In over ten thousand years of fighting between successive generations, we human beings have yet to establish a universal ethic that eradicates the need for war. Tune in to the daily news and there’s a war correspondent reporting from the latest trouble-spot from around the world. It appears that war is as popular today as it’s ever been.
The waging of war has been at the forefront of every significant phase of human evolution. Spanning from the ancient feuds of tribal warlords right up to the present day, the human race has justified the deployment of violence and aggression as means to preserve the peace on planet earth. Are we human beings therefore inherently violent, making war and conflict a necessary evil in the struggle towards a more enlightened race? Or has the modern hi-tech generation become so inured by the graphic images of carnage broadcast though the media? Perhaps the line between the virtual reality of computer games and the actuality of hostilities in the real world is no longer able to be discerned.
War originates as a consequence of being born. Every one of us is potentially violent since we’re all energetically connected to the vast psychic network of life that has ever been since time began. Although deeply subconscious, these energies of past life experience (especially those associated with cruelty, hatred and sexual deviances) frequently rise to surface awareness to influence the behaviour and actions of the living. In a divisive world where the desires of one person conflict with those of another, the inevitable result is a collision of opposing forces that manifests at every level of human interaction.
There’s no rest in this existence but it is possible to be at peace. When at peace there is no desire to wage war or inflict harm on another. Peace is an inner state of equilibrium available to all, yet is unable to be woven into modern society as an integrated way of life. This is because the human race cannot tolerate peace for any length of time as an uninterrupted state of being. When politicians and generals talk of peace, what is usually meant is a brief interlude between fighting that provides the opportunity to replenish supplies and forge new alliances – so as to be better prepared for war next time.
The intrinsic value of peace, when demonstrated in the world, usually makes the headlines as something quite extraordinary. Probably the most famous example is the non-violence practised politically by Mahatma Gandhi against the British for independence in India. More recently, the example of Nelson Mandela has inspired the idea of racial integration and harmony through peaceful diplomacy. However, peace on earth as a global way of life is patently absurd in a western culture with its ethic of greed and acquisition; the demands of the times will not allow it. Only the individual can discover the peace that passes understanding. This is realised through a moment to moment surrender of the past, which neutralises the build-up of resistance gathered through unconscious living and the distractions of the world.
Because war and strife is so intimately linked to this evolutionary phase of humanity, it must have a virtue that edifies the consciousness to offset the appalling sense of loss, misery and hardship endured in times of conflict. Valour is the virtue of war. Paradoxically, war and tragedy provide the opportunity for the finest qualities of human beings to emerge through self-sacrifice. For example, in the moment of battle when a soldier puts his life on the line, he exists only as a body without relationship to anyone or anything. A kind of slow motion detachment can occur as he focuses on the task at hand. The soldier, or anyone taking action in such extreme circumstances, functions as the spontaneous expression of the immortal being inherent within the individual. To perceive this in another invokes another virtuous energy: compassion. This is the finest of all emotions and serves to bring more love into the world.
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