General Question

lloydbird's avatar

What do you think are the obstacles that yet have to be gotten over before 'World Peace' finally arrives?

Asked by lloydbird (8730points) June 27th, 2009

The majority want it, but its still not here. It must be close now,especially if better communication is one of it’s prerequisites.

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29 Answers

janbb's avatar

Oh lordy! Too many to think about, but I guess human nature is the biggest one.

Jeruba's avatar

Human nature. My answer before I saw janbb’s, and I heartily agree.

I think the majority want others to accommodate them, but they don’t want to extend themselves very far. “Compromise” usually means “do it my way.”

On the matter of communication, “more” does not mean “better.” In my workplace, for example, we have way too much communication, but people don’t know how to improve its quality.

tinyfaery's avatar

1. The idea that we are seperated by race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, that we a seperate at all. We are humanity.

2. The need for power and possessions as a way of distinguishing and seperating oneself from others.

The realization that everything is connected, and a knowledge that what we do affects everything and everyone; that is how we are all uniquely important.

Understanding that we must live for today; heaven should be here and now. The idea of forgiveness and an ultimate reward IMO makes people wait for an uncertain tomorrow, and believe that their current actions will be wiped clean. That leads to irresponsibity.

ragingloli's avatar

poverty, hunger, bleak outlooks, religion. and yes, human nature.

DrBill's avatar

Invent Gort, from “The day the Earth stood still”

whatthefluther's avatar

Greed, hatred, bigotry, unwavering nationalism and religion on the “human” nature part of the equation. Unfortunately, I don’t see those going away, any time too soon. If somehow we could do away with borders, biases and greed, there might be a chance at it, but it probably also require “spreading the wealth” throughout the world (probably a form of socialism) and everyone doing away with threatening weapons of mass destruction. .

lloydbird's avatar

@janbb @Jeruba @ragingloli Human nature seems to have a pretty bad rap. Are you sure that its that bad?

juwhite1's avatar

Political maneuvering.

janbb's avatar

Like Anne Frank, I still believe that most people are good at heart, but I do believe that there is a mob or herd mentality that allows people in groups to do hateful things to others. I believe this “us” and “themness” seems to be endemic or innate because it is seen throughout history and I don’t know how it can be overcome.

Jeruba's avatar

@lloydbird, I am not saying it’s bad at all. I am only saying I think it’s the chief obstacle.

It’s human nature to practice tribalism (“us” and “them” in all its forms). It’s human nature to defend one’s own. It’s human nature to consider others as rivals in some sense. It’s human nature to strive for survival on the best possible terms. These are also things that bring us into conflict with our neighbors. We want clean water coming into our village, and we don’t mind pissing into the river whether our downstream neighbors like it or not.

Jayne's avatar

I suppose a nice alien invasion would make us pull together nicely. Failing that, however, maximum short-term profit lies in the direction of warfare; not, of course, that this explains all or most human hostility. The tendency to find scapegoats is another important factor.

YARNLADY's avatar

Only one, really – get rid of all irrational behavior.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY, there is plenty of irrational behavior that serves a purpose. Creating art is one. Art does not sustain us, feed us, shelter us, or help us procreate. Art is taking resources and turning them into something we can neither eat nor use to build a house. It is based on an abstract known as beauty. Animals do not create art, only humans do. And once again, we come back to human nature. We like to have beautiful things around us, but they serve no real purpose. Can you imagine a world without art? I can’t.

World peace is pretty much an impossibility, knowing what we know about ourselves, the human race.

YARNLADY's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra Why would you say creating art is irrational? Creativity is not in and of itself, irrational.

AstroChuck's avatar

Human extinction.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jeruba With respect, you are saying that ‘Human Nature’ is bad. You have proffered it as an “obstacle’ and therefore as deleterious to the desired outcome in this instance ie ‘World Peace’. When you say “It’s human nature to practice tribalism(“us” and “them” in all its forms).”, what if there was greater knowledge of and acceptance of the ‘Greater Us’ which negates the notion of a “them” entirely. You argue that “It’s human nature to defend one’s own”., well again, what if “one’s own” was better understood as ‘All’. “It’s human nature to consider others as rivals in some sense.”, well only in a generally competitive setting. Also you say “It’s human nature to strive for survival on the best possible terms.”, what if it was better known that the best possible terms for survival are to focus on the welfare of others, because they will then be focussing on your welfare.

YARNLADY's avatar

@AstroChuck So you’re saying that without humans the Lions will stop killing the Antelope, the wolves will stop killing the Elk, and the Fire Ants will stop killing everything that gets in their path?

Jeruba's avatar

@lloydbird, with equal respect, no, I am not saying it is bad.

You are saying (a) that the notion that world peace is good is a given, not subject to question, and (b) that therefore any obstacle to world peace is bad. You are free to say that, but please do not ascribe it to me. I may or may not agree with you, but I did not make those statements.

I am not making such value judgments to begin with, and I also do not accept that any Obstacle X between oneself and Good Thing Y is necessarily bad.
— Sometimes a good thing can stand in the way of a good thing (your house is beautiful, but it blocks my view).
— Sometimes an obstacle can be overcome (I can’t get the job I want without a degree, but I can earn the degree).
— Sometimes an obstacle can be turned into an advantage (because of the down market, I can’t sell my house this year, but I can spend time working on it, and it’ll be worth more when I do sell it).

