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JLeslie's avatar

What will finally be the catalyst to peace in the world?

Asked by JLeslie (59780points) November 14th, 2015 from iPhone

Aside from a biblical Messianic Era from the coming of the Messiah? or aliens landing, what will bring on a great peace between countries and people?

The fantasy of the Star Trek United Earth where all human beings live in harmony is probably unattainable, but what if?

Does there have to be a catastrophe? A big bomb? Lots of death and war? Will world powers have to start taking over other less powerful countries and if we are lucky the ones in power are peaceful and allow freedom for the citizens? Or, will it eventually naturally evolve and it doesn’t have to happen through occupation and war? Will there be an effort to finally take care of poverty, and other major inequities, which will create a more harmonious circumstance?

What do you picture as being the eventual way we all live safely and reasonable happy lives? It doesn’t have to be any of the ideas I named. I’m more interested in a longer winded story of how you picture it coming to be.

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27 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

It won’t happen. We will cause the human race to go extinct before we ever progress that far.

dappled_leaves's avatar

The end of religion.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Wont ever happen there isn’t any money to be made in peace.
Big business would never let it happen.

jerv's avatar

I’m thinking that humanity won’t be that unified without some universal danger that transcends our cultural barriers. While it’s possible to get a relatively small group like a nation to coexist peacefully, that’s largely because there are survival benefits to overlooking minor differences.

But as the differences grow, it becomes harder and harder for people to see the benefits outweighing the difficulties of reaping them. At a certain point, cultures generally balk as they see the reforms necessary for that sort of unity as a threat to their cultural identity.

Right now, we have fifty small nations making up a federation called the United States and it takes a major tragedy to get all fifty very similar cultures to put a pause to the squabbling and act as one nation. With that being the case, one might imagine how much more it would take to unite even the most progressive of Muslim states with the Western world due to the vastly larger differences between the two cultures compared to the difference between a Texan and a Vermonter.

Natural disasters seem to work for a short while, but for lasting effect it would have to be at least a hundred times larger than anything we’ve seen yet. We’re talking a tidal wave that hits all the way inland to Las Vegas or a Force 9 hurricane/typhoon that just kills everyone in an area of many thousands of square miles. The sort of disaster I don’t see as being possible outside of a Hollywood blockbuster.

It is possible that an alien invasion that puts the whole of humanity on the defensive equally could do the trick, but that has it’s own problems, not the least of which being the odds of it happening.

Of course, there is one other way that unity could happen. See, much tension is the result of a scarcity of resources. For instance, we want oil from the Middle East, but the people who live there have a few objections to foreigners coming in and stealing their land and resources. And you can’t blame them; you’d probably be a little pissed if your neighbor wanted to chop down a tree in your yard, and possibly get a little violent if they just barged right into your yard and started sawing away. But if we lived in a post-scarcity world of abundant resources for all, we wouldn’t need their oil, they wouldn’t need our money, and your neighbor wouldn’t need to chop down the trees in your yard.

When we have universal access to enough energy, food, water, and physical space, then we’ll likely see no reason to fight each other, though the concerns over loss of cultural identity will take many generations after that to achieve something like the Star Trek Federation which has things like matter replicators and anti-matter reactors that brought about a post-scarcity economy.

ibstubro's avatar

The Earth is at peace.

Humans are at war.

funkdaddy's avatar

I think it would take something on the scale of what you mention. Aliens or some sort of proven omnipotent messiah.

Barring something that unfathomable, I think the Great Filter is the fact that the number of people that one person can kill continues to go up, and conceivably always will. We’re fragile.

Maybe I’m just not imaginative enough.

augustlan's avatar

If the human race survives long enough, I think time alone might do it. A LOT of time, mind you, but it seems to me that we evolve ever toward peace.

Similar to @jerv‘s last comments, if all people attain the bottom two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the rest might take care of itself.

Then again, maybe I’m just an optimist. ;)

JLeslie's avatar

@jerv Scarcity is a better thing to look at than poverty I think. A better term. Thanks for that. It reminds me of Singapore many many years ago providing shelter for everyone. The idea was if people have safe places to live in they can be more productive. Still today a large portion of Singapore’s housing is state subsidized or constructed or something that involves the government. I don’t know the details of it pertaining to the 21st century.

The big question is, are people productive when basic needs are provided? What’s the cultural difference between a society that is socialized so completely and is productive and one that isn’t. Usually, it doesn’t work. That society either stifles invention and productivity, loses it’s best people who seek freedom or more monetary reward, or both, bankrupts itself, or if the government isn’t lead and managed well it’s just a mess altogether.

Haleth's avatar

I agree with @augustlan. If you look at the most peaceful places on earth today (Scandinavia is a good example), there is a generally high standard of living. People have plenty of access to basic needs like food and shelter, there is a robust education system, and the economy combines some elements of free market and planned economy with checks on both.

