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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The Natural State of Mankind: War or Peace?

In the past all history was made by wars, and the present incorporates the past. The history of the world-historical nations (nations of global significance) is the history of the wars that these nations have fought.

The naive desires confer a privileged status to peace: the majority desires to live in a society in which no one dies a violent death, and they rationalize that peace is the natural state for mankind. But what is peace? In the context of history, peace is a negative term—it means the absence of war. Without using the terminology of war, peace cannot be defined. In the case of world historical nations, the periods of peace represent a cold war between the belligerents. There has never been a peace that cannot be seen in terms of a cold war. In the Classical Age, the Athenian Empire, the Spartan Empire, and the Persian Empire were either in the state of war or cold war. The same situation exists in all other ages—either the nations go to war or to cold war.

People love to read about wars. History books on wars often make it to the bestseller lists; the books on the peaceful periods are hardly read. We love to read about wars because, if not consciously then at a subconscious level, we are more intimate with wars than with the periods of peace. Our cultural and political roots are in the wars that our ancestors have fought, even in those wars in which our ancestors lost. We care more about knowing about the wars. When we read about the wars, we immediately grasp what these wars imply for the culture and politics of the present. A nation that has not fought wars has no history; its people have no story—they are like animals who live to eat and procreate. It is through our wars that we become human.

There can be counterarguments to everything that I have said in the above paragraphs. But that does not imply that I am incorrect. Every argument has its opposite and both can be countered. To see clearly, one needs to get out of the cycle of these back and forth arguments: the naive desires that have led to the belief that peace is a natural state for mankind must be discarded because history tells us that our natural state is the state of war.

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