But -just perhaps- there is an ever more important, far larger point contained herein; coming alongside the ‘Do no harm’ and other whatnots: Never follow along blindly (with blind being the key word there, in meaning that unabashed anarchy simply for anarchy’s sake is a grave danger purely by itself) – not with anything, nor so much as for anyone. Always evaluate and reevaluate something for yourself; ascertain whether everything conceivable makes sense to you, for you.
To quite simply “do as you are told” – be that following along because “that’s how things have always been and, gosh darn it, they just work!” or else being told that things are just *that* way and expected to take such determinations by others at face value.
Mind you, it isn’t simply desirable to live according to such notions – but indeed, the road to the very absolute worst of all atrocities ever committed by men were paved in precisely these practices. Perversely, we are told not to “follow blindly like sheep,” but those who question too much or divert too dramatically get labelled as societal outcasts or routinely mocked and derided for their uniqueness.
Just the same, ours is the first generation to truly live such personally independent values rooted in equality through and through (by and large, at least). All prior generations of mankind preceding modern times? Each had its own set of blindly followed rules… “Thems just the way things are, bucko! Can’t fight City Hall, and all that jazz!”
Yet again, our progress by advancement has genuinely freed us… making ours an unprecedented generation: Humanity at its most significant crossroads of all time, for all time. Between our independent thinking, cultural values instilled by (hopefully) living free in a democracy, vast personal educations, witnessing the most amazing blessings critical thought and the scientific method have rewarded us all with (and the staggering harm unleashed throughout various “Dark Ages” that had as their defining characteristic the opposition of such ideals), and, perhaps most important of all, the Internet.
Why the good ol’ Interwebz, you might be asking? Cesspool it often admittedly is, filled with XXX galore, fire breathing trolls and more? Because for those of us who have grown up with it, it has offered one critically important thing to us all: Take nothing at face value. Question everything. The truth… is out there! (Cue the eerie music, maestro!)
Suddenly, we exist in a world where we don’t have to merely sit back and accept, “Just trust me on this, I know what I’m talking about!” Oh, no! Rather, we now Google everything! We have a question about anything? Then we seek out the answers for ourselves, acquiring and compiling the facts to arrive at our desired solutions… regardless of what that might mean.
If we doubt something we’ve been told by others, no longer are we without any recourse – given no one else to turn to and have our inquiries properly satisfied. Instead, we Google it and rely on the accumulated knowledge of all mankind; if some uncertainty or vagueness yet remains, where conflicting answers might exist? We simply go with what makes sense to us, and that which the vast majority can reasonably be said to indicate. Of course an absolute reliance using such means is fraught with its own dangers, so we must always strive to independently evaluate those things we do discover online. By and large, however, the Internet has provided our era with far more blessings than curses.
But far and away the most important aspect of all hereabouts? The overwhelming embracing of the self that our present generation enjoys; of focusing on practices of critical thinking and that very same sort of independent evaluation. There might well yet be some who would decry such principles – that this independence is a recipe for chaotic anarchy and mob rule. Listen not to such harsh words, for theirs is instead the only surefire cocktail for disaster here.
Never –EVER– doubt or be told to think that such traits are a net negative or detrimental in any conceivable way… for they are most certainly not! Those who would seek people who possess those sorts of traits or adhere to such notions most likely have their own machinations in mind, and they are ones that only benefit the scheming manipulators and autocratic madmen of this world. Only in a land where the population is forced to bend to the will and orchestration of others could things such as the Holocaust occur. In other words, mercifully such atrocities as the Nazis once brought forth shall never again take place so long as the people of this Earth remain critically independent and free thinking sorts.
Little wonder, then, that the insipid horrors of ISIS just now take place under dark and evil souls who decree theirs is the one true way, and all their fanatical faithful must follow their every last word to the letter!
There’s actually an interesting little quirk in the field of political science that speaks to this, something I feel is well worth another (not so brief) aside: The theory of the democratic peace.
Long story short? Save for but a handful of extreme abnormalities (and many of which involve nations that are arguably not even ‘true’ democracies), no two genuinely democratic peoples have ever gone directly to war with one another! Despite the exceptional -overwhelming, even- prevalence of democracy this past century? All wars have involved at least one side out of the two that was not democratic in their form of governance.
When you stop and think about the fantastical number of nations that have converted to democracy of late, then furthermore the fact we’re looking at a good century or so worth of time, this is simply a most astounding reality… that wars just don’t involve pure democracies – not ever! Or, said differently, that a world filled only with democracies equals a world largely without any warfare whatsoever!
