No, do not excuse this digression.
For, it really is not in any sense a straying from the tenets of this blog, nor of my thoughts. It is these thoughts of mine, freely expressed, which has been lacking on this blog in a big way.
I have been busy with my studies and- well my studies are presently such that I cannot be said to have been busied by anything else, save my reluctance to use down time to post good and honest content.
And here I am.
Where are we in the world today, mmm? North Korea doing some things.
Some insane things.
Their actions are like that of a bug, not particularly liked or understood, threatening to crawl onto your skin and offend your sensibilities to such a degree that simply upon ones natural reaction you must kill it or to flick it from your body.
And what is that about?
Why on our planet Earth would anyone willingly enter into a fight that can only end with their being destroyed? Unless such a person wanted to die.
I don’t know, maybe if North Korea was somehow suicidal? I can understand this perhaps if we look at the state as representing a body.
The poor goddamn people (I say goddamn in the sense of their being damned by god; theirs and the gods of others) exist as the unthinking (and quite frail) body to which the military is the muscle, the government the nervous system, and the leader as the consciousness (or mind) which is said to will decisions on behalf of the rest. Of course then the mind of the state seems to be like the piece on a Ouija board that is thought to be moving about itself, when really it is probably just so influenced by the outside forces always acting upon it. They, trying not to invalidate the game by stepping out of the illusion, continue the tradition of following the leader off the plank.
Off the plank… off the planet if anyone with decision power over there decides to preempt war from that particular seat of power.
And this is not an inference of the probable outcome of such a future, rather this is a deduction.
A strike from the DPRK onto SK or any other U.S. interests would splat the cold war era military equipment, and kill, or cause to later die, those of the commanding elite of Pyongyang. Action A begins action B.
All of this is ridiculous because we, the people of the world, are advanced in progressive thought, communication technology, and the knowledge of our fundamental human similarities. All of this and still the world is so divided on every side.
And even within states there is division… The world is laden with debt (to itself). There are many people in power who know the game of power more than know (and act for) the good for their people.
And really, many politicians almost cannot do the good for their people. I say that they do not because the best politician is the politician that can succeed as a politician (ie get and hold power). As such, in line with the success of the politician, the best citizen is the one which is either supportive of state decisions or the one which is ignorant (more preferably ignorant, because the populace is naturally fickle, and while they may approve today, tomorrow they may not).
And so here… if enough time passes and we arrive at a largely uninformed population being lead by politicians who sign up to the party to play their part in the schema and avoid rocking the boat (lest they lose their office).
And then the respective nations or states then must deal with the world as if it is the wild west, make allies, cheat if you can, kill as you must, but always know it there is no law beyond the comfort of your nation.
The world seems to run on Virtù rather than virtue.
Virtue in the sense of Aristotle spoke is to lead a life of flourishing. It is to be the best we can be as humans; to reason, and to tame as best we can those vices that hurt us and others. Generally it is to be healthy, happy, useful and to not be an asshole.
This, of course, should be reflected in the government which the people lift up. It should be as such as to ensure the liberty of the people, and to itself arrange and be that which is best for human flourishing. This would include seeking healthy relationships with your neighbors, and ultimately a world that is good for your nation as it is for all others.
Virtù is the act of defending what is yours. It is having the balls and the ability to take what others have and to be secure in your greatness and great in your ability to secure more glory, property, and power forever or until anyone who can oppose you is dead.
The idea of virtue says that each man should be good because each man can be good.
And virtù, like Hobbes’ view of man’s natural state, assumes the worst of men, and more importantly it views power as the only means to power, and ‘political/moral/ideological worthiness’ as silly ideas. As if a man could be worthy of a woman, where another man who approaches first and wins her favour is not.
And so this is why we have constant war and not durable peace. We assume the worst in each of us, and to respond we act out those worst characteristics. This effect touches all governments, all coherent peoples.
When an animal looks frightening (both in appearance and behavior), how many of us would go and try to make friends with that which we do not understand or can safely say will not attack us? None. None but a fool would!
When we see something that looks dangerous, we too try to look dangerous. This is what animals do, and we are no exceptions.
And so the effect is war, and in a state of constant war there is put into the mind of each the fear of animals (the unpredictable, greedy other), and the unconscious or conscious will to be that animal so that the others will be afraid of you more than you are of them.
And so here we arrive at the sad reality of the international scene. No one seems to have the balls to seek world peace. We have become to know and strengthen old and defunct associations. Moreover, places where there is coherent people, those people are uninformed, the politicians spend time getting/keeping power rather than making the world a better place for their people. The result is our present state of war, where peace is only ever a temporary cessation of hostilities.
I think we can best understand this problem if we think of the world and its various national leaders/regimes as participants in a relay race.
For as long as anyone can remember there have been people running (peoples, nations growing, warring, competing), and among anyone that comes to run and hold the baton (the power) finds that they and all the runners are probably going to get hurt really soon (perhaps a cliff is some distance ahead), and that they should all at once stop running and discuss the matter.
Now, anyone who has had the lead knows this on one level, but within them is the fear that if they stop running to talk (if the aggression is withdrawn and truly open talks are offered), then the others will run by and continue this timeless race of futility (that other nations will strike and expand their empire because we appear momentarily weak). And in this analogy, those who are not in the lead, perhaps those who never remembered they were, they think only of the lead, of their team reaching some “end of the race” as “victors”.
People don’t want to stop running first and alone, because they know there are people waiting and ready to jump in and continue this race, and that no one would listen, because everyone watches the race and participates in it themselves. It all just keeps moving from hand to hand, from point to point, on and on generally as it always has.
I guess it is like Newton’s first law of motion, that if something is moving, it will just keep on moving until some force is acted upon it to stop, redirect, or annihilate it.
This sounds all quite pessimistic. A realist political theory that seems to capture an accepted hopelessness of the world. (And I hadn’t yet said anything about climate change, resource depletion, ecological catastrophe etc. etc.) (That counts as saying it.)
It sounds bad because it is bad, but there is a good within it.
The good is that we can see that it is worthy of our ridicule. And that knowledge that things are bad is a good thing. For, before you can address a fire you must first smell the smoke. And a great many people are today coughing.
I should get some sleep.
Thanks for reading, and remember to teach your kids to be kind and inquisitive. And make sure to be happy yourself. The more intelligent and happy people we can create, the better our chances at getting that world which all of us want and deserve.
p.s. North Korea will probably cool its jets… but what their end game is… I do not know. *shakes head*