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Is war a necessity or something that should be avoided at all cost?

War can be an unpleasant experience but sometimes it seems like it is tool which can be used to bring about peace. In the same way it can be a tool used for tyranny and greed. Is it a good thing for people to desire eternal unquestionable peace or is war a means of bringing about that peace?


    It teaches you the culture of having and using weapon as a solution to the problem. It continues to kill as long as the culture of weapon remains.

    How difficult is to overcome the culture of having and using weapon; please ask citizens of Afghanistan.

    We are thirsty for peace. We are thirsty for learning. Let’s debate for any problem.

    It worth’s to emphasis again that; YOU HAVE LOST IT EVEN IF YOU HAVE WON THE WAR.
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      • Jul 23 2011: In addition, WAR harms human mind which weakens human logic and continues to some generations.
      • Jul 24 2011: To sum up my comments, change your enemies to friends with love, generosity & debate. You give it if they don’t have, because we are all complementary for each other.
        • Jul 24 2011: For those who have accepted war as part of the inevitable path of human existence, you are a welcome site, my friend. Every war needs casualties and it's good to know that you are willing to do your part. In fact, if we could get all those who are trying to change the world with love and generosity in a big circle here, we can get this over nice and quick.

          I say this, not because I support war and not because it represents how I feel, but rather it represents the logical notion that while war can exist with some portion of our species hoping that it doesn't, peace cannot exist with even the smallest portion of our species wishing that it did. Once we learned that war could happen, it became a part of our existence and has persisted since. When you are child and someone takes your toy, the first time you punch the aggressor and get your toy back is the last time that you will sit idly back and let your toys be taken from you. Learn the lesson that war has benefits only once in the history of humanity and forever forward, it will at least be an option.

          And the thing is that the group of crying children without toys have little respect from those who successfully defended their own toys and they have little impact on the folks who took their toys.

          While I admire your message and I relate whole-heartedly to the notion that even in winning the war, you have lost, I feel compelled to hold my toys tight and say, with all the love I can muster: "I'm glad it's you, not me". I have accepted war, like it or not, and while I will be glad to share my toys with just about anyone, have no doubt that they are mine and that I am willing to go to war over them.

          With love and respect, in the sake of discussion, jase
      • Jul 28 2011: Thank you for your comment and sorry for responding late Jason.

        (1). WHEN I SAY NO WAR it means that, the child should not take away something thru WAR either. Just ask for that (debate). I hope it is clear now.

        2. “With respect, I totally do not agree, this “an option” that you say, opens the door for that child to take away the toy with WAR & and the affected child will use this human killing “option” in an even worse way. . Further, it effects so many other children in the house, parents, neigbooors, .......... . NOW THE OTHER CHILDREN/MEMBERS USE YOUR OPTION BECAUSE THEY WERE INNOCENT., IT KEEPS GOING ................................. .

        3. you said “I feel compelled to hold my toys tight and say, with all the love I can muster: "I'm glad it's you, not me".

        I say: you are true, because I have seen WAR NOT YOU.
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    Jul 20 2011: There have been a number of statements that war is part of human nature. There is no clear evidence of this. There is no evidence of war or inequality in the first 90% of human existence on this planet. The human brain is plastic, it adapts to experience and conditions. Epigenetics indicates that genes are not automatic influences but are activated by current conditions. How we evolve is up to us. We have developed habits and systems of war. We can change these habits when we fully realize the true costs and allow our natural capacity for empathy to emerge. If compassion was cultivated in the same way math and writing skills are, war would end.
    • Jul 20 2011: Bob, where is the evidence to prove otherwise? Also, how does the evidence hold against population growth and resource scarceness?

      In Guns, Germs and Steel Jared Diamond puts forth the case that humanity made a big development leap 50,000 years as tools and art started appearing in Eurasia, this after 4 million years of wondering what to do with our own species. Once the big leap occurred the expansion of humans started all over the place. Apparently wherever we appeared, we consumed resources and caused mass extinctions of mammals. Long story short, the more we grew in population the more resources we consumed and the more complex our societies became. This dynamic invariably led to conflict and those with more technological advantages prevailed. This makes a compelling case for humanity evolving by adapting to experience and conditions and war takes a central role, but so does technology and even biology.

      So, what's my point? My point is that we are what we are today because of this long line of intertwined events that happen to include many things, war among one of them. Is war part of our nature? I don't know, but I do know that it is a part of our existence, we don't need to embrace it, but we do need to understand that it is part of our world. Finally, no one really has a good understanding of the origin of our species and our nature, they all have good theories... We can demonstrate incredible compassion and incredible viciousness depending on our external and internal influences.
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        Jul 21 2011: Luis, The best summary of evidence for a lack of aggression and inequality is "The Fall" by Steve Taylor. There is evidence of art, cities, tools, and large civilizations well before evidence of human to human aggression, which only appeared in the last 5 to 10% of human existence.

        My point is that we are not driven or programmed by a genetic propensity toward violence. It is a choice and when we fully realize the effects of our actions on others, we can choose to act in other ways.

        Cooking over an open fire was part of our existence for many centuries but now we cook indoors. We can choose our own destiny. Believing our nature is to be violent and self-centered takes away the awareness of that choice and responsibility and serves those who strive to gain short term benefit from violent, self-centered behavior.
        • Jul 21 2011: Bob, thanks for your response. I have a different view.

          You say we are not driven by a genetic propensity toward violence, but let me ask, are we genetically driven by a propensity to develop technology? organize in groups? demonstrate compassion? create art? how about homosexuality? What about egoism? What is it that drives our behavior that is genetic? Moreover, how do you separate these from each others? I think you are over generalizing and over simplifying this problem to preach compassion, which, in itself, is a great idea, just not very practical.

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        Jul 21 2011: Luis wrote: "You say we are not driven by a genetic propensity toward violence, but let me ask, are we genetically driven by a propensity to develop technology?"

        I appreciate your question and feedback, Luis. I believe the whole concept of genetically driven behavior is way over-exaggerated and, as far as I can tell, has little basis in science. My point is the negative - that we do not have a genetic drive toward violence.

        Luis wrote "I think you are over generalizing and over simplifying this problem to preach compassion, which, in itself, is a great idea, just not very practical."

        We have a clear disagreement on this point. Compassion is a much more practical way to solve problems than violence. It actually works to bring about lasting solutions in practice. Compassion may be dismissed by those who profit by greed and aggression, but there is clear evidence that it is part of our nature (See the talk and book by Jeremy Rifkin on The Empathic Civilization)

        Compassion is being able to see things from another person's point of view and to understand what and how they feel about it. In my experience it is a critical component in solving problems. How is it not practical?
        • Jul 24 2011: First, I have to say that I have really enjoyed both your posts and Luis Martin's posts on this topic. And while I think that you both bring up some great points, the thing that seems to ring true to me, separate from both of your points is that once we learned war and were able to see war as having a benefit to society in any way, from any perspective, it becomes part of the discussion for conflict resolution moving forward. We wouldn't have war if there was absolutely no benefit to war.

