It was announced recently that the 6 billionth person was born into the world. The numbers of people born within this past century, are staggering. There have been more people born during this century than any previous one. How much suffering would there be if the Great Depression of the 1930's happened in today's world with so many people vulnerable to famine and starvation? Would the governments be able to provide for all of these people? It is disturbing to note that the earth has such a large population. How many people is too many people? If we look at the animal kingdom, species prey on other species, and populations remain fairly the same unless man has tipped the balance one way or another through industrialization or hunting. Man's presence in the environment seems to have no fail safe device for the overpopulation of people, however. Will we keep breeding and breeding until the capacity of the earth is full? Will there will be enough water and food ? Conditions may become much worse than during the the Great Depression. People need to stop having too many children. But how can we deprive someone of their right to reproduce?
Natural occurrences such as drought, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanoes take a large number of lives. Yet mankind is getting better and better at predicting these events and saving many lives. There are earthquake proof buildings, shelters from hurricanes and Doppler radar to predict floods, tornadoes and hosts of other conditions. Sickness and disease used to be another way Mother Nature kept populations in balance. In today's modern world, we have vaccines, hurricanes and Doppler radar to predict floods, tornadoes and hosts of other conditions. Sickness and disease used to be another way Mother Nature kept populations in balance. In today's modern world, we have vaccines and drugs. People today live nearly twice as long as they did in the beginning of the century. Mankind and its pursuit of progress has surpassed Mother Nature as controller of the planet's destiny. We have an awesome responsibility in today's modern world just to figure out how many people is too many people and what the capacity of our planet is. Perhaps, subconsciously, our collective brain has determined a way for our populations to remain just below the critical level. We may be taking lessons from the whales. It is not known for sure why many whales beach themselves in a group effort to commit suicide. One theory is that the whales somehow sense the future environmental conditions in their feeding area, and sensing that next season will have little or no food they sacrifice themselves so that other whales have enough to eat. Similarly, human warfare over the century has resulted in more and more dead . To take the analogy even further, 5,000 people "beached " themselves on the shores of Omaha Beach during the Second World War. They made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, and given the impossible odds, one wonders how any leader could send men into battle knowing for certain that so many would die. The numbers of dead from warfare increase with every new war. Like Mother Nature, we have become very efficient at killing. To ask anyone if they want war, the answer is always a resounding "NO!", and yet we keep killing each other, finding more ways of killing more people through nuclear arms and biological weapons. We must subconsciously suspect that war may be the only means we have left to control our population explosion in the face of better living conditions and longer lives for each of us. Perhaps we should be striving to value the individual life. We should find meaning in our life other than the prerequisite "having kids" without any thought to our own existence. Far too many people have children because they feel that is what life is all about . The child somehow brings a purpose into their life. To not have children is an aberration, something to be avoided.Like the beached whale, a sacrifice has to be made to improve the quality of life for everyone. People should have children later in lifewhen they are better able to provide for them and there are sufficient resources to nourish a child . Each child should be treasured and given the absolute best beginnings that life can offer. To value each life as special , and not look to have large numbers of children is a recipe that is better for the parents and the children.
Life has to have value. This value should not be in numbers, as in the amount of people this world has, but in the quality of each life. Life should not be sacrificed, as in the case of going to war, but rather in not having so many children and preparing for downtimes and natural disasters. To value only a single child we would be less likely to engage in warfare that could mean the death of that only son or daughter. To value only a single child we would expend far less of the earthıs resources and preserve the planet for the next generation. Our sacrifice should not be of the living, as in the case of the whales , but in those not yet born into this world. It is far more cruel to bring something out of the peace of oblivion, put it on this planet and then kill it through famine, or war. The ultimate meaning in life may be to protect the future.
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the cold streets at sunset looking for home
to see new broadcasts from the large dead box mainline in the living room
with the rabbitıs ears pointed ever skyward
the machinery of the night ... yacketayakking screaming vomiting whispering facts
and memories and
anecdotes and eyeball kicks and stories of hospitals and jails and wars,
whole intellects destroyed, night after night
worshiping the God of the airwaves
a cross dressing fag uncle of yours and
Thursday night everyone attends the sermon , a church of the ill informed
no longer a slave to the news from the mouths of babes
a news reformed through
sight and vision of a
Nixon sweaty brow loosing to the finely chiseled features of a
Kennedy world in the making
Many people look for reason in warfare. The reasons humans decide to kill each other are varied. Many wars start over land, difference of religion and culture, or economic stress. While there have been many wars over the years that man has inhabited this planet, World War I sticks out because of one incident that took place during the war.