Yet… stop and ruminate for a moment on the troubled spots of this globe, and you might quickly realize the great legitimacy of this idea. Where are the remaining problem areas in our world? Hmm.. Africa? North Korea? The Middle East?! And where does peace largely reign supreme? Europe? The Americas – North and South both?
And what’s the additional factor at play here, with those regions? Sure, economic realities are one thing… except! South and Central America aren’t exactly all that well to do, but a peace has existed there too in recent decades. But what they have – and what the worst nightmare hotspot that is the Middle East most certainly lacks – is democracy. The singular biggest threat to this world today? ISIL. And what are they, if not the most undemocratic of hellspawns imaginable?
As to the why this democratic peace exists as it does? Two reasons: First, the general public never much likes going to war, seeing as how it is their lives put on the line in combat, their ways of life most disrupted by conflict, and their economies and financial realities that bear the full brunt whilst those elitist decision makers live in the lap of luxury itself.
Secondary to this, however, comes the irrefutable fact that a land filled only with blind followers is also a place capable of irrational/illogical horrors and atrocities; that the core values of independence and free thinking that all truly democratic societies must possess are inherently supportive of the purest positives: Peace, understanding and compromise.
When we all realize that we are indeed equal as men and women, that also brings with it a unique reality wherein we are far more willing to engage in a game of “give and take” that finds us entering into dialogue, discourse and, ultimately, compromising with those we might be on roads to conflict with. As soon as you comprehend that you as a person haven’t any greater right to some various thing than anyone else on this Earth, you’re much more able to sacrifice and yield in compromise – realizing that the other party also shares just as much right to the source of your conflict, and that the optimal outcome to your argument entails spreading out the burdens and losses just as much as sharing in the plunder/gains.
All the more, however, living independent and free knowing that every last word spoken by those leaders and “elites” mustn’t necessarily always be followed til the ends of the Earth? We don’t end up blindly following the irrationalities of a handful because, well, “that’s just how it is… they simply know better than we mere peasants and hopeless vagrants.”
Heresy! The life of every single last man or woman on this Earth is worth precisely as much as any other. All our words hold equal value and weight, and so none of us have more of a right to anything than any other person breathing air presently does. It is these same principles that contribute to rationality and peacefulness – and blind sheepishness leading only to the nightmarish world of warfare and endless conflict.
So when someone -anyone- tells you to simply “follow along… because that’s just the way things have always gone!” Respond by telling *them* to look at history – look at the state of the world in free thinking societies of democracies, and then comparing now to all of human history. War after war, conflict after never ending conflict! All too often, so-called “civilized” nations were engaged in more than one war at once! So riddled were they with conflict, they couldn’t even choose just a single foe or war to be embroiled in at any given moment… oh, no! Why be forced to have to choose between them, when one might instead have endless wars – ones fought on countless fronts, by many different sides!
Maybe two bitter foes would tire after a few decades at bloody war with one another… entering into a period of peace – although temporary it most certainly always proved to be. Before long -perhaps a mere handful of years or decades, at the very best- they’d be right back at things all over again… no less, even taking the opportunity to bestow the renewal of their hostilities with a shiny, brand new name – distinguishing it from that “old” war: Although quite ridiculously, in this sense “old” might have only signified a time recent enough to find the smoke from cannon and musket fire yet lingering on their (not so very) “ancient” battlefields!
This was the reality our own various ancestors were faced with, one and all – and most especially those who hailed from Western Europe! The lands of France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Germany and surrounding territories found perpetual warfare, fighting with one another: Time. After. Time – War. After. War. Seas of crimson blood continually being spilled, all the while those decision making elites who created the conflict invariably sat safe from harm’s way – hopeless cases that they were, aloof and out of touch, just as all such elites who were fed from platinum plated spoons whilst wee toddlers always are.
As empires continually fell back in those days of yore -much like dominos, each dropping one-by-one in some unending chain- still more tinpot dictators in the same exact mold (perversely claiming theirs was the way of immaculate royalty) rose up from the ashes. The string of conflict carried on incessantly and unabated, all the way up to the still recent memory of contemporary times… after many thousands of years -dating back to long before those countries even had any names for themselves, or were merely nations at all!- only ending upon the fall of the Nazi and Axis powers back in the middle part of 1945.
