Historically speaking, is peace an illusion or an interlude?
Is war a natural continuum?
We are at the crossroads of destruction that we hoped to circumvent through mutual assurance.
Over millennia, humans have been enslaved by the vicious and few. A systematic subjugation of proletariat thrived as a feature and not a bug. Monarchy and feudalism were never an aberration. Fear is the strongest emotion. Fear has been a failsafe tool to subdue the human spirit by the oppressors. Greater oppression versus spineless surrender was the buffet of choices on the dinner table for much of the human history. Most capitulated in the face of tyrannical forces that astronomically outweighed in power and ferocity. Human spirit was made to bend.
The defeated sometimes chose to be complicit. And the complicit displayed newfound loyalty with the zeal of convert. Violence was amplified and extortion enforced.
Glory and grace found rare and sporadic space.
Violence, intimidation, plunder, thievery, rape and murder have been the gory tools of the celebrated and victorious. Names changed, methods thrived.
Courage is a virtue we all strive for. Some excel at it, many come short. Predators know it. Enslavement can be multifaceted — physical, spiritual, material, financial and potentially transcendental.
Transcendence perpetuating through evanescence. Generations of peasants toiling namelessly, coerced to extol the virtues of the emperor of the time. The impoverished proletariat existence reduced to fertilize corrupt egos of vein and decadent rulers who often doubled as divinity.
The world has struggled to change. But the wheel was stuck in circular motions.
Stuck in moral, intellectual and physical mud, the human engine sputtered and submitted to unenviable existence. The few, the evil, the ones in cahoots with the devil ruled the helpless.
In our unencumbered weakness, in our myopic vision, in our benevolent neglect, in our intellectual lethargy and in our prostrate submission we strengthened the empowered. Unenlightened, we put to hazard, again and again, our exposed underbelly.
The kicks came in on schedule and never ceased.
The helpless fell to ruthless, living burdened with the chore of living, smothered by unbearable anguish of the prematurely dead.
The human history changed for the better with formation of the USA. Enlightenment, democracy and human empowerment replaced oppression and lawlessness. We all know that the stated virtues enshrined in the Constitution have taken centuries to reconcile with practiced reality. Still, the progress has been stunning. If there is an exodus of disappointed citizens against structural bias in this country, it has escaped my notice. We are flawed, but still the best.
The current events demand reinforcement of the founding principles of the USA. The democratic government relies on a temporary lease of power, contingent upon performance. Concentration of powers in a few autocratic tends to have the blood of many on its hands. Promotion of democracy across the world is a perilous and expensive task. But when measured against the price of indifference, it becomes prohibitively expensive and unaffordable.
The checks and balances in the power structure need to be reinforced starting at home.
If the government is not of the people, it won’t be for the people. From the engulfing fires in Europe, the vows to democracy seek renewal. It is an existential necessity to save humanity from the worst impulses of the worst among us.
Nationalism is a potent force. The virtue of patriotism is at its core but a plethora of ingredients complete this mosaic. The mosaic is always changing.
Our convictions in the inevitability of our current identity are only a part of the continuum. The farther we move the historical line, the more alike the humanity gets. Entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, is at play in human affairs, too. Do we have intellectual gravitas to defeat this law of nature and find ways to bury our hatred? Or hatred is entropy’s tool to lay waste the humanity.
Words crowd the mind and emotions erupt in the heart, as humanity is threatened by the maniac ambitions of an insatiable.
Ukraine is being bloodied and martyred as the world stands in fearful solidarity. We have to successfully navigate this mortal provocation.
Then we have to double down on democracy. Flawed as it is.
“Democracy is the worst from of government except all other forms of government that have been tried from time to time.”
Let Churchill smile in his grave.