Can humans evolve beyond war?

There was a time when our ancestors roamed in hunter-gatherer bands who lived on the frayed edges of existence. Outsiders were seen as a threat, a valid one indeed. Our survival was insured by this protective, cloistered behavior. We as many other species thrive in a group, a pack or tribe.  This us vs. them is a part of us. It is inborn and innate and it starts early.

At one time this tribal mentality worked to our advantage, but as global populations swelled and competition for resources increased, our survival depended not only on the cooperation of a small group but on the greater one at large. It truly does take a a village to survive for most of us.  We are not only connected in this village but we are dependent on each other. At the very least, what I do effects my neighbor and vice versa.

 

Earth large

This is not a choice. It is a fact.

Another fact:  the earth is changing. Regardless of why, it is and we as a species must adapt. This requires cooperation and understanding.  This at least requires an honest and constructive discourse with each other and ourselves.

Circumstances and surroundings change faster than we do. It is our ability to adapt paired with luck that has gotten us this far.

There is no room for us vs them. This way of thinking leads to the inclusion of some at the exclusion of others. It is a childish attitude that must be eradicated.  We need to grow beyond all this. We all belong to each other on this beautiful planet we share.  We are beyond boundary lines and colored shapes on a map.

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We as a species have always seemed to thrive on war. Is it even possible for the human race not to have war? Will fate allow us the time it takes to evolve past this ultimately self-destructive inclination?

Is it even possible for us to evolve past this?   Is it within the capabilities of humankind to not only see humanity as a whole but as a connected and thriving whole capable of almost limitless potential?

Can we even entertain this as a realistic outcome to our present manic state?

box tax war

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.”
― Thomas A. Edison

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I am reminded of the story of the Scorpion and the frog.

The-Scorpion-and-the-Frog1

One fine spring morning a scorpion spied a frog at the edge of a stream. “Hello friend frog.” said the scorpion with a smile. “Could you please ferry me across to the other side of the stream?”  At first the frog refused; bringing up the valid point that it feared the scorpion would sting it. After much sweet talk the scorpion convinces the frog it will not. “After all…” said the scorpion to the frog: “I cannot swim therefore if I sting you we shall surely both perish.” The frog finally consents and allows the scorpion to climb on its back. It proceeds to make the swim across the stream. Suddenly the scorpions stings the frog.  “Why did you do that?!” asks the frog as they both sink below the surface. “It is my nature”.  The scorpion explains.

Isn’t it fortunate we are human beings and not scorpions or frogs? It is possible to evolve past our violent and self-destructive nature into something wondrous and incredible. We are a thinking, reasoning species and we do have the advantage over other animals because we can and do play a a major role in guiding our evolution.

We as a species are about to embark on a great challenge and opportunity.  It can be an opportunity if we see it that way.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” 
― Albert Einstein

Wishing you a fantastic and peaceful day!

Strawberryindigo.

war-is-over if you want it lennon christmas

“They’re in love.  F*** the war.”
― Thomas PynchonGravity’s Rainbow

“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo TolstoyWar and Peace

Related YouTube

Dream the impossible dream by JIM NABORS  (Gomer Pyle)

PEACE TRAIN by Cat Stevens

The Battle of Evermore by Led Zeppelin

world peace in public domain

Related Articles

    Us and Them (strawberryindigo.wordpress.com)

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Is War Inevitable?   (discovermagazine.com)

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The Evolution of Human Aggression (LiveScience.com)

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53 thoughts on “Can humans evolve beyond war?

  1. It is very true, and unfortunate that our paradigms control our reactions. If only humans learnt to think for themselves or even better taught children to think for themselves then we wouldn’t be subject to human nature as this just serves as an excuse for our reactions.

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    • Hello Steven,
      I think we are changing slowly…becoming kinder, gentler as a whole. You are so correct and it is so vital we learn to think for ourselves. We need realize the full value in independent thought. I cannot praise the act of thinking more.

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  2. I’d really like to say yes, but I don’t think that is true. However, the world will be balanced as there are those who don’t believe in war. This balance is the best we have.

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  3. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get rid of war! Wouldn’t it be great if prostitution didn’t cause many little boys and girls to have to entertain 40 men a night. There are horrible things out there. I know if we all tried to fight what we can, we can make a difference. I don’t know if we will get to no war but enough good people doing something instead of just talking about it will make a difference. Don’t get me wrong, I love that you bring this up and are talking about it. But one step further for everyone means actions :)

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  4. Great post! I love the anti-war passion in your writing and the quotes you used. BTW: Jim Nabors is THE BEST one to sing that song!!! I pinned a few images to my “thoughts” board on Pinterest.

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  5. Call me a dreamer at times, but I do believe we are ‘capable’ , well, I’d like to dream of such greatness. Imagine how incredibly wonderful a world would be where others could use all the resources and energy and emotions that go into war instead for advances and growth. I love how you opened your heart, mind and eyes to the great possibility. Kudos again!!

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  6. Positive words and thinking Nancy. I do admire your conviction that mankind is able to learn from his mistakes and can evolve towards a more peaceful existence – hope you are right! :D

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  7. Why do they have the Military Channel.. War, War and more war… They need us to be sheep and remember how wonderful war is…

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  8. I think speaking in terms of humanity is a bit misleading. As long as individuals are prone to violence, are willing to hurt others, there will be wars.

    Maybe not full scale wars, but always there will be people who will feel no recourse but to address their grievances through violence. Sorry to say, but to think otherwise is to not know humans. And to think those people can be reasoned with, can be changed, is foolish. Of course, just my opinion.