However much many might claim that it was World War 2’s horrors, the new realities of the era of nuclear weaponry… even the benefit brought with international diplomacy by an unprecedented uniting of nations -the United Nations, that is- the reality is instead that ‘they’ all said much the same things after the first World War concluded with the Treaty of Versailles in 1918…
“Such horrors found in the trenches that never again shall we descend into any such terrible war! The exponential worsening of military technologies -battles newly fought with chemical and biological weapons, automated machine guns capable of horrifically slaughtering countless hundreds of souls per minute, along with missiles, aircraft fighters, tanks, massive bomb munitions and more… tens of millions of fine young soldiers whose lives were one and all forever lost to our world! Ruins and devastation being all that remains… even for the so-called victors! Always remember, never forget – never, ever again!!! Oh, and btw? League of Nations 4 EVAH!!!!”
Yeah, well… things didn’t exactly pan out that way now, did they? Because then… suddenly, only a brief short time later, that same horrible war couldn’t even be known any longer as just ‘THE Great War‘ – oh, no! But rather, only as the First such World War!
So let us then never kid ourselves here: The relative peace that has descended on this world in recent times owes itself directly to the very nature of democracies fostering humans that are rational and free beings, each of us now logical and critical thinking who live with precepts of equality and independence at their cores. The reasons why peace emerged from out of the ashes of the defeated Axis Powers… in actuality, having exceedingly little to do with our world suddenly possessing ever worse weapons or improved mechanisms for dialogue and mediation – but instead, the fact that democracies mercifully replaced ancient empires.
For, quite unlike what was the case with the aftermath of that first (not-so) Great War, WW2 permanently decimated those many former colonial powers on both sides – regimes whose reach was simply no longer what it once was, and who ultimately collapsed as one… even including those who didn’t lose in the war itself. Suddenly gone were those various global imperial powers headed by autocratic despots and (arguably) outright lunatics – in their place came the great shining beacon of governance: democracy for all! And so, subsequently that greatest of democratic peaces this world essentially has known ever since.
Just as with so much else in life, however, and as regrettably is the case we find more times than not… the very best and greatest of dreams can only ever be born from those very worst and most terrible of all waking nightmares – it seemingly requiring a truly horrific cost paid in misery and bloodshed in order to attain the polar opposite: Turning such negativity into incredible positive realities. So too, unfortunately, had to happen here – with World War 2 and the unimaginable, unconscionable evils unleashed during a Holocaust carried out by the absolute closest thing to literal demons our world will (hopefully) ever have to suffer walking amongst us on this Earth.
All the same, we are also now interconnected together quite unlike anything that’s ever existed before – linked at the very speed of light itself, no less! – forcing walls raised by national and societal borders to fall one by one… felled before the greatness of the Internet. That, coming along with all sorts of various other communicative technologies that foster atmospheres of mutual understanding and harmonious global development.
Today, many of those principles that also might be said to come alongside our considerable (and, of late, increasingly widespread) educations all are advancing us ever onward -the assorted tenets of reason, rationality and science; wherein irrefutable and tangible proof exists in the form of those countless rewards ushered in as technologies, whilst in turn the dangers fraught in olden days equally get exposed ever more, quickly left to fall by the wayside before the sheer might of marvelous modernity; as those few lasting pockets of lingering darkness in this world are rapidly eradicated, all but rendered entirely extinct by the shining beacon that is our great contemporary world.
When all these things are combined together just so, we find that it is our own generation (and, seeing as how all of this is coming for the very first time -ever- it is indeed ours *alone!* to enjoy as such) that’s been presented with the most unprecedented of opportunities: To usher in the first genuine era of peace on Earth. Meaning, in other words, an age with peace *for* this entire Earth. Never again shall our children, nor their children after them (or, for that matter, any other man, woman or child) be forced to endure the horrors that man can sometimes be capable of committing; having to witness as the utter irrationality of the few ultimately begets devastation and death for the many, as those most terrible horns of war yet again get blown to make men take up arms… no less, for reasons they all too often don’t even know what for!
Such are the (innumerable) dangers of blindly following others like the merest of simple sheep; of those being told to “shut up and do as you’re told,” just because that’s “how things are… precisely as they’ve always been!” Peace might come only by way of reason, with discourse, parlay and games of give and take, back and forth; solely in a world brought together by a shared understanding of one another and harboring mutual respect *for* each other – with universal equality and freedom for all… no matter who, where, when or what they might be!
Let us then take absolutely nothing strictly at face value, left to question everything… never kneeling before or made to cower for anyone; live a life devoted to free thought, equal worth and a quite distinctive flair for independence -living to our very cores an unflinching individuality and uniqueness, things we also celebrate everyday in everyone around us: Cheering the eccentricities and oft times oddities in us all.