Human beings are in a perpetual state of war. Even if every person were able to get along, we would still be at war.
Perhaps it isn’t very “liberal” of me, but I perceive nature as the enemy. I don’t like trees. I think Arbor Day and Earth Day are the worst holidays ever (they don’t even have sales). I think camping is just white people pretending to “rough it” by wasting hundreds of dollars on equipment they use once or twice a year.
I also don’t find wildlife to be fascinating enough to risk being attacked. Isn’t that why I have Animal Planet? Quite frankly, I wouldn’t be upset if every living thing were in a zoo or on the menu (though I think the Earth would technically become unlivable if this were to literally happen).
In short, I think the human race is at war with nature. On the whole, we’ve subdued it, and in many respects enslaved it to do our bidding. The occasional earthquake, hurricane, tornado, hail storm, lightning bolt, or even killer whale attack are nature’s obligatory swipes in the ongoing battle, but for the most part we live in complete contempt of the most basic aspects of nature… or do we?
There are still basic natural limitations with which humanity must wrestle. Aging comes to mind; disease is another. In fact, the human body is itself a natural limitation. Then there’s the fact that we live on a doomed planet. Either you believe our own opulence will wipe us off the face of the earth, or some other calamity such as interstellar collision, volcanic eruption, or even the inevitable solar life cycle which will result in the Earth being engulfed by the sun billions of years from now. We are at war with time (but it sometimes seems to take a while to strike…).
Despite all these common enemies, we still manage to fight amongst ourselves. Even with the enemy beating at the gate, we engage ourselves in civil disputes over meaningless drivel. We economically exploit each other; we violently abuse each other; we spread lies about each other so it is easier to send our young ones off to fight each other in far-flung regions of the globe.
Why do we bicker over resources which are limited when we live in a vast universe appears devoid of living competition, yet full of the very chemicals over which we kill and maim? Moreover, we are not even using the resources we have to their highest potential. Harnessing the power of the sun, wind, ocean currents, and even nuclear fission can all be implemented, and yet we dally about while happily shelling out billions to finite energy sources. We might as well plan for the day we run out of oil, gas and coal, be that decades, centuries, or even millennia from now.
We’re at war with inevitability, and it’s not a question of which side you’re on. All of humanity is stuck fighting against nature, so allegiance is unquestionable. We must see ourselves as what we are, creatures of a day working towards the lifetime of our species. Our success – and failure – may come down to a decision of whether we choose to compete or cooperate. Are we better off wasting energy sabotaging our own side in our attempt to be team captain?
In war, the side divided against itself is always doomed to defeat.