Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Avoidance of Conflict: What Stops Us from Going Out and Doing Harm to Our Enemies?

In the global community today there exists a dynamic that reflects centuries of what would now be considered unjust and tyrannical imposition of one's views upon another. The very fabric that keeps the world intact is woven with the strings of power; if we were to philosophically remove all notions of the stronger ruling over the weaker, our global political systems would decay so quickly that it would be impossible for any measure of control to be maintained. Our political systems and the theory of democracy may seem to be the "control" that keeps a man or a nation from doing harm to his enemies, but this is not the case.
Since even before the dawn of man, one theory has remained true: the stronger, the aggressor, always is able to force their will over subservient creatures. The very laws of physics that determine our universe prove the truth in this statement; the solid object with more inertia is always more likely to continue on its way uninterrupted until an opponent more formidable in stature or energy can stop it. One may examine the biological evidence behind this statement as wolves submit to the biggest and strongest amidst them as their alpha, or even the very most primal and basic struggle that continues to remain keystone to our existence; that of the most fit sperm being admitted to fertilize the egg.
This constant struggle against one's competitors of a goal or "enemies" as they shall be called from here on grows more distant from our everyday lifestyles as our systems of government continue to improve the quality of life and remove conflict and increase regulation. However, the world is held together by the assumption based on all of history that if harm is done to an enemy, it shall be retaliated, either immediately or distantly. If, as happens in rare instances, the chance of retaliation is absolutely impossible, then the "enemy" will be removed from existence immediately. This further supports the theory that humans do not do harm to their enemies in fear of some sort of retaliation.
Examples of this retaliation are usually increasingly immediate and easily understandable as a smaller population is examined. For example, the retaliation faced by an ancient Great Plains native for attacking an enemy tribe would be a counterattack, or the damages sustained during the original skirmish. Today, our society emulates this retaliation in our legal code as a man who sets fire to his neighbor's house finds himself isolated from society for the rest of his life.
On a grander scale, the assumptions remain the same; they are simply more complicated because the decisions they make concerning doing harm to enemies impact them for years, decades, even centuries to come. The strife between Israel and Palestine stems from ancient conflict and each side continues to retaliate against their enemy today as they remain locked in a perfect example of the perceived consequences that keep man from doing harm to his enemy. The consequences of harm to one another on this global scale come in many forms; deaths of individuals being the most concrete though harshly realized form. Political and economic consequences of the conflict can take many years to surface, and this is another measure of retaliation that is feared on a global level.
In conclusion, the longwithstanding reasoning behind men avoiding the attacking of an enemy lies in the fear of retribution. An animal injured in a fight over territofy will likely not live to see another moon, a country that declares war against the world will likely not be offered a seat on the UN security council nor included in global trade as the world moves forward. Although this may seem like a primal and antiquated system of supressing violence, it has always been the most reliable and is hardwired into the brain of every living species, thus making it the reasoning behind the avoidance of every conflict. These risks of retribution are only engaged when circumstances compel one to commence an attack; however, this is a separate set of philosophies.

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