Charm or Fight?
What can we as individuals learn from today, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, upon which at the eleventh hour we will all contemplate the war dead?
That war is horrific need not be stated, but that we continue to wage it without thought, is proof we have devils inside us. Well evolved monsters inside some of us, let’s say. Most people don’t want war, but our leaders and generals edge themselves into a corner, or they have a cause and as we all saw from Bush and Blair’s Iraq War and the consequent eruption of the Islamic State rampage, causes can be more than dangerous, they easily destroy everything in their way with little concern for the suffering of others.
We are trained from birth to be part of a clan, a thought-base (or religion), a tribe, a nation and we are quietly lead in a myriad of ways to see our’s is the best option, that other ways are lesser, even evil. And so we are well primed to contest other life views.
Battles present themselves within our ordinary lives almost every day and generally we do not engage in conflict but seek an acceptable compromise.
Yesterday, walking around an Elizabethan stately house, I loitered at a leaded window, peering across the grounds which spread to a distant rise. A man who had been doing the same at the far end of the broad and spacious window bay, stepped at me and tried to budge me out the way so he could stand on exactly my spot.
I’d heard him talking to his wife a moment before, his voice was haughty, aristocratic, he was used to being top dog since birth. I felt a button inside ignite. I grew stiff, stood tall, did not shift. He gave up, strode away.
And so I ought to have, but I couldn’t let go. Bullies do this to me. I was badly bullied for years at school, a continual humiliation halted forever by knocking out the worst bully, a result my charm had failed to achieve. Twice Britain charmed and failed with Germany who built up vast armies, navies and airforces and started two World Wars.
Charm is OK to an extent, but it needs to be countered by strength, in my case, not letting that arrogant aristocrat budge me out the way. As I walked around yesterday’s palatial home, chance had us bump into one another for the next hour; thankfully, he had learnt his lesson, but I? It took ten minutes to undo the irritation, for it reached back to my youth.
And that’s the trouble with our leaders, they are no better than me. We the publlic need to ensure legal checks have strong systems to maintain them. This is true of the Two Greatest Wars we will ever face - Global Warming & Rapid Species Extinction.
Business, war machines, our own greed, all these need to be checked and quickly, before it is too late. And it is we alone who can do this - you, me, all of us ordinary people.
That is the lesson we must take away today.