          I admire the notion that unlike any other species, we have the ability to experience "compassion" and that ability is the only possible thing that can keep us from using one of the most effective tools we have ever had for conflict resolution: war. It is our compassion, however, that drives a great deal of the wars on this planet.

          As an American, I can hide behind my compassionate nature to claim that our war in Iraq was/is reasonable because I feel terrible for the Iraqi people and their lack of democracy before our invasion. It may be completely misguided and wrongfully applied, but the truth is that "compassion" combined with a limited perspective can not only be a righteous justification for war, but it can also be the very foundation of it.

          While it is novel to think that our our compassion can provide lasting beneficial resolutions to conflicts, I challenge you to consider the notion that while you may believe compassion is the solution to war, it is more likely that compassion is as likely to cause war/conflict as it is to prevent it.

          And with regards to genetic tendency towards war whether in Darwinian survival scenarios or socio-biological contexts, the logic remains that so long as war could be a possible solution to benefit even one side of a conflict, to refuse to consider it would be to deny our very nature. Thanks again for the great discussion.
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        Jul 25 2011: Jason wrote: ""compassion" combined with a limited perspective can not only be a righteous justification for war."

        You brought up an important distinction, Jason. My understanding of compassion is that it expands our perspective. Compassion with a limited perspective is a contradiction. When our perspective is limited, often by stress, hurry, anger, frustration etc., our capacity for empathy and reflective thought (two important components of compassion) are restricted. We may be resentful or seek revenge (sometimes mistakenly understood as Justice), but this is not true compassion which requires broad understanding and a filter of non-attachment. Anyone with true compassion would realize how devastating that war has been for the people.

        Compassion cannot be a cause of an offensive war. Compassion could lead one to intervene in a war that is already taking place, as the U.S. could have done in Rowanda. There is a difference between responding to violence with defensive action and using violence as a means to an end.
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        Jul 25 2011: Jason wrote "the logic remains that so long as war could be a possible solution to benefit even one side of a conflict, to refuse to consider it would be to deny our very nature."

        I maintain that using war to benefit our side denies our very nature. We need to close our heart and lose touch with some of our humanity to kill another person. I have worked with a number of people who have killed in self-defense and it is usually the most traumatic part of the experience.
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      Jul 23 2011: I'd like to support Bob's point about violence and human nature. Much of the primate work that supports that idea that we are intrinsically violent comes from work with chimps which are not actually our best or nearest relatives. If we look at bonobo socieites we find that they mirror humanity much more closely especially in social relationships and for them (who branched off from us most recently in our ancient past) war is unknown. They embody the 1960's slogan- make love not war.
      • Jul 24 2011: However, place the Bonobo's in an environment that was not nearly as rich and plentiful of natural resources and evaluate their tendency towards conflict resolution. The notion that Bonobo's use sex to satisfy their aggressive nature or sex to satisfy conflict is novel and interesting, but it is largely the result of their abundance of natural resources and their lack of exposure to violence and war. Introduce a more aggressive conflict-oriented chimp to the Bonobos and evaluate how long it takes for war to replace "sex" for conflict resolution. In one corner we have Joe "lips" Bonobo, the kissing chimp and this corner we have John "teeth" Chimp. In the middle we have a luscious banana. Both chimps have gone three days without food. Who will get the banana? Lets watch and find out.

        Bonobo's are only interesting because they represent SUCH a departure from the norm:

        Well, that and the fact that they have lot of sex...I mean lots of sex. That's always interesting, right?
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    Jul 25 2011: OK, this conversation seems to be becoming polarized based on two perspectives. One perspective is that killing people is wrong and that wars happen most of the time for reasons that are not as extreme or not as noble as they are represented to be. The other perspective appears to be that war is a reality of human nature and that it is unavoidable because people in many societies seem to be able to impose their violent will others and must be stopped. If I have encapsulated the two positions- NOW WHAT? How do we have a constructive conversation with each other? Isn't it worth acknowledging that many times wars are not fought for the reasons that the public is told? Isn't is worth acknowledging that there are people who are williing to fight for the oppressed? Now how do people of good will work to ensure that war is minimized and truly fought to put the Hitlers and Idi Amins of the world out of business?

    Who are the ones usually suffered most during wars? The innocents, like children & women.
    The world has fought two major wars, is there peace now?
    In fact, I must say it even though some may not agree with it, that wars breeds more wars
    as all wars came from two causes:-:
    1. GREED for more power, money, territories etc &
    2. HATRED.
    Wars can NEVER be a means of bringing about peace.
    Wars are manifestations of the minds.
    Our minds created wars and so we can use this tool of the mind too to create peace.
    War begets more wars; peace begets more peace.
    Only with inner peace in our minds and hearts can we bring about long term peace in the world.
    Inner peace brings outer peace to the world. Peace always to all. v
    • Jul 19 2011: So if attacked by a foe you would expect a nation to drop their weapons and avoid a war? Human nature is unfortunately tuned in to war and not inner peace, and it is pretty much an illusion to think that by our own selves we as humans are going to one day snap out of it, get together, hold hands and sing 'I love you, you love me'. By our own power we will never be like that. It is better to face the present reality and prepare your nation for war, better fight for what is right then be passive and live in fear and have evil men rule over you.
      • Jul 19 2011: I cannot understand why people had to resort to killing same species (human beings) to justify their cause, to settle a problem/dispute or to proof a point. If you're attacked, you've to ask why you're attacked? Why you've enemies who want to attack you?

        If countries have mutual understanding, goodwill, bilateral relationships, non-oppression, ethical fair international policies & respect for one another, there would be no enemy to attack. Each country helps each other to grow. I don't believe a country can live independantly without depending on other countries. We have to live inter-dependantly to survive & live peacefully without having to resort to wars to solve problems, distribution or deficiencies. That seems impossible but nothing is impossible if people truly want a world without wars. Unfortunately, people are so tuned to wars to solve problems and another problem is, we forget easily. :(
        • Jul 24 2011: It is so much more complex than you are considering. I mean take the U.S. for example. We will gladly come to a peaceful agreement with another country that does what we want. No conflict, right? That means: treat your women like equals (or at least make it look like you do) and don't do drugs (except those drugs that big manufacturer's produce and charge lots of money for) and believe in God (though we'll pretend to look the other way if you wanna cal Him something else) and....

          No conflict, right? Come on. At what point does another culture's belief so offend your culture's sensibility that the two cannot exists simultaneously in an equally beneficial relationship? The truth is that there will always be conflict between nations and so long as war is a possible solution, it will exist.

          I, for one, will never believe that it is reasonable or acceptable to stone a woman to death for having been the victim of a rape. To me, that is unacceptable in any way and the mere thought of it makes my blood boil. How can I possibly ever have a mutual understanding with a culture that promotes such a behavior? How can you expect me to have a bilateral relationship with someone I find morally corrupt ?

          Your entire list of implied moralities suggest that there exists a defined morality that is agreed upon by all living humans to define: Ethical, Fair, Respect, Understanding, Goodwill. Without such a unified declaration, how can any society be expected to align themselves with such a notion. The truth is that it cannot exist in such a simple context.

