1918, Fall, Belgium Front, Edie
The little one insisted on giving us nicknames, but I told him that if he insisted on calling me Nan one more time I’d punch his stomach right through his anus. Then the Priest came out with an eyebrow gushing like a mountain spring for getting in a bar fight with a gunner from the next outpost over. I told him a Chaplain shouldn’t fight, and he told me to go fuck myself. The big one spent this time saying nothing, looking out into the darkness with his Springfield’s scope for a German light to shoot. My husband would have loved these people, which is the only thing that kept me from hating them.
War is boring and tiring. Two months to this foxhole and Seven days in it so far. The big one has fired 23 shots so far and is unsure if any have hit. The little one cheers him on, “24 Germans!” to which the big one says, “Why 24? I’ve only fired 23 shots” and the little one says, “Yeah, but one of them got two.” “How do you know that?” “Math”.
They carry on like that while the priest drinks from a flask and I write.
I don’t know much about them yet and haven’t bothered to remember their names. I know when they look at me all they see is a small woman with a Machete on her back and a trench knife in her boot. None of them have made a move on me, but I suspect the priest will break first.
In October, 1946, a small group of scientists rode a jeep out into the desert to where a V2 Rocket had come crashing down from the edge of space. On any other day they would have been examining the wreckage, taking notes, all work to develop an American missile that was more accurate and more deadly than the German V2.
But today was different. Today what they wanted was a small roll of undeveloped film in an iron box designed to survive a 62 mile fall. In that box was the first picture taken from space.
This week, 4 athletes marched under the Olympic Flag. 4 Athletes whose countries were not able or allowed to enter the Games, Three of them from a municipality of the netherlands, and the fourth is a refugee of Sudan. 4 Athletes competing not for any one country, but instead to prove their worth on a global stage, under a global flag. The Olympic foundation, for all of its faults, provides a way to bring the world together for a fair competition. Even more than that, for a peaceful competition. Makes one wonder.
Maybe dreaming of world peace is not as childish and useless as we thought. Oh, I know, we all dream of utopian society, and of somehow creating a completely fair and just world, but we are taught from a young age to be afraid, and to put up with injustice, because its just the way things work sometimes. In fact, any discussion of world peace is dismissed as childish immediately because we are taught that such things are the product of either totalitarian rule, or the wet dream of a freshman poli-sci major.
We assume the world peace means that everyone is well fed, all wars are over, and unicorns shit their rainbows across the sky. But realistically, is there such a thing? Is the dream of world peace too far fetched? Or can world peace mean something different?
So lets abandon our central term, first off. World peace has too many negative connotations and doesn’t quite accurately portray the goals included. So lets toss something more definable into the mix. how about Mutual Self-Interest?
Thats in interesting set of words. Self-interest implies a small portion of selfishness that cuts far short of greed or malice. By making it mutual, the self-interest is for the entire group, not just the one. Society in any species is spawned around groups of Mutual Self-Interest. Dolphins have pods, Wolfs have Packs, and Humans, in any situation, will group with like-minded individuals to create a system of Mutual Self-Interest.
This started with packs. Humanity exited Northern Africa and grouped into packs, finding that having many trumped having few. Then we settled down, built cities, built nations, and populated a world. In fact, in most species, behavioral evolution occurs far before physiological evolution, societies develop and regulate themselves as a course of behavioral evolution. And as Ecological Boundaries expand, it could be safe to say that humanity will regress to its older societal modes. That is: maybe what we need to enter into Mutual Self-Interest, as a planet, is to have something vast out in the distance. Something to make us stand next to a stranger and say, “I guess we have a lot to get done, now.”
In order for a species to develop a civilization that is advanced in a fashion that resembles humanity, the following conditions must be met.
- Rational Intelligence
The intelligence of a species must be such that it allows for an ability to deduct simple conclusions from relevant data. The most basic aspects of abstract thinking must be present.
- Social Structure
A species must both be willing to function in solitude and in herd. If a species is purely solitary, it cannot pass on its gained knowledge, and if a species relies on the herd too much, large leaps in growth are prohibited as tasks that are more efficient in solitude are performed in herd..
- Communication, Memory, and Oral Tradition
In addition to rational thinking, it is necessary for a species to pass on what is has learned to its offspring. Previously found knowledge must first be remembered in order to be built upon.
- Fine Tactile Manipulation
A species must be able to manipulate its environment instead of allowing its environment to manipulate it.
- Imperfect Evolution OR Extreme Change in Environment
Without reason to make the switch from adapting to changing an environment, a species will continue along its path. Creatures with near-perfect evolution (i.e sharks and horse-shoe crabs) don’t develop culture. Creatures that are imperfectly evolved, or are suddenly introduced to an environment that doesn’t suit their evolution, are then forced to manipulate their environment, possibly to an extent where civilization is created