Episode:Civilization—Human Government (Part 2)

From Symmetry of Soul

War is strong medicine, very costly and most dangerous; while often curative of certain social disorders, it sometimes kills the patient, destroys the society. War has had a certain evolutionary and selective value, but like slavery, it must sometime be abandoned as civilization slowly advances.

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Keywords: Urantia, War, Peace, Clans, Tribes

Note: Brad served an emcee for this episode, due to James' delayed arrival.

Summary by Kermit

Commentary on Review

We noted that in [70:1.15] the author of our paper points out that the atrocities committed by the Israelites upon the Midianites, “would have done honor to the mores of a tribal chieftain of two hundred thousand years ago.” This statement stands as a stark challenge for us to clarify our notions of morality vs. conformity to the mores. The encircuitment in the Holy Spirit, particularly the engagement with the moral discrimination (2nd cosmic intuition), awakens the sense of relative right and wrong in our minds. Further that this sense of right and wrong is to be applied to something grand, something bigger than one’s self. However, initially lacking refined specificity, this identification is with the mores, not the genuine morality of conformity with the cosmos. So when we are tempted to assess the morality of the actions of our predecessors or contemporaries we must be very mindful of the yardstick we use. Subjectively, allegiance to the mores will feel every bit as profound, grand and even virtuous as genuine conformity to the cosmic morality. Thus atrocities of war, even war itself must be viewed from the evolutionary perspective in keeping with the mores of the time and place in which they occur. It is by reflective thought and application of the creativity of personality that one can begin to discriminate between the mores of man and the legitimate morality of the cosmos. As mores have changed the conduct of war has changed. But what are we to make today of the apparent reversion to previously abandoned practices, such as the exemption of women from combat? This question led to a valuable exploration of the nature of the terms “equality” and “equity.”

70:2. The Social Value of War

The tension evoked by this section title is exposed in the first paragraph. The beneficial social changes and adoption of new ideas brought about by the fierce wars of past ages are paired with the extreme and most dangerous consequences of the strong medicine that is war. We talked about the use and significance of the word “value” as it is here attached to the idea of war, keeping in mind the distinction between that which IS value and that which HAS value. In this case, war is explained to HAVE value in its quickening of certain beneficial associative dynamics among humans. For example, the two world wars of the twentieth century were so destructive as to bring about profound changes in the way modern man views the resolution of conflict. These conflicts along with the collective emergence of the manifestation of the fifth adjutant (counsel), brought about the recognition of the need for concerted global efforts to establish more peaceful methods of resolving conflict between nations.

Our author cites five ways war has contributed social value to past civilizations:

  1. War imposed discipline and enforced cooperation.
  2. It put a premium on fortitude and courage.
  3. It fostered and solidified nationalism.
  4. It destroyed weak and unfit peoples.
  5. It dissolved the illusion of primitive equality and selectively stratified society.

Remember, the value of war highlighted here is social, involving associative phenomena. War is indispensible to early civilization in that it pushes man forward in the progression from tribe to nation status. Upon the attainment of nation status war rapidly becomes a negative influence on civilization. The revelators explain that it is now time for mankind to abandon war as civilization slowly advances. Those social benefits previously attained via war can now be had with far less danger through more peaceful means.

A gigantic struggle is now underway between nationalistic militarism and industrialism. This struggle is analogous to the struggle between the herder-hunter and the farmer. We are warned that if industrialism is to triumph over militarism, it must avoid the dangers which beset it. The author proceeds to enumerate six of these perils. They can be categorized in short as: spiritual blindness, value distortion, cultural immaturity, service insensitivity, biologic deterioration, and personality stagnation.

The social organization and benefits associated with war, once initiated become detrimental to more advanced stages of civilization. Industrialism should be instituted as to promote initiative and encourage a higher and more personalized individualism. Rather than glorifying or dismissing war, it should be seen for what it has contributed to society and more peaceful alternatives devised which will continue to advance civilization. Failing that will ensure the continuation of war.

We might ask ourselves, with all of the positive desires for peace today, why are we humans not more successful in moving away from these more primitive behaviors? Securing this desired peace requires more than the consecration of will. These rugged truths concerning war must be recognized, appreciated and wisely applied to present day conditions if we are to replace it with more enlightened and less destructive methods of conflict resolution. And this necessary wisdom is achieved through cultivation of the cosmic consciousness that comes with genuine philosophic striving.

Not only must man be convinced that peace is best for his material welfare, something generally recognized today, but society must also provide “...peaceful substitutes for the gratification of that inherent tendency periodically to let loose a collective drive designed to liberate those ever-accumulating emotions and energies belonging to the self-preservation reactions of the human species.”

The final paragraph suggests that war be honored for compelling arrogant individualists to submit themselves to a central authority and it’s associated benefit of the selection of “innately great men” as leaders. Modern war no longer provides this benefit, society is directed to find its leaders through the conquests of peace: industry, science and social achievement. The urge is to find a more cosmic individualism characterized by the presence and function of the creativity born of genuine personality activity.