          So then it becomes a matter of give and take. I'll let you continue to rape and oppress innocent women, just don't do drugs and for that, we'll agree not to treat you any differently at the airport so long as you don't develop close-knit, separatist communities inside the U.S. It's unreasonable and idealistic to assume that we will all find a common ground.
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        Jul 19 2011: Love is the only solution. Human nature is not tuned into anything, it is not rock solid. Human nature is learned and developed with time. Nobody says humanity will "snap" out of war in a day, no. Not in a day, maybe in a century, maybe more, maybe less, but not in a day.
        • Jul 20 2011: The opposite of war is love. :)
          The opposite of love is war. :(
          The world needs to build more tools of love
          and not weapons & tools of hatred.
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    Jul 19 2011: War a necessity - NO
    A tool to bring about peace - NEVER
    Desiring it good ... - NO NO NEVER

    Everyone knows this and yet we keep thinking about it... why? I feel there should not be any position that can be held by someone to declare war. These positions are traps. No one should be given the authority itself to declare war for it is the fear of the other country's status(the sources and tools of war it owns ) that keeps preparing our countries for wars...

    "Neighboring country has got a nuclear weapon... Ok now i need to get more..." Yeah its all fear...
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    Jul 26 2011: "If you want to make peace don't talk to your friends, talk to your enemies" (Moshe Dayan 1915-1981)

    I thinnk that this quote agrees with the idea that negotiation should be a tool that is used before conflict ensues. I do however also agree with Flavius Vegetius Ranatus when he says "Let him who desires peace prepare for war".
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    Jul 25 2011: Watch and/or and make an informed statement about the topic! I dare anyone to still think that war is a necessity after Watching the 67 Talks on the topics war and peace!
    • Jul 25 2011: Jimmy, there are informed statements that can be made from each side of the argument. War is an incredibly complex topic that can be argued against and in favor, no need to dare people on this.
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        Jul 25 2011: I see what you mean and I'm rarely this forward about something... It's just that I don't think that anyone can maintain their pro-war viewpoint after watching all or a bunch of the Talks!
        Pro-war statements or opinions are one of the few things that make me less humble when indeed the opposite is needed...

        Also I'd like to add that I see a dare as something innocent, it's not an attack of any sort... I'm against attacks...
        • Jul 25 2011: Thanks Jimmy. Adam's point however is to be considered and it is the essence of the 'pro-war' position.

          Quick stop here: Have you considered that the people here that argue war is in fact sometimes needed are not 'pro-war', as in "Yeaaaah let's kill some people especially women and children!!!"? The arguments go more into the view of not being accomplices by inaction or by taking action to defend a perceived higher moral purpose.

          Anyway, back to the point. We can all fundamentally agree that war is bad for all parties involved, we only disagree on the necessity of it. You say never, I say sometimes, and granted, someone is likely to say always. Adam makes his point by basically putting the same argument, if a group uses or is willing to use violence against yours what do you do? Do you sit idle and let them have at you or do you take action (that is violent action)?

          The majority of people that argue against war seem to be oblivious to this argument and respond by citing philosophical concept or ideas but nothing that approaches reality or that it is practical.

          I promise I'll watch the talks, but promise me this... read the first book on Winston Churchill's "The Second World War" and get a feel for how incredibly complex events that can cause a war unfold.

        • Jul 25 2011: It's great to look at the world and see what it might become, but it is much more important to see it as it really is.

          "The only thing required for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" Edmund Burke

          This quote is probably already stated, but I will add anyway.
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        Jul 25 2011: I've considered Adams and your views and had them myself for a very long time... I believe action is required against war but that it should be non-violent... At the most opponents should be pacified.
        • Jul 26 2011: I have given thought and consideration to non-violence and came to the realization that peace has to be guaranteed and protected by any means necessary, including but not limited to violence.

          "It is an unfortunate fact that we can secure peace only by preparing for war" John F. Kennedy
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    Jul 24 2011: War is a byproduct of too much testosterone which feeds aggression and dominance.
    • Jul 24 2011: Or is it the logical notion that those who don't have as much testosterone, aggression, and or desire for dominance either deserve to be or are asking to be subjugated?
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        Jul 30 2011: "Deserve" and "asking to be subjugated"
        The same self justification also used for murder, rape, robbery, etc.
        Outstanding Jason. The definition of evil, exploiting power simply because one can.
        There is nothing logical about it, it's lack of self control.
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    Jul 22 2011: War is usually imposed on poor countries, an unjust tool for superpowers. Superpowers like to impose their culture on poor countries to rob l their natural resources. If a country lacks wealth, normally is not invaded by superpowers. Beyond war is hatred and inhumanity under the label or coverage of human rights .It must be avoided unless another country dares to invade a weaker country. So defense becomes necessary, though, on the whole , war blocks improvements of invaded countries e.g. Iraq and Afghanistan. Peace be on all humans.
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    Jul 20 2011: I am against war between countries, I don't believe there should be countries at all
    we shall unite
    interrelate, this will maximize the benefits to the whole world, utilize resources more efficiently, producing goods at lower prices and different vision the wold shall have

    the world is though still.............. conditioning
    classifying the world into regions, does not make sense, I see
    check this out......... human being are able to cope, right??!!
    thus, I think if people been put in a "free" world, they will react accordingly to the better, no doubt
    the people will cope or imitate the good

    why wars at all?
    to secure resources ..........or to colonize other regions
    why would there be wars at all??
    it's a mismanagement of resources, I think
    or conflict of interests
    people created money, now they fight for it
  • Jul 28 2011: War is as necessary as peace. Without the other, these concepts are incomplete. The notion of attaching morality to either is simply justification for our perspective.
    But when all is said and done, war is a transition from one state of a society's being to another. And that transitional act is much faster when the opposition is no longer present (whether as exiled refugees or exterminated).

    Peace, however, is a slower, more controlled, transitional chaos. It is a socially acceptable amount of internal turmoil. Because regardless of the statement that your society is at peace or at war, it is in turmoil towards maturity or dissolution.

    So how committed are you to your ideals? And what is justifiable to see them to fruition? Maybe those questions will define your rationalizations towards peace or war...
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    Jul 27 2011: War is not necessary but justifiable for the oppressed. If you're not oppressed you have no right to war. Often two sides have no right to war.

    It is ok to kill people if that's the only way to stop them doing irrepairable damage to your long-term chances of survival as an individual or a collective. If they have forced a "you or me" situation you can force the outcome. Divisions come depending on where people set the boundary for their collective:Themselves (individual)/ Their culture/ Their race/ Their nation/ Their species/ Their phylum etc. War will happen as long as people set their boundaries too close, excluding other people from their notion of collective.
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    Jul 26 2011: While I believe that peace is idealistic and that we should try our best, individually and together, to make peace, I would also like to acknowledge the fact that war can be unavoidable at times (note, i'm not saying it's necessary, just inevitable.)

    When North Korea shelled South Korea's yeonpyeong island, there was an immense arousal of war setiments amongst south korans. And when the government thought best to avoid the war, people even went on protesting. Although these pro-war sentiments were highly influenced by grief and anger of the people, their primary reasons were fear-based - we needed to make an action so as to tell the north koreans that we will not tolerate these kinds of violence.