The U.S. is years behind Scandinavia in many crucial areas, and in other parts of the world people are struggling to find food, shelter, and water. The majority of the world does not even have the first step of Maslow’s pyramid.

JLeslie's avatar

Does Scandinavia have the amount of immigration per capita that countries like America have?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I think there is a mindset of “peace” that is slowly spreading. It’s those last holdouts, mainly the religious fringe, that refuse to accept that it CAN be a way of life.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Haleth I’m going to post a question about that, if you don’t mind.

tinyfaery's avatar

When humans are extinct.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@tinyfaery I fear you are most correct, because no matter how hard we try and live peacefully together, someone aint going to be happy and will always try and stir up shit.
So you are right when there are no humans left,then maybe peace will reign.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, if there are animals left, then peace still won’t reign. They’ll still be fighting and killing, but just within their own sphere.

tinyfaery's avatar

Killing for protection and food is not war, it’s survival. Not the same thing.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery it is the same thing, only at a higher operating level. The reasons animals fight are the same reasons we fight, just in a more “refined” manner.

tinyfaery's avatar

No. Animals don’t wage war.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Well @tinyfaery they do tend to fight to declare (top dog) so to speak.

Coloma's avatar

Actually animals do wage war, just not with the human ego component involved, only to secure their survival, safety and gene pool. Lions wage war on Hyenas, their number one adversary and many species will kill the offspring of rival males that have bred their females. Humans are the only species with a need for greed, power, control and coupled with the egos incessant need to be “right”, well…it’s why the odds are high that we will exterminate ourselves long before humans become enlightened. I also agree with Maslows hierarchy of needs pyramid.

One must have their base needs met before their minds are free to contemplate more psychological/philosophical and spiritual growth.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@tinyfaery a “war” requires higher levels of thinking. It requires understanding the future, the “What if.” That’s the only difference between humans and animals, but the reasons we fight are all the same.

I liked @Coloma‘s comment that they don’t have the “human ego component.” However, the males, especially, have that same drive to dominate that human males have. I guess it’s called “ego” in humans, but again, it stems from the same basic urges.

ibstubro's avatar

Animals fight physically to maintain the best health of the species.

Humans wage war physically, mentally and emotionally for the dominance of ideas. War is born of religion and politics, things animals seem to have no concept of. I can’t imagine a mentally ill animal leading a large number of like animals into an attack on a like group of animals. And yet, that appears to be fairly common among humans.

Humans have gone way beyond survival of species in raising conflict. We wage war for maniacal aggrandizement of individuals and ideas, political and religious.

Honestly, I don’t think humans have the tools to achieve world peace at this time, and I doubt they ever will.

funkdaddy's avatar

Chimpanzees wage war for territory. They lead attacks, they attack specifically to eliminate the offspring of the other side.

Nature isn’t peaceful.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Yes but nature is survival of fittest, but humans we fight over ideals or just plain greed.

funkdaddy's avatar

Look, I’m not “pro-war” and I’d rather be saying peace is right around the corner, but I don’t think that’s the truth.

We seem to be defining “peace” as “the absence of war” and asking what it will take to be peaceful. Several people are of the opinion that only humans wage war, and without us there would be peace.

If that’s what we’re looking at, I can’t think of a single social species that doesn’t fight within it’s own population. Ants fight, bees fight, even dolphins are violent by nature. The only difference between those fights and war is the scale, right?

Would angry chimps send cruise missiles rather than marching over and mobbing the weakest member of the opposing tribe. Which is really a larger moral hurdle?

As long as there is one person willing to fight, to be peaceful we need to be either consciously passive or somehow impervious. As long as there are people searching for anything; needs, wants, acceptance, safety, or meaning, the impetus for that one person to be violent is there. So unless we find a way to be completely impervious to that, we have to be consciously passive, which isn’t alway possible.

Or TL;DR – To be peaceful, we’d have to fight our nature, not revert to it.

ibstubro's avatar

“Which is really a larger moral hurdle?”

Obviously, cruise missiles, @funkdaddy, because as far as we know humans are the only animals with a developed moral sense.

funkdaddy's avatar

I feel like I’m arguing specific sentences that, together, are trying to pull together a broader point. But in hopes of clarifying:

I’d say morals at a basic level are revealed by changing your behavior to favor a greater goal. Whether that’s good for your group, good on a longer time frame, or just the absence of evil and malice. Primates definitely have morals. They teach and learn behavior and punish those that break with expected behavior. That’s a moral code.

I’m not sure I understand your point. Are you saying it’s harder for a moral individual to launch a missile than it is to single out the weakest peer and beat them to death?

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