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    Volume 6 Issue 4 | February 2, 2007 |

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Pax Mundi

Keith Gilbert

I have a confession to make. When I was in high school and making my way through the excellent public library, I soon began to believe that mankind was magnificent, and would accomplish equally magnificent things within my lifetime. But I soon learned that rather than working together to pool our knowledge and resources, we hoard instead. Because of this, one of my many dreams cannot be achieved. It had always seemed reasonable enough to me that someone like myself, born at the beginning of the "pax mundi," would be able to travel to other planets and solar systems. I always thought I would die off this world! Well, there never was a world peace. There never has been international cooperation for the sciences, because most people and most nations think only in terms of self-interest. Had such not been the case, I think we might have been able to achieve star travel.

Of course, we might consider that if there are other, more advanced races watching us, they would have to labour incessantly to keep us earth bound, preventing our selfish ways from polluting the rest of the galaxy. We do have greatness to offer, but in such limited quantities and such isolated instances, how could any observer see it. Our world society or culture is in deep entropy, and no one is willing to admit the problem, without which it cannot be addressed. Our world is filled with political starvation and political war. People in many countries are dying of starvation while their leaders make war and enrich themselves at their people's expense. Nigeria comes to mind. America comes to mind.

Why do we behave this way? Do we really need war and starvation and disease to control population? I think education and universal medicine might do better. Limited slots for medical schools. The reason for that is to ensure that supply will never meet demand. The prices stay up and doctors get rich. Now medical treatment is so expensive, only the rich can afford to get the best. Another example of class war. The great irony here is that the rich have had their privilege for so long that they don't see that their lives would not be possible without those who do the real work. Real work! The rich don't do real work, they live by manipulating those who do.

We have so far seen that no system of economics we have tried, actually works without compromise. To say that capitalism works best would be to ignore the faults of humankind that introduces them into the system. Does not capitalism encourage greed and selfishness, and ultimately hoarding? Does not socialism equally encourage sloth and disinterest? What is a good system? There are too many people on earth, too much pain and suffering to rely on anarchy. This situation will not correct itself!

People in our group should realise that we are the answer and not the young who have the passion but not the patience. We should not be seen as aging, but as "saging". We are just educated enough to offer some sage advice and behavior to help mankind. If I have not mentioned it before; were I not responsible for my daughter Leah, I would have been off to other parts of the world as a part of the Peace Corps to help where I could. I think service to others is the highest form of conduct. Society shows its opinion of this type of activity in making it the lowest paying sector of jobs worldwide. Good show! To the privileged, the rest of the society, on whose shoulders they stand, are mere commodities. They destroy their very basis of survival. It reminds me of the fable of the "Scorpion and the Frog." This fable has been told in many different ways around the world, but every society seems to have some version of the story.

There once was a frog sitting on one side of a wide, fast stream. As he was about to jump in and cross the stream, a scorpion came toward him yelling for him to wait.

"Wait, wait!" Yelled the scorpion.

Prudently, the frog hastened to move out of striking range. "Did you mean me?" The frog asked.

"Yes." Replied the scorpion. "I need to cross the stream." The scorpion then said. "Give me a ride."

The frog was at first surprised, then amused. "Give you a ride!" Said the frog. "Are you crazy?" "You will sting me, and then we will both die in the water!"

The scorpion just sat there looking equally amused.

"What?" said the frog.

The scorpion was slow to answer as though addressing an ignorant child. "Now think about this. You have given your own answer! If I did that I would also kill myself. Now why would I do that?"

The frog thought about this logic and agreed. He had allowed instinct to override logic. "How foolish a thought!" So the scorpion hopped on the frog's back and they made their way into the water.

Soon the scorpion said, "See, I told you there was nothing to worry about." Just after that, the scorpion stung the frog. As the frog felt himself fading, he shouted, "Why did you do that? Now we both shall die!"

The scorpion immediately replied, "No matter how hard I tried I could not resist, for it is in my nature."

The privileged will always prey upon the less privileged until they both die. Then chaos will reign. I have no answer for this. Education might help if most people wanted it, but they do not. It takes too long and our TV generation expects everything to be solved in an hour, two at most. Movies over two hours often fail because even heart stopping action cannot maintain the interest of some people for more than ninety minutes. What have we done? How have we allowed ourselves to fall so low? Our societies are so unequal that when things diminish, it will happen fast and spread around the world in weeks. No society will be able to withstand the collapse. Just another benefit of a global economy.

My great selfish wish is that my daughter Leah does not live to see this. In a few more years I will not be able to ensure her safety or well being in such a world. I do worry about that. In the meantime, I do my best and try to make it through each day.

The author writes from West Bloomfield, Michigan


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