    Eventually, our government only asked for a "sincere apology." But the next time north korea does something like this, war would become inevitable. And this fear-based reaction would not a "wrong" reason to go for war but a human one.

    Like Tim mentioned earlier, there are wars to stop genocides and support the freedom of people. There are also wars that protect our people from being constantly abused. If we were to stay put and let it all happen, the world would end up in a massive tyranny under those who are greedy and violent.

    There is no perfect way of solving this. But we cannot generalize in such broad terms. We can only try our best to find a solution that is the least bloody, hurting, and most peace-seeking.
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    Jul 25 2011: I've encountered all kinds of questions on TED. To the obvious ones I often choose not to elaborate or even to comment at all, but here I will comment but I won't elaborate!

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      Jul 25 2011: By what do you mean 'at all costs' though?
      If you mean 'only when it is completely necessary', then we see eye to eye.
      But if you don't...
      Even when a group jeopardize the freedom, future or quality of life of another group? No, I disagree. Some people/movements need to be stopped, and a group with extreme views won't back down easily, for all kinds of reasons. And while there are still evil/greedy/power hungry/intolerant/closed minded/violent people in the world, war will be necessary. And to be honest, I don't think those traits will be eradicated during in my life time.
      I for one am certainly glad that the world didn't submit to Nazi rule.

      If it was the former that you were saying, then I apologise for the rant. But if it was the latter... I disagree, very strongly.
      • Jul 25 2011: I agree with you very strongly. When people make all encompassing statements like this they clearly forget their history.
  • Jul 25 2011: That is like asking is domestic violence a necessity or something that should be avoided at all cost? Violence is NOT okay no matter how large or small the scale.
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    Jul 22 2011: Avoid it, duh.
    Have you watched those military channel shows, not the ones on historical events but the ones that focus on technologies and euphemisms? Have you seen the faces of the people on those shows and listened to their fervor? Can you honestly sit there any say, yes, we are civilized?
  • Jul 22 2011: The "military industrial complex" is alive and doing well.
    Conflicts are conflicts, humans have them all the time. We have conflicts with others, with ourselves and with nature. Conflicts in my opinion is a natural human condition. So someone could say that violence is a naturally human way of solving conflicts, therefore war is a necessary evil.
    War is big business. Everyone, except the victims and casualties of war, profit directly or indirectly from it.
    How can we ever achieve peace, when there is a monster industry that profits from human conflict. If we as individuals are affected economically in a positive way from war... do we really want peace?
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    Jul 20 2011: This is a topic I have thought about for quite some time, and I am no expert on the subject, but I wanted to share my thoughts. Feedback is more than welcome, especially if it can broaden my current view on the subject.

    Everyone learns growing up about the notion of world peace. For most of us when we are young, the world is at peace because we are unable to comprehend the events taking place around us. We might be aware of some conflict taking place somewhere, but are much happier to return to playing with our Lego and Play Doh sets gifted to us. Over time we are slowly brought into the real world, and become more and more aware of the complicated struggles plaguing each and every society around the world. Some are complicated, others are horribly complicated. So how can this idea of world peace you learned years ago be brought into fruition?

    Recently thinking about this issue, I forgot all about nations at war, and decided to focus solely on individuals. Arguments/conflicts happen for 2 (simplified) reasons. You either feel threatened in some way, and must act to regain that sense of security with self/property/resources/society/etc., or because you are the aggressor, and it is in your nature to conflict with others. I am imagining a utopia without a single modern weapon that can be used against another. However, with these natural aggressors in the picture, I see someone finding the biggest stick they can find to lay down their rules. Somes else finds another stick, and carves a point on the end. Another finds a way how to launch the stick great distances, and so the weapons race starts again.

    How then can we seek world peace with such natural aggressors in society? This then leads into my thoughts on morality. Simple solution is when you see a problem, you get rid of it. Obviously in this case this is not a moral solution. My last thoughts are whether or not a utopia of world peace is possible, and if the means of arriving there are moral. Thoughts?
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      Jul 20 2011: Colin, I would recommend two books for you to read. Steve Taylor summarizes archeological and anthropological evidence which indicates that aggression is not part of human nature in "The Fall". The Dali Lama provide a clear direction for morality in suggesting we do no harm to others and develop compassion in Ethics for a New Millenium.

      I do not understand the case for natural aggression except that it is widespread and generally accepted. Aggression simply doesn't work in the long run. It only leads to more aggression as the losers plots how to restore what they believe has been taken from them. The only lasting peace comes from compassion and mutual understanding.
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        Jul 21 2011: Thanks Bob! I do personally agree that humans are not naturally aggressive, infact through my experiences traveling, the strong majority of people I have met have been open and welcoming. Although my argument was towards the possibility of 100% complete world peace, my personal stance is not that we are naturally aggressive and programmed to cause conflict. I am always open to thoughts, comments, and pieces of enlightening information. The only difficult point is that I only have limited space for my thoughts on this comment block.
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          Jul 21 2011: I appreciate the clarification, Colin. I do believe it is possible to eliminate war between nations. There will always be disagreements between groups and individuals. but war is an incredibly extreme measure that devastates the lives of citizens and doesn't produce lasting peace. War only serves the short term interests of a very few. The problem is that we allow or elect these few to be our leaders.
      • Jul 24 2011: Bob, at what point does my compassion compel me to action? What would it take for you to be compelled to attack someone? If someone was raping your wife, would you sit idly aside and try to rationally come to a compassionate agreement with them regarding this conflict? If so, than your inner peace must be of such a great value to you that you can overcome the sense of loss, the sense of guilt, the sense of compassion that you feel for your wife.

        The truth of the matter is that you would likely do whatever you could to stop the situation and if that meant kill the rapist, you would, out of compassion and instinct do just that. To do otherwise would be to deny your own human nature based on some higher morality or some ability to suspend your compassion for the good of mankind? Who benefits from this? The rapist.

        Honestly, compassion is a great tool for both sides of any argument. As such, compassion, in my opinion becomes the weakest of arguments by employing a one step forward-two steps back kind of logic that, depending on your perspective, gives you great license to either act aggressively or react passively.
  • Jul 20 2011: To conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle. ~ Buddha
    An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind. ~ Gandhi
    Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary. ~ Gandhi
    Everybody's talking about peace, but nobody does anything about it in a peaceful way. ~ John Lennon
    If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace. ~ John Lennon
  • Jul 19 2011: Personally, I find it hard to believe that war is the only answer to a problem of resources and disagreement in foreign policy. As a species and culture we can't move forward if money is constantly being blown because of disagreements. That being said I'm horribly idealistic and think that war has to be entirely eliminated from society. I don't have any idea how that would happen, except possibly through the continual spread of the idea of love and equality for all people.

    Regardless, war is unnecessary and in the end has benefitted no one.
  • Jul 19 2011: In todays world, wars are started by politicians for political reasons. Sadly, that doesn't mean they are always good and proper reasons. I say this an an ex-serviceman and with the greatest respect for those who serve and die at the whim of those who rule.

