I have to say, I really love Netflix. Every night we watch part of a movie from a seemingly infinite array of titles. The great thing about Netflix is I often choose movies I would otherwise never have watched simply because I watch so many of them, I can just stream it and choose something else if the movie turns out to be bad.
From these films, I’m exposed to many ideas that would not have popped into my head before. Tonight was no different.
The title we chose is not important. What caught my attention is that it was set in the 1960′s in America and there was a sign in a neighborhood yard that said “Support LBJ in Vietnam.”
Looking back, we all now know that Vietnam was a catastrophe and the USA was wrong to go there. Watching this movie however, put me in the frame of mind of the time and how unsophisticated I began to think those people were. They simply chose to support the war because they are American and their country told them to. There is nothing more complex about it then that.
Those people had never been to Vietnam, do not know the history, had very little understanding of the politics involved and most likely had never met a Vietnamese citizen. Yet, they are willing to support the killing of many people just because their country told them they should.
Fast forward to today, I began to ask myself “Has anything changed?” We now have the internet, can see video from across the world in real time and consider ourselves much more learned.
However, the answer I come to is that not much has changed at all. If we look at Iraq, a majority of America yet again supported a war in a place they know absolutely nothing about just because they were told to do so by their country. AND, that reason turned out to be false.
I then began to think about the various reasoning for wars and how it must have all made sense to people of various time periods. The Crusades, the many European wars, the conquest of America both North and South. In every case, human beings used logic and otherwise sound reasoning (of the time) to justify each and every single war. The scholars, the learned, would craft arguments about why others had to be killed and the majority of the population supported it.
We still do this today. We believe ourselves to be educated and that our reasoning is correct, but we have the same outcomes over and over again. It all boils down to “We must go kill those people for reasons x, y and z.”
I try to find one example where the reasoning must have been justified and the only one that even comes close is World War II. But then I have to stop myself because the Nazi party also had brains, they also had logic and reasons why they believed they should go kill others. The majority of the world condemns them but what they fail to ask is what they would have done if they had been German and listened to the Nazi speeches, would they have had the intelligence to realize that what they were doing was wrong.
I strongly believe that the majority of any population put in this situation would not. There are very few people in the world who can realize a wrong when the majority around them supports it.
This leads me to believe that as human beings we are not advanced, we are not civilized and we still not that different from animals. The only difference is that we are now able to craft what we believe to be intelligent arguments to hate others. We are able to convince ourselves that based on our logic we are just in our own hatreds.
How often have we asked ourselves, who do we not like, who would we not want to associate with and who do we hate. How many times do we ask ourselves why we feel this way? And how many times do we come to the conclusion that our hatreds are justified due to our reasoning?
I have come to the conclusion that in the course of evolution from Ape to intelligent, superior beings, we as a human race are only 30% of the way there.