeless, that a violent death in the prime of life is a good deal.

Who is more delusional, the person who goes into war confident they won't be one of the ones to die, or the person who welcomes the death? Someone will die. Perhaps many will die. They will die because human beings have designed machines with which to kill each other, and enjoy using them. All they need is an excuse.

People who die in one of our mass delusions are human sacrifices on the altar of irrationality. If we are really so tragically addicted to inflicting violence on each other I am gladder than ever to have brought no children into this mess.

Is enlightenment a matter of physical evolution? Do we need to produce more offspring to create an enlightened majority that can end the crazy carnage? Or are existing people capable of learning better ways to live? If you look at the history of our systems of government, evolution of thought is evident. Is it a mirror of physical development in the brain, or simply the drawn-out process of thought pursued by our species at different rates in different regions for divergent external reasons? Either way, if it doesn't take a solid leap forward pretty quickly the answer will not only be irrelevant, it will be lost in the tide of blood and pestilence that our learning disability will unleash upon us.

It's tempting to imagine annihilating someone who annoys you. As I said, I have considered it in passing many times. But fair is fair. I would not want to be subject to annihilation by the many people I have annoyed. I've learned to walk away, sometimes far away, to get away from people I would be inclined to hurt. Maybe I would give way to the violence if I lived in a place where I could not escape those others. But war is not a practical solution, unless we're going to have a really big one to thin us out in a hurry and let the survivors learn to leave each other that elbow room.

I really hoped we could just let the whole population thing simmer down gradually. But I'll have to go along with whatever the most violently inclined decide to do to us all. You can't stop an explosion once it has started. You can only try to talk the person holding the detonator into putting it down without setting it off. Duck and cover is a distant second choice.

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