    War is never necessary. Neither is it something that should be avoided at all cost.

    The most useful definition of war I have seen is 'war is the execution of a nation's foreign policy by other means'.

    So if your country is at war, please reflect on whether you believe your nation has a sufficiently good reason to be there and make your voice heard if you don't.

    War overseas kills your country's young men and women, and it kills people of all ages in the area of conflict. I submit that very very rarely will war be a less destructive option than whatever is promoted as the reason for going to war.

    I do not agree at all with the statement that war is a tool of peace. Peace is what exists when there is no war.

    Rule of law and diplomacy are what exist to resolve differences in peace. The United Nations exists for the same reason. There are always always alternatives to war. Only when all options are truly exhausted AND grave harm is being perpetrated does war become the lesser of 2 evils.

    War is a choice. When we in our societies are mature enough we will not choose war any more. Forums like TED help this process and all of us here have the opportunity to spread the word.

    Let us together bring an end to war.
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    Jul 19 2011: As long as the resources and humans life are lost it cant positively impact any society.
    Rather the effort, time and money spend on the same can be effectively used for the basic needs for the needy.
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    Jul 19 2011: War is something that should be avoided at all cost. It is a shame that military superpowers are still using war as a mean to make money in these days. We should be becoming a unified world that no longer need to use weapons for anything other than animal hunting in the wild.
  • Jul 19 2011: Unfortunately, since we are humans, we´ve been in war. It lays in our genes. On despite in 20th century is supposed that we are civilized, 50 million persons die in 2nd war world and 6 in horrible extermination camps. Today, thousands die tortured in Mexico.
    Wars are completely unnecesary and must be avoid ate any cost. United Nations must assume its responsibility and obtain a commit on simple life and governance principles that all the countries must follow
  • Jul 30 2011: POLITICIANS SAY, WE HAVE DECIDED TO GO INTO WAR. This is not true.

    Politicians don’t go into WAR; the innocent soldiers do. That is why politician takes this decision of war as an ultimate option easily.

    As long as people not suffering from it, they will continue to have WAR as an ultimate option. This is not fair.

    It is easy to say WAR is an option, BUT YOU WILL AVOID IT AT ANY COST IF YOU’ RE TOLD TO TAKE PART physically, or if you are suffering from its geographic coverage.Why the family of soldiers demonstrate against WAR, because they have sent their loved ones into WAR.

    Can you dare?Ask the parents of any late soldier “Can war be an ultimate option?” I am sure he/she will answer by action.

    We should value the life of soldiers and civilians the same as our own and loved ones even while debating about it.With Respect
  • Jul 26 2011: In having thoroughly enjoyed this thread, I realized that it is probably best to focus on the topic as presented.

    The answer is clearly "NO". There are almost always ways to avoid war.

    Again, the answer is clearly "NO" for me. When all other avenues have been explored and the situation is such that you are faced with the choice of war or perish, than war it is, for better or worse. If faced with certain death, it is better to go out fighting with some glimmer of hope of survival than it is to just sit there and be destroyed.

    For me the answer is "YES". I desire it and if everyone desired it enough it might even be possible to some extent. But is it practical or logical to presume that we can/ever will be able to achieve this desired state...I'm afraid that it simply is not.

    Without a doubt, the answer is "NO". Peace is never the end product of any formula that involves war and it is not something that anyone (except for possibly those who have little to lose and billions to gain, like Dick Cheney) actually wants. And while it may be presented in such a way that we are lead to believe that it will bring about a lasting peace, that is never the case.

    I believe that it is good and righteous to strive for peace on every level--starting with yourself and extending outward. And while it is admirable to strive for peace, it is equally admirable to strive for survival--which sometimes may mean that you have to go to war.
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    Jul 26 2011: To me, it's simple because war does not help in any aspest since war cost money which involves economy, war cause international reltionship to be damaged. So, in definitely would believe that war is not a kind of solution. Instead, it is more problem-making situation.

    War is totally negative and it should be STOPPED...
  • Jul 26 2011: I believe in passive ressistance first. However, tyranny exists in our world. If one of my children were to sacrifice their own life to save a nation of people from suffering I would feel grief for my lost child but pride for the genuine reasons behind that sacrifice. That said, we must hold our leaders accountable for the reasons we go to war.
  • Jul 26 2011: I think it depends on how you will use it. If the goal is to protect one's country & its people from outside invasion, then that war is for defending & for peace. But if the goal is to use war for greediness, then by all means it should be avoided. But remember, there are no winners in war.
  • Jul 26 2011: Peace is certainly a necessary desire. Whether or not one is able to always follow that desire is a complicated and murky question. I think the vast majority of wars in human history have been completely unnecessary, having been fought for all the wrong reasons. But what about fighting wars to stop genocides? Admittedly, WWII was not fought for this reason, and the west has very seldom committed troops to stopping one successfully. I'm wondering do the individuals holding anti-war positions agree with this idea, and just label such wars as "peacekeeping" or do they think that protesting while allowing a genocide to take place is a real solution? My personal view is that the dichotomy presented by the original speaker is a bit misleading, because I'm inclined to say "both" avoid war at almost all costs, and only when faced with a problem that has no other solutions, a problem of such magnitude that the negative consequences of the war are smaller, should one even consider initiating a war. Such a problem in my view would just about always involve genocide or warmongering, although I'm inclined to make an exception for issues like slavery or other situations where there is no genuine alternative and a massive level of human suffering that needs to be dealt with expediently. That being said, most wars are about resources, power or ego; causes that are never just.
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    Jul 25 2011: War can be classified as a natural disaster, and is therefore inevitable. The tectonic forces that are built up years or sometimes centuries are released suddenly to cause catastrophic destruction of life, and property. Because we are not a homogeneous population, but have vast ideological, and ethnic differences, we are doomed. The tectonic conditions that are in place for human conflict, are differing behaviors, ideas, the need to exert their dominance over others.
    The idea of racial or religious superiority is one of the dominant causes of conflict; one group will try to spread its religious message insisting that it is the only true way to think, act, and worship.
    Another group may feel that they deserve a large share of the planet's resources, and exploit other groups to this end. So it seems like we don't have the currency to avoid war, but we can for now, mitigate the damage it causes.
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    Jul 25 2011: What if that cost is a regime murdering it's people (Libya) or causing it's people to starvy (North Korea) should we sit back and watch or is war the only tool we have to remove the powers that are causing so much pain and suffering?
  • Jul 25 2011: After invading Iraq in 2003, do you think we have less terrorists now? That would definitely answer your question.
  • Jul 25 2011: war is just like anything else-pointless invigorating crude and life-changing

