Happy Song Sunday! Today we have a song from VNV Nation titled “Testament.”

A few lines from this song bring up what seems to be a recurring theme in religion, that humans are inherently sinful, wicked, or evil. (Not all religions, mind you. Buddhism, for example, says that we are perfect at birth but the world around us makes us wicked.) Even science tells us that, as we have parts of our brains that are remnants of our reptilian ancestry, we have the capacity for aggression.

“We conquer paradise just to burn it to the ground”

This reminds me of another quote: “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.” (From Jack Handey.) Or think of the movie Avatar, or Pocahontas (both movies having the same storyline). The sad thing is, I could also picture this situation.

“We bring destruction, we bring war without an end”

While animals have been slaughtering one another since time immemorial, humans might be the first species that has the ability to destroy the planet, too. Elephants might be able to trample small trees, but they do not seem to have the desire or inclination to.

Why are we like this? Why do we have to continuously fight one another?

It is difficult to tell whether we are all inclined to be violent, or if it is power that corrupts. It is difficult to tell whether what drives us to commit bad acts is desperation, or a thirst for (more) power.

Looking at countries like Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway, it appears that if you have what you need there is not a drive to acquire more. But are these countries free of desperation, or lacking the power necessary to acquire more? The United States, arguably, has what it needs. All it has to do is trade, and that does not require war. Why then are we at war? Are we a global “peacekeeper” because we want to make the world a better place, or because we want to increase our influence? North Korea does not have what it needs. (Although perhaps it might if it didn’t spend all its money on its nuclear program.) Is this why North Korea is militant? Or does it have just enough, when resources are focused in certain areas, to practically increase its power?

And then we come into the realm of nature vs. nurture. Though it is very likely that it is a combination of the two that dictates who we are, is one more dominant? And if so, do those who are desperate steal or kill because they are biologically wired to, or because they have been brought up to think doing so is okay? Is it in our genes to abuse power, or do phrases like “what do all men with power want? more power” (The Oracle from The Matrix) become self-fulfilling prophecies?

Lots of questions, and no answers from me. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer these questions, lol. But I am interested in what you guys think. If you have opinions on any of these questions, leave a comment!

~peace, RR

I welcome comments and suggestions. Comments can go below, suggestions to radiantreason[at]gmail[dot]com 🙂