Your “what ifs” seem to me to fall under the heading of overcoming obstacles. Perfectly fine. I’m not arguing with you. I am just suggesting that your assumptions clouded your ability to distinguish between what I asserted and what you attributed to me.

jazzjeppe's avatar

Greed, the source of everything bad…

lloydbird's avatar

@Jeruba With now even greater respect, the notion that ‘World Peace’ might not be a given is something that I have not considered before and I offer you my thanks for bringing it to my attention.However,the possibility that you or anyone else might actually believe that is something that I would need to be further convinced about.
I’m pleased that you find my “what ifs” to be “perfectly fine” but am unsure as to how they “fall under the heading of overcoming obstacles”. Apologies for any “clouded ” assumptions on my part.Perhaps you would care to to lift them.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY, from the point of view of survival, such as food gathering, seeking shelter, providing for the safety and well-being of one’s family and kinfolk, art is irrational. It serves no direct purpose to keeping one alive. Creativity has some survival uses, if we use creativity to create a new way of preparing food or building a house, but to make a pretty picture of flowers to hang on the wall with resources that could easily go towards something more substantial is in itself, irrational.

We can live with art and we can live without it, which proves that it is not something we need to survive and to produce and provide for our offspring.

Jeruba's avatar

@lloydbird, I am not taking a position on the goodness of world peace. I am only saying that asserting that it is good is making a value judgment. Asserting that anything that stands in the way of it is bad is illogical. Both of those represent assumptions. You did not identify your assumptions as assumptions. You can’t just start your line of reasoning any old place in the middle of a set of unstated assumptions and expect to reach a sound conclusion. Nor can you go around imposing that illogic on others and expecting them to buy into it.

I’ll try to restate your “what ifs” in a way that shows them as potentially removing obstacles in the way that I proposed.

What if there was greater knowledge of and acceptance of the ‘Greater Us’ which negates the notion of a “them” entirely. —> Teach people to expand their definition of “us” to include everyone, and tribalism is no longer an obstacle.

What if “one’s own” was better understood as ‘All’. —> Show people how their interests are intertwined, and they will see that unity works to their benefit.

“It’s human nature to consider others as rivals in some sense.”, well only in a generally competitive setting. —> Make sure that there are ample resources for all, and no one will feel the need to benefit at another’s expense.

What if it was better known that the best possible terms for survival are to focus on the welfare of others, because they will then be focusing on your welfare. —> Foster the understanding that when we all learn to care for one another, everyone is cared for.

Again, I am not stating those as beliefs that I do or not not subscribe to. I am explaining why I said that your arguments seem to me to be a “removing the obstacle” response by redefining “I, mine, us, and ours” and thus mitigating the self-seeking aspect of human nature

I don’t know that I can explain any further without simply repeating myself.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

The extinction of humanity. As long as there are people, there will be disputes, and people who escalate their disputes unnecessarily causing conflicts.

YARNLADY's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra To my way of thinking, when the basic necessities take up all the available time, then it might be considered irrational, but that is rare. Even in the hard life of prehistoric people, they found time to create art. Most of the irrational behavior that keeps people from peace in our world is sefl-destructive, or uncivilized (destroying others)behavior.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@YARNLADY point taken, but not all irrational behavior is destructive. Maybe you should have stated it as xenophobic, ethnocentric, or antisocial behavior. A lot of humans are pretty damn xenophobic.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jeruba I’m back! Sorry,sleep and the duties of the day interrupted the proceedings.
Now then, in reply to your last response – The initial question of this thread did invite you, and anyone who would care to, to ”...take a position” (albeit an implied invitation) on the ‘Goodness/Desirability’ or otherwise of the idea of ‘World Peace’, as generally understood. I wonder what your position would be on this matter. Apart that is from ascribing the absence of it to “Human Nature”.

OK, so my saying that it (W.P) is ‘Good’ is a “value judgement”, how is that unfair in this instance? I assume that most people would want it,but I am willing to be persuaded otherwise. Assuming that ‘World Peace’ would, by definition , be a ‘good’ thing, how can the assumption that anything that stands in its way be ‘bad’ be “illogical”?

The Historical concept of ‘World Peace’ is very widely known, as I’m sure you would agree and hence wouldn’t need an accompanying explanatory list for the benefits of this discussion here. This being so, I think that it is a fairly safe topic on which to begin a line of reasoning about from ”...any old place in the middle of a set of unstated assumptions”,and I think that I and most people would be able to ”...reach a sound conclusion”. (There I go assuming again!)

I very much like your restatements and elucidations of my “what ifs”. They are excellent distillations of the ideas that I alluded to. However, I am curious as to whether they are beliefs that you would subscribe to, since you offer no opinion either way.

True,my arguments are a “removing the obstacles” stance, and perhaps a call for a redefining of “I, mine, us and ours”, well said on your part.

Your last line “I don’t know that I can explain any further without simply repeating myself” seems to me to be a bit of a conversation killer, if you don’t mind my saying so, and somewhat beneath a person of your obvious intelligence and erudition.But mabe I’m reading too much into it.

Jeruba's avatar

Sorry, @lloydbird, not taking the bait. Your post does not ask anything that I haven’t already answered insofar as I choose to answer.

lloydbird's avatar

@Jeruba Didn’t realise that I was fishing. Just thought that I was in a discussion. But if that is your position….

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