    if we could all make love and be happy in a world free of problems, what then?
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      Jul 25 2011: I disagree with these notions.
      Life without disagreement would, I think, be incredibly dull. But I think there is a possibility that the human race can mature to a state where violence is unnecessary.
      However, as I have said in another reply, I don't believe we will reach that maturity in my lifetime.
  • Jul 25 2011: what is peace without war? no war, no more humanity as we know it. war is essential to life and death
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    Jul 24 2011: I think you answered your own question - "War can be an unpleasant experience but sometimes it seems like it is tool which can be used to bring about peace."
    Surely it all depends on the specific conflict?
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    Jul 24 2011: In my opinion, you can't group all wars together! Revolutionary Wars and Civil Wars are not the same as wars between an Aggressor and a Defender! War is not a necessity but from time to time becomes necessary.
  • Jul 24 2011: It is interesting to consider the notion that we have a choice in the matter of war. While I refuse to go so far as to say that we are genetically programmed for/against war, I will say that we are probably the only species that has the luxury of considering whether our species should or shouldn't participate in such actions. The details of which do not necessarily affect the outcome, in my opinion. That is to say that whether war is a necessity to compensate for our inability to effectively manage population, or whether war is a side effect of greed and tyranny of a small portion of our species, the point remains that war exists and will continue to exist as part of our struggle to survive with limited resources. And even in places where the outside resources are plentiful, you'll find that war exists over other precious resources such as women. Unfortunately, when we opened the door labeled "war" in the hallway of our history, we had no idea that the door opened in only one direction. Now that we have war and have had it for so long, it is rather unfortunate that those who blindly stand by the door waiting for it open, or even for those who wildly scratch at the door hoping that we can return to a time of peace will be the ones who fall prey most easily to those who have accepted war as an inevitability. Our best option, in my opinion, is to acknowledge and embrace the fact that we have and always will have war. From that more reasonable perspective, it can be surmised that the only thing we can hope for is a way to make war have less of an impact on the quality of our lives. And depending on your perspective, it makes sense to align yourself with the party with the best, if not biggest, war skills if you want peace. Of course, I'm at luxury to make such a compassion-less statement because I live in the US where the biggest inconvenience I experience from the wars we have been in for years now is the occasional pre-empting of "South Park". Shameful I know.
  • Jul 24 2011: War is the natural state of life... All living things fight, and their fighting makes them great. Trees fight to reach the sun and drown all those that can not keep up in their shadow. Coral on a reef fight an aggressive war for territory on which to grow. Song birds and wolves both war among themselves in-order to mate. Tribes/Groups of monkeys often war in brutal conflicts filled with pillaging and rape. All nature shows war to be a natural state... We humans fight for land, resources, mates, and plunder. We are the same as the trees and the birds in this respect and I believe it is natural, if unpleasant. Where we differ from the rest of nature is our willingness to war over ideas and beliefs... War for life is natural. War for ideas is folly.
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    Jul 24 2011: That’s right but we should not be disappointed unless we believe that humanity has completely vanished. I am sure that any sound wisdom accepts rules and regulations of any play, considering War as a disastrous play on the benefit of superpowers, but I count on ordinary people not the governments. Sometimes ordinary people are able to cause a butterfly effect which will one day affect the world. Any system in this world has a beginning and end; where does the human being system stand? Is it really declining? Or we need some better sub-systems to cause it to grow for maturity. Humans must learn how to live together in peace not by war and if they are forced to begin the war they must respect the war regulations or be punished so that they do not dare to fight again.
  • Jul 23 2011: Sadly, I think warfare is not just a necessity but an inevitable product of Human existence. For our entire time on this planet we have found almost every conceivable reason to take up arms against our fellow man. Religion, Race, Control, Fear, Oil, Power, Dominance! Key drivers throughout the centuries albeit I accept "Black Gold" is a more contemporary driver.

    Can war really bring peace? I think not, especially when considered over time. An example would be civil war. These have always ruined societies for centuries. People may start out with the need to go to war as a means of freeing themselves from political or religious persecution but at what point does liberation give way to revenge. There have always been cases of mass killings in retribution for things done before these civil wars began.

    In all, War cannot be a means of obtaining peace. Prima facie, the very need for warfare would suggest that peace is unobtainable. What this means then based on my earlier concept of humanity being inevitably warmongering, is that "world peace" is a ludicrous notion. It cannot and will never exist. No matter how many people truly want this, there will always be many more who see war as a more direct, profitable or necessary means to an end.

    It is much more likely, as much as it worries me to concede, that far from unquestionable peace we will find our very nature comes to destroy us. Nowhere is this more lucid than in the acronym MAD, Mutually Assured Destruction. This is a military policy designed purely to present the threat of "you hit us we'll hit you" but on an unimaginable scale. Total annihilation. I admit, as Tom Clancy coined, "It is not the thousands of nukes pointed at us that worries me, its the guy with the one", that the liklihood of mass destruction is minimal.

    We have entered a new existence of warfare. Terrorism. This exists not for peace or control but only to induce fear. It is this concept that scares me more than anything. Not war.
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    Jul 23 2011: We must write the war regulations again and force the united nations organization to guarantee the implementations of the war rules as no one feel any responsibilities on the death of the innocent people who are forcefully involved in the bloody war, Children who mistake a mine with a doll and many civilians who do not want the war but can’t leave the war scene. Even animals are not safe and have no security because these are the characteristic of the war done by the ones who call themselves human beings. How have we improved our societies by inventing modern technologies?
    Early men were more secured than modern men. They had no bombs, no war chemical instruments.
    They battled face to face but today we do not see our enemies. Therefore Toddy’s wars must be avoided.
    • Jul 24 2011: We have fought enough over the history of human, it didn’t work. We have availed long time for WAR as solution. Rules of WAR will not work either; everybody will interpret it to his/her favor.

      Let’s stop war and debate for some time and see its implications.
  • Jul 23 2011: I see a lot of posts here talking about self defense, human nature, wealthy countries etc.

    1. We are way passed the age of tribes where one tribe attacks another because of resources. Now day’s war is a materialistic thing not the thing that critical for survival. Now day’s war is a thing that makes some people - parties reached. The simplest thing to do is to take several of wars and see who gained more money and power out of it, is it an ordinary citizen of that or other country - no it's a companies that creates weapons, a companies that bay resources after the war finishes on low costs and finally - the banks that loan money for everyone.

    2. What considered as a wealthy country? Probably US are the wealthiest country - yes of course it would if it won’t be in a huge debt to a federal bank. The same picture can be seen in other countries. How can it be that financial wealth of a company can be greater than country’s (for instance – General Motors vs. Poland)? Does a company have more ‘citizens’ or may be it has more resources than a country? If not where this wealth came from?

    3. The defense – every human has a right to defend his life, that’s right, it’s true it seems right it feels right and I also would kill in order to defend myself or my family, the only thing is: Are you absolutely positive that some particular war is a defense, or it’s only because you were said so? And if not a defense, other good reasons can be found – land, religion or political views, etc.
    I think the Zeitgeist movement demonstrates those aspects very well, and also tries to give a solution.
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    Jul 23 2011: Short answer, yes it should be avoided at all cost. But we sometimes want have the other guy pay the cost, so it ends up costing us more than we anticipated. Another more effective method of conflict resolution would be nice, but we don't seem to have one.
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    Jul 23 2011: It must be avoided unless when we are defending our borders. . I mean when invasion occurs we have no way other than pushing our enemies away in the most appropriate possible way, especially when dialogue does not work. War has more bad consequences than its benefits.Superpowers may apparently get some benefits out of war but they can't compensate their lost human beings and cant not justify or answer public opinions or future generations.
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    Jul 23 2011: It should be avoided at all cost. Most war is for resources, whether thats what they say or not, its true. If its in self defense thats another story. But in the case of self defense, it is likely that the attacker wants something you have. The ironic thing is that war is over scarce resources and it wastes a lot of them.