On December 25th, 1916 the Waring factions took essentially a "Christmas break" from their fighting, and went into enemy territory. They shared food and drink, and exchanged pictures of loved ones. They laughed and sang and tried to cross language barriers that the day before seemed insurmountable. The following day, they returned to their trenches, reinstated the boundaries of the war and began to fight anew. Even to this day, war is sometimes suspended for religious reasons, and no one finds this absurd or shocking. Recently, many Serbians were mad at President Clinton because he did not suspend bombing of Croatia during a holiday. As if war has a scheduled time and place. World War 1 was significant to this century because it was a war that involved peoples from practically every continent for the first time in history. It is ironic to think that the destructive force of war was something that , in a sense, brought many peoples of the world together for a common cause whether it was the Allied cause, or the German or Russian cause.
Looking at this war as an example of most wars, the causes of warfare stem from some sort of disagreement. Many of these disagreements derive from human insecurities about change. Fear of change drives people to hold tighter to their traditions and customs. When change is slow and progressive people may mutter under their breath, disapprovingly; there may be pockets of resistance, but the collective mind of people has little resistance, because the changes are subtle. When there are large underpinnings of change, as was the case in Russia during the revolution, people become frightened. They worried about how their lives would change. Will they have food? Will they be able to practice their customs and religious beliefs? This fear was ripe for a leader, such as Lenin to come in and play on the sorrows of the old regime and drive the people to revolt.
In Germany, nationalism spurred on the war. People were buying into a fear of change, that the new world would have no place for Germany if it did not assert itself and crush the opposition. In a stagnant , stubborn society, fear of change is the beginning of the process that leads to war. People will not listen to reason collectively. Every individual has their own ideas about change and most are resistant due to prejudices of one kind or another. Listening to reason does not work for these people and their leaders. War begins because of this unwillingness to accept change. When war ends, change has been effected anyway in spite of what these people originally wanted. Sometimes the status quo prevails, but the period after a war always involves some sort of reinvention of the culture. If one looks back at ancient times, Roman influence due to war was as great in the culture of the conquered peoples as the conquered peoples influence to Roman culture. War brought change to all.
Killing means death. Death means changes, and new beginnings. War is the mechanism for change in human culture. Death provides a cleansing of the old. Many adult males die in war. With their deaths, ideals and traditions die, leaving families vulnerable to change. New ideas are forced upon people through their dependency on the conquering government after the war. Once beaten, the people can be molded into citizens of the new regime. During wartime, no new ideas are initiated. There is no art. No music. Writing and free thinking is limited or given over to the prevailing propaganda; another instrument of change. The loss of family and friends breaks the spirit of the collective, leaving them open to the new changes. Suddenly, a desire to just have the war end surfaces. People who would not accept the changes are suddenly able to. The South never would accept freed slaves until their back was broken by the North during the Civil War. In World War 1 , people were just plain tired of the war. Fatigue allowed new countries to be formed and borders to be changed. These changes would have never been tolerated before the spirit of the old collective was broken and laid open for new ideas.
War as a process of change works successfully. That is why people are so dependent on it. It is much easier to break someone's spirit with brute force than to use intellect and reason. War as a transformation process will continue unless people see that the same evolutionary processes of change in society can be implemented through negotiation. But these types of processes are slow and involve a willingness to be open to change. People have to get the idea in their head that change is inevitable, it is what life is based on. The status quo can not remain forever. It is only through this realization and openness to new ideas that war as a machine of progress can ever be stopped . Skilled leaders need to motivate people to negotiation, and to acting without aggression. To lose the 'us against them mentality' should be the ultimate goal of all societies and peoples. Every day should be Christmas.
I wish you were here, Grandma.I wish that I could ask you about what it was liketo grow up in the 20'sto get married in a flapper dressand raise a family throughdepressionI wish you could speak to me, Grandmafill my ears with your happy voicesinging songs by Gershwinl know nowhow wonderful those songs areeven thoughwhen you sang themto meI would say "Oh Grandma!"I thought they were silly....I wish I could sit with you , Grandmalook at these old pictures togetherI don't know who these people areI did not listen to youyou tried to tell mewho they werenow these facesare forever without namesthese places areforever lost to timebecause I was too busygrowingI had no time for the pastnow I search for itlooking for mein youI wonder how you were ableto learn to drivewhen other women didn'tI wonder how you were ableto run a radio storewhen women could barely runwithout backlash from the menI never knew how brave you were....I wish I could hug you, Grandmakiss your rosy cheeksbe warmed by your smileso many thingsI now have to wonder aboutWhat was it was liketo put your premature soninto the brand newexperimental incubatorsat Coney Island'sDreamland?How could you trustyour only sonto this new technology?You must have had great faith....And yet to see youin that flapper dressI don't see a traditionalistIt seems thatyou went your own waythe times were full ofnew ideasnew waysmaybe you will forgive methe timeI did not spendwith youfor my time, toowas full of new ideasnew waysI wish, GrandmaI had spent themwith you
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