It seems to me that war stops only when one of two conditions are met. Neither of these conditions are very likely, or easy. They are definitely easy to critique, easy to dismiss. But the alternative, as we discussed previously, is more war in a world, bristling with weapons, poised on the brink of global ecological collapse. So….yeah, we can have that, or we can figure out which of the following conditions we are most likely to be able to meet.
Condition #1 is that humanity gets rid of “Bad Guys”, as much as possible. We fix all the bad shit that leads people to grow up traumatized, angry, rejected, disempowered, economically disadvantaged, oppressed, isolated, neglected, abused. We clean up the world, and reorganize humanity along the lines of wisdom, beauty, love, kindness, compassion. We let the wisdom of our respected community elders be the guiding vision for our society, and we focus on releasing and enriching the innate creativity and potential of every person to shine and make the world better. We do THAT, we do it really well, and very, very likely, we won’t have a lot of wannabe-dictators to deal with anymore.
And perhaps, if you envision a communitarian utopia, an anarchic collective of self-organized, enlightened people, living through values of simplicity, kindness, creativity and chillzzz vibes, and you envision this global awakening leading us to fix the root causes of psychopathy, power-seeking, and the other factors that lead to Bad Guys developing out of the innocent babies they are born into this world as, then perhaps, this is possible.
But…wow…. I mean…wow. That’s…a lot. That’s going to take, you know, a little while….But take a look at your part, at your contributions to a peaceful, wellness-nourishing world, and see what you can do to make things a little better. Seems sensible to start there, right?
Condition #2 is that a growing, ever-escalating wave of resistance takes hold amongst the people who are asked or compelled to pull the triggers and push the buttons of war. Each individual who participates in the perpetuation of tyranny “just says no”. Simple as that. No more followers, no more dictators.
Obviously, this is also a pipe dream.
Unless….unless we do have sufficient faith in the human spirit, in the power of love, in the bonds of family and friendship.
I am increasingly convinced, as I get older, and learn more about “human nature”, that the vast, vast majority of people have kindness at the core of their being. They do not want cruelty. They do not want war, do not want weapons of mass destruction to exist, and do not want an economic system that is built on war and destruction, on directly taking wealth from the poor and funnelling it to the already-wealthy.
The vast majority of us don’t want protests to escalate to tear gas. We don’t want surveillance. We don’t want police states. We don’t want boots stomping in our faces. We don’t want hypersonic, hyperbaric, hyper-whatever, thermonuclear, world-destroying, body-vaporizing weapons to fall out of the sky on…anyone! Ever! That shit just should not exist. Period.
But somehow, we are letting the psychopathic few, the oligarchs, the billionaires, the despots and dictators and criminals, to shape the world, OUR world, in their image.
What a shame, what an unthinkable shame, to have inherited a world that pulses with life and overflows near-endless abundance of riches, and to have turned this Paradise into poverty, plastic, pollution, scarcity, hate and war.
Solution #1: We fix the root causes of hate, violence, and power-seeking, as well as we can. This requires racial and economic justice; it requires independence from political oppression; it requires true “peace and reconciliation” between the oppressors, those who’ve inherited the benefits of oppression, and the many peoples of the world who have suffered and been oppressed.
We have decades of both scholarship and real-world experience now, in how to evolve societies to be more just, more fair, more conducive to well-being and flourishing, to raising healthy children and creative, productive, ethical citizens. We have this knowledge. But until we de-militarize and reshape political governance and power along the lines of some form of regionally-autonomous self-governance, whereby people largely govern themselves through a Citizens’ Assembly type of apparatus for collective decision-making, I don’t think we will be able to harness our collective brilliance and Fix Things.
My point is, we COLLECTIVELY hold the knowledge of how to do this. From indigenous leaders to community organizers, business leaders to teachers, scholars to at-home parents, we collectively know how to function as a collective. That’s what humanity IS. It’s “what we do”.
Our problem is, fundamentally, that the balance of power has shifted too far. Way, way too far. We’ve been talking for decades now about the funnelling of wealth into the coffers of the “1%”. We know about the corruption at the heart of war and government oppression. We know how the billionaires have rigged the financial system. We know it all. AND we know the solutions!
So solution #1 is to get involved in whatever capacity you are able, with cultivating a society grounded in values of compassion, honour for human rights, respect for life and nature, honouring the rights of children to a healthy development, and all those things we do, when it comes right down to it, agree on. Fix the root problems, grow the root solutions. All hands on deck.
In the meantime, in the short term, while faced with the immediate crises of this war, and then the other absolutely unavoidable problems that are bearing down on us, we, the Vast Majority, figure out how to stage “An Intervention” in the lives of everyone we have influence over who is in a position to “just say no”.
That will be our own officials in positions of power, who can embargo Russia and isolate them from the world in every way possible, “shunning” at the global scale. This is, in a way, the easy part; it’s classic political activism, but we need to do it mass-scale. We need to pour into the streets with “Million Person Marches” in cities around the world. We need to all demand, “no”, and keep demanding it until the governments of the world sit down and de-militarize. No compromise on that. No more weapons of mass destruction. At all. Military funds largely get redirected into humanitarian and making-the-world-a-better-place projects. We invest more in feeding people and restoring ecosystems and creating global scientific communities of collaborative awesomeness, and the arts and eradicating poverty and helping the traumatized and so-called “mentally ill”, and getting communities freaking clean drinking water, homes, and food security, more than we invest in blowing each other up. Governments reorient from serving the wealthy to serving the many. And we demand these things, we demand them incessantly, we demand them in the streets, in the media, in our jobs, everywhere, until we get them.
But yes, that is, relatively speaking, the easy part.
The hard part will be our own friends and family members who are embedded in the war machine. Realistically, you know that just confronting people, that blaming & shaming, ain’t gonna work. Pushing people tends to make them push back.
No, our loved ones, particularly as they are directly involved in the war machine, will need our help. They’ll need, first of all, to feel safe with us, to feel respected and listened to. We’ll need to listen at least as much as we talk. We need to connect hearts, and that never comes through judging and blaming.
And as hearts open and people become more willing to consider their own courageous possibilities of defiance, they will need to know that we have their backs. We’re all in this together, for real, long-term. If we are to dismantle the machinery of violence, if we are to empower people to conscientiously object, to “just say no” when they are ordered to pull the trigger or push the button, then we will have to help them pick up the pieces of their own lives afterwards.
It can work. It’s the Power of the People, and at times of great social unrest and awakening, this power manifests. It becomes revolutions.
Now, of course, revolutions don’t always turn out so well, to say the least. But peaceful revolution is possible. Leaders grounded in wisdom do exist. And examples of successful nonviolent resistance and transformation of power do exist. So the question is not, “How likely is this to turn out well?” The question is, “What do we need to do so that this turns out well?”
Collectively, we believe that The People can topple systems of oppression and create a better world. It’s in all our Hero stories. It’s the Companions coming to the aid of their friends, that wonderful moment in the movie when all hope seems lost, and then the Allies appear over the hill and you rejoice, your heart lifting in joy that once again Good triumphs.
But we have to DO this. We have to. The time for personal heroism and sacrifice, for courage and sticking your neck out, is now.
I choose to believe that turning people’s hearts around is possible. But….ohhhhh goddamn, sometimes it is hard to sustain that belief.
Okay, thanks for reading all this. I hope…that we will make a difference together.