    "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets."
    — Voltaire
  • Jul 23 2011: What is "war"? People die by the thousands everyday for various reasons. Many of these reasons are 100% man made. At times, a new man made reason for the slaughter of humans comes into being and must be fought against through strength of arms.

    To anyone who asserts that war should be avoided at all costs, explain how the world sits back and watches genocide due to religious or political reasons. Explain how the world is supposed to sit back and watch humanitarian aid being hijacked by terrorists and as a result of which millions of humans starve to death? War goes back in history much further than any superpower nation. No nation can be blamed for the idea of war just as no single nation can be blamed for constant struggles of the past, present, future...Man's ignorance, intolerance, greed, ego, etc is the problem and will continue to be the problem for a long time to come.

    Should the world have not stopped Hitler? If Hitler had been allowed to just take over the world without war, do any of you believe that there wouldn't be many more Hitlers springing up around the globe? Can anyone honestly say that there isn't a need to protect human rights from ideologies that want to return mankind to the Middle Ages or complete dictatorships? If so, I say this is a very naive view of the world.
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      Jul 23 2011: Perhaps you are listening too much the mainstream media, it might actually have hijacked your mind. All nations are responsible of their actions, every person is responsible of what he does.

      The world is not suppose to watch silently what is happening, the world is suppose to act in ways that war and organized violent actions are prohibited. The world, the nations are suppose to team up and work together for the benefits of all of humanity.

      The direction the richest nations have decide to go, is not a good direction anymore, nothing can justify wars and killing now a day, technology have develop in ways the military could easily use non lethal ways to stop terrorists and judge them accordingly to the gravity of their actions.

      What is happening today is not much different than what was happening during the 2nd World War, but instead of Germany, it's America. Hitler was not much different than any president, he was elected democratically, the German were proud of what their nation was achieving, not much different than the Americans supporting the actions of the military, but similarly to the 2nd World War, the people don't know everything, they ignore a lot about what the troops are doing, and most of them don't even care, they don't want to know.

      But just like it did happen during the 2nd World War, the oppressor someday starts to lose, and the losing is about to start because some other countries far older and wiser than young America will decide eventually to play guardian of peace at the right time, and they will win, it might be China, or Russia, perhaps both, if America goes too far and breaks once again it's fragile economy during their foreign occupations, some other nations will see a fair opportunity to act.

      What is the most dangerous aspect of all this is the possibility for America to go "harakiri" with the whole world. And this is what must be suppressed at all cost, that possibility is quite frightening, it's stupid but obviously very realist.
      • Jul 23 2011: Maxime,

        Let's start with this claim:

        "The direction the richest nations have decide to go, is not a good direction anymore, nothing can justify wars and killing now a day, technology have develop in ways the military could easily use non lethal ways to stop terrorists and judge them accordingly to the gravity of their actions."

        Please explain how technology can fix everything with non lethal ways.
        • Jul 24 2011: Isn't it more reasonable to state that technology has the capacity to limit the scope of the damage of war with respect to human life...that is so long as you have the technology. Unmanned drones can accurately take out lots of terrorists or suspected terrorists and we can do it from the comfort of our home while playing "Mortal Kombat" in PIP. It's only much more humane if you have the technology and/or you are winning the war.
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          Jul 24 2011: You would need to be more specific about "fix everything", because this is quite large. Yesterday i wrote a big answer but it must have taken too long to write so that when i clicked submit i just lost the answer, and that was quite sad.

          So let's just be more specific about the issue you might have in mind.
      • Jul 24 2011: You wrote a lot of off topic, anti-American, immature insights into your reply to my post. Before tackling the more opinion based claims, I wanted to address the factual based claims that you made. One of those claims is that "technology have develop in ways the military could easily use non lethal ways to stop terrorists".

        It is obvious that I am asking you to explain this claim with facts to back it up. It appears to me that if you actually have information on how to do this, we need to get you heading up a world-wide organization very quickly.
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          Jul 25 2011: It can be the same technology the police is using, tear gaz, tazer guns, theres a lot of technology out there that are non lethal.
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    Jul 22 2011: War is simply an expression of dealing with differences and problems childishly. Violence is certainly a part of nature, but war is not. War is what happens when one group chooses to solve a problem through violence instead of logic and reasonable debate.
  • Jul 22 2011: Bob, I think dismissing violence as part of or nature while supporting compassion as a part of it is inconsistent. Be that as it may, I think you and I have a violent agreement when it comes to the over-exaggeration of 'our nature' or 'genetically driven behavior'.

    Back to the compassion argument. Bob, it depends. Compassion is only practical when the disagreement is such that a solution can be reached by compromise, it becomes impractical when you try to solve all disagreements by compassion.

    Take for example two groups of humans. They roam the prairies 55,000 years ago, wheather, over hunting and population growth have caused hunger. Both these groups find a patch of prairie that has fruits and enough animals for only one group to survive. They sit down to negotiate, maybe they split the food, maybe they hunt together, how would compassion help these groups reach agreement when it is clear some of them are poised to perish? Moreover, how do you negociate or compromise on your children starving? Keep in mind, both groups have exactly the same mindset, no need to even understand the other part's point of view as it is virtually the same. My expected outcome? Violence. It doesn't matter that they can understand each other's point of view, they'll likely go to war.

    I can spend hours putting forth similar examples, I am sure so can you. In the end, it will only prove that both options can actually, and for the most part, exist.
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      Jul 22 2011: Luis, I would suggest you apply your example to your own family. Lets say you have a wife and 4 children, There is only enough food for two of you - do you kill your other family members?

      Some things are more important than survival. We need to close our heart to kill another person who is in the same situation as we are. That makes us less human. What do we gain by that?
      • Jul 25 2011: Bob, your example only proves my point. When humans are faced with extreme situations violence becomes a terrifying but valid option. Sometimes organized violence (war) is, unfortunately, the best choice, to think that compassion will give you different options is unrealistic and a fallacy.


        Because in these extreme situations when it becomes better, or more human, to be killed than to kill someone else then the violence is against the self. Are you ready to commit violence against yourself by omitting a valid option?

        By the way, If I am put in a position like the one you describe above, I would give serious thought at having the wife for dinner, but since I know I'll likely lose that argument too, then I guess dinner will be Daddy's liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.... ;-)

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        Jul 28 2011: Bob , obviously you're not an American, so you don't understand about defending the innocent! There is evil out there that feed on the week! So there must be the strong to stand up and protect the week from the oppressive! wE MAY NOT BE PERFECT BUT AT LEAST WE ARE TRYING! I would not want to live in your World!
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          Jul 28 2011: Richard, Actually I am an American and I agree that violence must be used to stop violence at times. The tragedy in Rowanda could have been stopped with a military effort and I would have supported that.