    There is an answer, of course. Actually, a number of them . . . most are worse for they rob us of who we are.

    Ultimately, the scorpions are way better than we are . . . there is no feeling behind what they do, there is no reasoned intent.

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    • Hey Disperser,
      I totally hear what you mean.
      We are born of violence, that is how we survived. It was to our advantage to be violent. Natural selection rewards those who adapt the best. Although evolution is painfully slow and we will probably never see the end to war in our own personal lifetimes, I have hope our kind will have the opportunity to be able to evolve into a species that has seen the error of its past ways and knows the advantage of cooperation and inclusion rather than domination and conquest.
      I think Emotion is a two-way street. It has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Emotions are messy but properly channeled are the stuff of brilliance. The scorpion will never be brilliant. It just is. Humans can alter their own destiny. So far it’s been touch and go….but hell, I don’t know what else to think. I must have hope and be optimistic…what follows is a new-found favorite quote.

      “With optimism, you look upon the sunny side of things. People say, ‘Studs, you’re an optimist.’ I never said I was an optimist. I have hope because what’s the alternative to hope? Despair? If you have despair, you might as well put your head in the oven.”
      Studs Terkel

      I don’t want to put my head in the oven. I have two kids that expect dinner tonight. ;)
      Thanks for your intelligent and well reasoned input my friend.

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      • Hmm . . . we did not evolve to be violent. We evolved to cooperate and work in groups, otherwise we would still be digging for roots and sleeping in caves.

        As for hope that enmass humanity will somehow evolve to transcend war, that assumes that humanity is homogeneous, and that there is environmental pressure to push evolution toward the no-war option. No such thing.

        The hope, instead, is that reason triumphs over evolution, empathy over greed, compassion over cruelty. Unfortunately, as I said, humanity is not homogeneous, and those very traits allow for those who lack in them to flourish.

        You should read a bit about how ancient societies used to deal with violent, greedy, and mean individuals . . . they sometime banished them, but often just killed them, for the good of the whole. You can see similar behaviors in animal societies. Transgressions are dealt with swiftly and often brutally.

        These days we want to be “civilized” and opt for rehabilitation. In my opinion, that is a failing strategy.

        But even aside that, my pessimism is rooted in the number of people (and growing), competition for resources, and ongoing conflicts rooted in nationalism and (even more destructive) religion.

        One can’t rise above where we are now without changing how we view others, but even less so without changing how others view us. And in that game there are a lot of players, most of them ruthless, sneaky, and geared toward keeping the status quo. There is profit in conflict, and too many want a piece of it.

        But, hey . . . we live for nothing if not hope.

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  9. Wars never create lasting solutions, but is always temporary solutions – someone always waiting for revenge – history shows it in all its clarity – the problem is that negotiated solutions do not provide the same prestige in the world as temporary military victories…

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  10. Pingback: Dungeon Prompts: Season Two Week 1-One Square Root of One Percent | My Spirit Journey

  11. It really is disturbing to read about these facts. You’d think world would be getting better, more peaceful,…
    For a while, I thought you were taking a holiday break. Happy to see you, Sb!

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  12. I wish I could say that we would evolve beyond war, but I am losing faith in that. Many people have. Many people recognize that violence and cruelty and the idea of “us and them” is a road to destruction. But those voices are not the loudest ones, or the ones who hold the power. Power lies in the hands of people who value money and goods over life. Power lies in the hands of people who value the right to own weapons of cruelty and pain over fairness and kindness. Power still lies in those who will fight tooth and nail not to let it go. Unless those who have involved are willing to come together with the power of love, I don’t see how we can evolve past the violence.

    That said, I’m not giving up hope. Just trying to find a way to manifest a better world.

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    • Hi Lisa, You are correct in all you say. The power lies with those who care only for the bottom line and not for their fellow human. This fuels the fire…but We The People can build our own fire. One that provides light for us all not just a privileged few. I think people as a whole are waking up.
      I’m glad you still have hope, sometimes that is all we have.

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful and intelligent comment.

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  13. This topic has been on my mind a lot. It seems amazing to me that the human race has apparently learned nothing from over five thousand years of written history. While we were still hunter-gathers we were unaware of things that were outside our clan or tribe. But, as civilizations evolved it seems as though humans only learned how to raise armies and wage war. If people the world over would come to realize that a global society based upon peace benefits all we could then evolve into a higher form of beings.

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    • Hi Ken, It is amazing to me too. I know we are feeling creatures and feelings don’t make sense sometimes, but war and violence is so illogical and senseless…and no we haven’t learned. I have to hold out hope because what else can I do? Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the discussion. It is always good to see you. :)

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  14. While on personal level we believe threats and violence solves all problems, while we let rape go by as a simple crime, bashing women and children is a man’s right, I am afraid war is part of our global culture.

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  15. I love this post! I have often contemplated if it is ‘our nature’. Many years ago I read an article in Mothering about how a woman was careful to keep her home free from war images (TV) and war-toys yet one morning her 3-year old son proceeded to ‘shoot her’ with a carrot stick! It just might be a part of our hard-wiring, but as one of many ‘dreamers’ I can look at these facts and choose to believe that we as a species can rise beyond it. We can bring love and light to the darkness. I recently heard Jean Houston say in an interview that the earth has less conflict now than ever, if we look at the entire globe. It’s a hopeful statistic that we ARE getting better and there IS hope. Whew! Here’s my big comment to cheer on your big post about a big subject. Love it! xo Cheers, Gina

    Like

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