Meditations: Endless Whimper Or Creative Explosion
An Endless Whimper, Or A Creative Explosion?
If, as the Prussian general von Clausewitz infamously said, "war is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means," then America's 'global war on terrorism' is about to enter a new phase.
The North Koreans, hell-bent on becoming the "axis of evil" in George Bush's self-fulfilling prophecy, have exposed the sham of multilateralism when it suits the US. Fearing attack by America after Iraq, they have opted to become a nuclear power.
Should North Korea carry out its promise to test a nuclear weapon (and there is little reason to think they won't), the last fraying ropes holding up the international system will break. Another 'world order' will fall onto the rubbish heap of history. What will take its place?
The future is partly predetermined and partly open. Perceiving the future as completely determined denies freedom. But when the future is seen as completely open, hope turns to despair.
Millions of people around the world had their hopes crushed after they marched in massive numbers against the US/UK invasion of Iraq. Ignoring world opinion, Bush and Blair, the Christian crusaders, did what they were going to do from the beginning and launched a self-righteousness war to rid the world of the evil Hussein, thereby spreading a contained cancer.
Absurdly, Bush and Blair are now being accused of not preparing adequately for the aftermath of their war. However if they were capable of such bloody foresight, they wouldn't have invaded Iraq in the first place!
Now phase three of this idiotic 'global war on terrorism' is about to begin. This time all hell is going to break loose not just in one nation, but an entire region. Bush will have his world war. That part of the future is foreordained, not by the inscrutable mind of God, but by the mindless momentum of man.
The question is not what we can do to prevent a catastrophic war, but what we can emotionally, spiritually, and politically do to prepare for it. If world war is inevitable, what part of the future is open? Where does one place one's hope in the human prospect if this is the destiny of the human race?
There are two kinds of hope. One is based on illusions and ideals, the other on seeing what is and not quitting on humanity. The former ends in despair and cynicism. The latter is continually tested and forged. Sometimes I doubt there is any kind of intelligence that cares about the fate of humankind, and in my darkest hours I feel the devil exists but not God.
Nevertheless the future ultimately rests in the hands of the living, however much the weight of the dead (both buried and walking) increases upon us. Certainly there will come a point, if humankind does not change course, where the past will completely engulf the future. Millions of people already believe, in their heart of hearts, that that point has come. But it has not, and in any case quitting isn't an option.
The international system is, as poet Louis MacNeice wrote, "Crumbling between the fingers, under the feet,/ Crumbling behind the eyes,/ Their world gives way and dies." But even more, the entire edifice of self-centered tribal man is crumbling. Will human nature, deemed immutable, be self-fulfillingly incorrigible?
Is this the "end of the world?" Yes and so what. Let it go, it's been a long time coming. A human civilization worthy of the name waits to be born. An endless whimper, or a creative explosion, will follow the bang. That part of the future is still open. There is an option, but is there any choice?
- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He has been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe for 20 years, and in New Zealand since July 2003. Email firstname.lastname@example.org. The author welcomes comments.