A Christmas wish: Humanity reclaims its dignity and grandeur

Dec 23, 2023
Christmas Scene with twinkling stars and brighter star of Bethlehem with nativity characters. Nativity Christmas story under starry sky and moving wispy clouds.

Despite the limitations of the recent COP28 climate meeting in Dubai, there was a positive aspect skipped over too quickly by its critics. At the closing plenary (time stamp 2:24:50), the Zambian representative described his delight at the ‘climate love’ he experienced – the extraordinary goodwill among most participants.

Goodwill, moral sensibility, and the empathetic capacity of the majority is humanity’s secret superpower and remaining hope. The flame of good will among humankind is alive. We see its warm glow through the vast number of global protests calling for a ceasefire in Palestine. When a disaster occurs somewhere in the world, the flame flickers fast. As global citizens compare notes on shared experiences of controlled media and corrupted or captured governance, new friendships, and understandings form.

In his book ‘On Killing’ Dave Grossman reveals something incredibly important about human nature. In studying people who kill throughout history, he discovers that aside from a certain percentage of psychopaths, for most people, killing another human is repugnant; it goes against our instincts. The urge to protect life is so powerful that it resists efforts to eradicate it through military training. Thus, some soldiers fire above the heads of their ‘enemy.’ An old rifle recovered from a US civil war battlefield was found to have been loaded, but not fired 13 times. This means that a soldier mimicked shooting, but didn’t shoot, 13 times.

Because killing is naturally repulsive to humans, all range of techniques are used to desensitise soldiers who must undertake this task. Alarmingly, Grossman warns that the pervasive and extreme violence in today’s movies and video games works to desensitise people in the same way that soldiers are trained. Repetitive exposure to violence can affect human neuron pathways and innate empathic capacities. It may not be too large a leap to suggest some world leaders and powers behind the scenes have similarly become desensitised to the horrors of war; it is becoming a normalised form of foreign policy, and perpetual, as soon as one winds up, strangely another begins.

Grossman’s research is good news because it tells us that, at our heart, the human is good; with a built-in instinct to protect life. That COP28 still occurred, despite escalations towards global warfare and the widening gap between ‘the West and the Rest,’ is good news. Global protests calling for a ceasefire are good news.

These examples remind of us of who we are. They remind that there is a possibility, a responsibility, a desperately important need to find an off-ramp to the current pathway humanity is on.

Right now, via the climate and ecological crisis, humankind is on a trajectory towards killing at a scale beyond anything humanity have ever seen, which includes not merely homo sapiens, but all forms of planetary life, such as fish, birds, trees, mammals, reptiles, and insects. Additionally, French philosopher Emmanuel Todd tells us World War Three (WWIII) has already begun. Elite power presents the idea that this pathway (confrontation between major powers) is inevitable, responsible, and that it will provide security; but it won’t. War now, at a time of excruciatingly ecological fragility will only hasten the demise and death of everyone and everything. More than any time in history, war no longer makes sense. It is an obsolete path to security.

Human’s powerful, beautiful instinctive drive to protect life, especially those of their ‘tribe’, and to uphold values that allow people to live with dignity is often exploited and used for the opposite aim. If governments are captured by special interests, this means there is a risk that the security sector is also captured.

The week before Christmas, not that far from Bethlehem, people were buried alive with bulldozers. Across the world, vast numbers of people live in severe poverty, lack food, clean water, or safety. This sad pathway, a descent to barbarity and the allowing of the vast suffering of fellow humankind plus other forms of life is an insult to human nature. It degrades and shames us all.

We are better than this.

Inspired by the innate ‘good’ fighting spirit that is found in our species – a deep desire to protect life in all its magical forms, I again introduce a new idea, an alternate security strategy, an off ramp from madness: PLAN E. ‘PLAN E’ is a concept for a ‘HyperResponse’ to the ‘entangled’ planetary, human and state security crisis. It sees humanity step up and start cleaning up; taking responsibility for our mess; the harm our systems have caused and tackling root causes. The security sector and budget are reclaimed from elite control, (and dare I say the clutches of odd psychopaths) and are reoriented towards the formidable security needs of the many.

Innate human fighting spirit to ‘protect life’ is not manipulated but this time it is properly harnessed for its rightful purpose: to save life. We are heroic for the right reasons. And we turn this planet around from becoming a toxic dumpster, a warzone to a place that treasures life.

The arguments for why it is time for a fundamental shift in how humanity perceives and approaches security are expanded upon in an Chapter 15 of a new book, released this month, called ‘‘Hot War.’

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