Ruminating on the state of the world

Time for a double-post! Although I did that a few days ago, when I wrote a super-depressing thing and followed it by a more cheerful one . . .

Still, my goal has been to write a blog post every day for a year, and I skipped last night. Just went to bed early and that was that.

Third evening in a row without my hubby and kiddies, and to be perfectly honest, I started missing them last night. But I’m grateful to have had the rest. I wasn’t productive today at all, and I’ve successfully pushed the guilty feelings away because I’ve been so wiped out since mid-September, it’s nice to have the space to rest without wondering who’s going to wake me up next, and for what emergency.

Meanwhile, the world is reeling from more acts by individuals with access to weapons who think that violence is the answer to their troubles. Sometimes the question I’ve asked my students in History classes is this: have human beings really, fundamentally, changed in the last hundred years? Thousand? I think, sometimes, that even though we can recognize and fight against violence, it’s an unfortunate part of the human condition that will never go away. But we band together, and we do what we can to push back, because to do otherwise is unthinkable. Pushing back is an effort to be better, to rise above the baser instincts and make our children think well of us.

Sad that I think some of the suicide bombers might also have that perspective. Otherwise, why make that choice? People who are firmly entrenched in their belief systems, who are absolutely convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong, are easily able to justify their actions. It’s that lack of openness, lack of acceptance, that too often brings out the madness.

I don’t know what the solution is to all of this. My students offer ideas, such as having the Western nations back away from the troubled zones and letting the “bad guys” tear themselves to pieces until there is no-one left to fight, but that’s impossible, because what would we do about the children and vulnerable individuals who have no escape? Certain countries also have vested interests in those trouble zones, because the world economy depends on oil rolling out. If we were more focused on developing sustainable energy, would that make a difference? If those who are in conflict would allow the non-combatants to leave, would that make a difference? Not likely. We’re too addicted to oil, and we will be until we are forced to go cold turkey, and warring factions need their human shields and future fighters to stay right where they are.

Bearing in mind what I said above, about people with entrenched ideas, I find myself on the fence for a lot of these issues, looking for evidence and statistics and ideas that I can support. I’m on the side of humanity, of trying to keep the violence from winning out by finding ways to compromise. Sadly, compromise usually doesn’t satisfy anyone. However, I’m also on the side of education — if we can help the younger generations to see the futility of the cycle of violence, that compromise, while not perfect, is a viable solution to death and destruction, then there is hope for a better future in our overcrowded world. The problem with getting education to the young people in troubled nations is that the men with guns don’t want to let it through, perhaps through fear of losing control, definitely through suspicion of values different from their own being assimilated. I get that.

On any other night, these thoughts might be enough to send me back to bed, to the peace of my own mind as I hide from the world by sinking under my covers. But having rested, the dark cloud that’s been tailing me so frequently has been banished for a little while. I can think clearly, say the things that have been on my mind, and no destructive urges come along for the ride.

Maybe that’s what everyone needs, for perspective. But in this world, most of us simply aren’t going to get it.

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