Light. It nourishes all life on the planet earth. It has always been viewed as symbol of hope and life and was worshipped by ancient cultures in the form of the sun. Recently, science has delved deeper into the mysteries of the nature of light. Oddly, it has been shown to exhibit the characteristics of both a particle and a wave. This seeming contradiction baffled scientists and led to the formation of quantum physics, an entirely new way of thinking that allows for light to exist in two states at the same time.
Like Light, mankind has shown their ability to display apparently contradicting aspects at the same time.
War and peace, good and evil, these polar opposites have been exhibited nearly simultaneously as long as history has been recorded.
There are many who choose to believe that man is innately good. They hold that negative environmental factors shape the attitude and disposition of any given soul.
There are a multitude of others that see humans to be innately evil. They claim that regardless of upbringing and experience we are dark at heart, and only rise above our evil by consciously choosing to do so.
Both sides have taken to viewing the world from a linear perspective. Both are prone to holding war as a perfect example of evil, and view peace as the crowning achievement that is rarely realized in history. Every now and then, they claim, man climbs from the abyss of war up to the lofty peaks of peace and tranquility. They believe that man continues to evolve, and will someday reach a flowering of global consciousness, that will unite the world in a common search for harmony and pluralism.
To my eyes, this could be no further from the truth.
War and peace are not varying points on a yardstick of achievement. Instead, they should be viewed as contradicting peaks and troughs in a sine wave that could be used to represent human history.
In other words, the path of humanity, superimposed by the nature of mankind itself, is a fluid wave that oscillates from high (peace, democracy, good, etc) to low (war, tyranny, evil.)
This of course could be viewed as a defeatist attitude, but truthfully it is not. After all, the inevitability of an undesired outcome should not preclude a struggle against it.
Personally I would not even desire to exist within a world where the nature of man was strictly linear. From the soaring minarets of Islam to the glorious and graceful curves of Gothic architecture, from the innovation of flight to the advances in medicine earned during war, we have etched our story into the world. Our spirit most strongly shows itself during adversity, and our times of peace allow us to enjoy the rewards of struggle. So the cycle of war and rebirth continues. Dictatorships rise and fall, as do democracies; men make peace and their children take up arms.
If I could, what would I change about the world?