If you scan the history of humanity, it seems we have been involved in an almost ceaseless bloodbath. War after war, our civilizations have developed. Technology is developed primarily, though not exclusively, for military purposes, and only then is it shifted to civilian use in areas such as science, medicine, and recreation. Everything humanity does seems to be motivated by a desire to dominate, manipulate, subdue, and eventually destroy or enslave others. This applies to every form of human relations, from international politics to the family unit. It is human nature.
The turn of the previous century saw an exponential intensification of the ego. Over the last two decades we have become unable to communicate, isolated in our personal shells. At the same time reality is developing in the opposite direction—pushing us ever tighter together, making us increasingly interdependent and interconnected. However, because we cannot stand each other, clashes occur!
This conflict of forces between our desire to be alone and our compulsory connectedness must be suppressed and dulled, and so we rush for drugs. Today, the majority of people in the Western world are on some sort of antidepressant, whether it is prescribed medications, “medical” cannabis, or other forms of substance abuse. We do our best to escape reality because we cannot tolerate being together, yet we cannot survive alone.
And when people cannot calm themselves, they have no choice but to vent their frustrations. This is when they become aggressive and violent.
It is like a couple that has lived together for some time. Every so often they must “let out steam” to ease the pressures of the relationship. We treat such domestic disputes as simply part of the relationship, but they are actually reflections of our incongruent egos. We express our disagreements, have fights, and keep on going. Otherwise we would divorce.
Similarly, our human society has grown tired of full-blown wars where entire armies are mobilized and tens of thousands are killed. If we take into consideration that today, any war between two countries is likely to drag other nations into the fray, increasing the likelihood of a third world war, and remember the very real risk that a losing party might opt for nuclear weapons in the face of defeat, it becomes too risky to allow ourselves to engage in full-scale war. Therefore, for all its painful consequences, terror attacks such as the one that took place at Istanbul Ataturk Airport seem like the least bloody option.
That is, unless we change course altogether.
Without a change of course we will become increasingly alienated and hostile toward each other until we find ourselves engaged in a battle engulfing all of humanity. Or, we can take a different route. It is simply a question of how soon we choose to say, “Enough!”
The sooner we decide to change, the easier and faster it will be. All we need is to decide that since we cannot eradicate our egos, we must try to go above them! For instance, if we use the desire for dominance to benefit society, such as to galvanize communities into helping other communities, it will evoke friendship instead of hostility and competition between communities, and will increase cohesion within the helping community. If people want fame, make them famous for doing good to others. No one has ever helped others and felt bad. We need to tap into that positive force that exists in each of us and utilize it to our benefit.
We can choose to build exemplary societies and heaven on earth, or avoid any action and let our ill-will stay at the helm. The result will be the world we see today: reflecting our ill-will.
However, if we accept the fact that we are already connected and use it to our benefit, to build cohesive communities, then we will not resent our connection and will not have any desire to numb our feelings using drugs. We will be able to rejoice in our connection since there is so much it can give us. Science has proven that socially connected people are both healthier and happier, since within society there is a force that loners shy away from and lose its benefits. Through self-indoctrination we can learn to use our selfish nature for the common good so the whole society may benefit from everybody’s desire for esteem and recognition. When our achievements are shared, they are multiplied. Just like the saying, “A trouble shared is a trouble halved,” a joy shared is a joy multiplied.
The sooner we understand this principle and begin to build society accordingly, the sooner we will change the course of our lives. Our future depends on this decision—not just our happiness, but our very physical survival. So the sooner we begin to connect, the better. This is our only true and lasting protection against terror and war.
This article was originally posted on JewishBusinessNews.com.