          We need to be very careful when we say the strong need to protect the weak, however. Seeing ourselves as strong and others as weak is a very narrow perspective that can blind us to the consequences of our actions.
        • Jul 28 2011: Richard, now that Bob has established that he is an American are you going to call him unpatriotic? If you are an American you need to know that Bob has a right to his opinion whether you like it or not and that makes him as much an American as you are.

          There are Americans that disagree with the way government handled Iraq and the reasons for American military action around the world. A lot of them are idealists and pacifists that would, in paper, oppose almost any war. That you and I disagree with them does not make them unpatriotic or unamerican. In fact, those that are not willing to take up arms are the very ones that, in the event of war, need defending...

          This discourse is the one that destroys countries and societies... distrust whoever feeds your mind with that kind of stupidity.
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          Aug 13 2011: I agree with Bob
          There is nothing, absolutely nothing good about war. In my opinion, to make war is the reach the lowest point of humankind. Invading somebody’s territory to kill military or civilians is wrong on every level. War brings out the worst out of us. We lose sympathy, logic, fairness and justice.
          What about making war with our words instead of bombs?
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      Jul 22 2011: Luis wrote "Bob, I think dismissing violence as part of or nature while supporting compassion as a part of it is inconsistent."

      Violence is a natural response to a threat in the animal world but humans have a choice how we respond. Violence simply leads to more violence and insecurity over the long run. It simply doesn't work as a way to solve problems among humans.

      I have worked with people suffering from PTSD for 35 years. People who have been through war trauma have more difficulty than those who have had accidents or suffered other tragedies. Humans have to close their hearts to kill another human. Restoring an open heart is a long and painful process that requires more courage and perseverance than gong to war.
      • Jul 25 2011: Bob, I think no one, at least not me, is advocating war or violence as the 'best' option. There are consequences to it that are horrendous, plain and simple. Question is should we ever consider it? I think it depends on the situation but closing the option altogether probably not...
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        Jul 28 2011: the true question is can wisedom win over instinct!
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          Aug 11 2011: I am not sure that most of us have an instinct to win disputes by killing the other person.

          Wisdom has to win. The craziness has lasted far too long.
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          Aug 13 2011: YES wisdom can win over instinct (if we want to). That's what differentiates us from other animals: WE have the ability to THINK about consequences and benefits.
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    Jul 21 2011: Compassion undermines war. Hitler never could have rose to power if there was a compassionate response to the end of World War I. The nations who fought in World War II have been at peace because of the compassionate response of the Marshall Plan.

    War is an incredibly extreme action. The Dalai Lama calls it “fire in the human community, one whose fuel is living people.” Leaders can only entice their people into war when they believe they have been treated unjustly. Justice undermines war.

    The problem is that a relatively small number of people profit handsomely through injustice and a lack of compassion and we allow them to use their money to choose our leaders. We have allowed the foxes to design the chicken coop and assume that’s just the way things are. If we believe aggression and greed are part of nature, we turn our world over to the greedy and aggressive.

    We have allowed systems to develop that reward greed and aggression. When we develop and promote systems that reward compassion and justice, war will end.

    A world without war is not utopia. It is simply living reasonably. We have the capacity for citizens from all nations to communicate with each other. We need to figure out how to develop systems that elect reasonable people who understand the power of compassion and justice to be our leaders.
  • Jul 21 2011: I would have to say that it's both. Not only is it a tool for tyranny and greed, it's also a tool for freeing people from tyrants. We have to be very cautious that war is never our only choice, never a choice taken lightly, and never a choice influenced by greed - only one driven by freedom. On that record, the US has fared rather dismally since WW2, the last time we truly fought a war of liberation or a war of self defense.
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    Jul 20 2011: I would like to refer to what Mr. Valdernex said about fighting being in our genes. It is true that people have always fought. However, isn't this exactly what the evolution is about? About surpassing primitive urges and finding other ways of resolving disputes? I'm sure everyone (or at least most people) will agree that every penny and cent used for buying weapons and invading foreign territories would be of far more use if it was invested in education, economy, ecology etc.
    I come from Croatia, where we've had peace for 20 years now, but the scars of war are unfortunately still felt. Both young and old(er) people are still holding on to memories and attitudes from the war.
    I think we would all be better off if those people didn't have any such memories to hold on to in the first place....
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      Jul 20 2011: Katrina, Do you have any insights on how healing can take place so the scars of war do not contribute to attitudes that contribute to other wars? South Africa had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission run by Bishop Desmond Tutu. Have there been similar efforts in Croatia?
  • Jul 20 2011: War is a blemish on our species. That such a think exists shows how undeveloped we are as a sentient creature. Yet war is something that nature has programmed into our genes. We have declared war on many things and we have won. We have flourished. Now this ability is turning against us. People are being manipulated against their best interest in protecting something with no value that will never benefit them. (virgins in heaven anyone p.s not the airlines) War can be put to good use. Fighting a common enemy like HIV or saber tooth tiger, but it can be miss-used like the war in Iraq, the Korean war and all religious based genocides.

    Peace is always good. If it is eternal, better. If there were no wars, humans would already be reaching for the stars. But that is a dream since wars will never go away. There is always someone with a vision and always people that will follow or are forced to follow. So my only choice can be that the wars be won by those that respect liberty and human rights for all.
  • Jul 20 2011: we can never have a peaceful global community
    • Jul 20 2011: If we think this way, we will never have it.

      I am hopeful that I will taste peace in my life, I will never lose hope.
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        Jul 20 2011: you're totally right
        I think we better "know" what happened for not to reinventing the wheel
      • Jul 24 2011: The only possible way to have hope that there will be a time without war is if you can show historically that there has never been a benefit to war. This cannot be said as there have been countless benefits to war historically.

        So, in evaluating the most effective path to problem resolution, so long as war exists as a possibility (which it is simply because we have had war already), war will continue to be evaluated as a possible solution, logically.

        And while I admire your desire to maintain hope, I must warn you that so long as even one person alive has the memory/knowledge of war and its benefits, you must always consider it as an option for problem resolution. And as long as it is an option, peace can only exist in a small bubble of perspective. Perhaps, it is best to find peace at the closest level (within oneself) and then have hope that you can expand that bubble to include a town, then a city, then a nation.

        But whatever you do, don't be discouraged by the simple logic that so long as there are benefits to war, it will always be considered. Peace can only be achieved in relative terms within a relative distance and with relatively no exposure to elements that are not equally invested in peace.

        I strive for peace daily, but to be honest, a peaceful day in my own skin is something so foreign that I lack the naivety or innocence to believe that an entire village, town, city, state, country or especially the world will ever come to a state of existence so elusive that I cannot achieve it within myself. Still, I admire your conviction.
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          Aug 13 2011: Well said Jason. It's unfortunate but yes it seems that war will always exist. We live on a planet of 6.94 billion people who all have their own issues, weaknesses, problems etc...
          But that’s not to say that we should give up on peace. Just like you said, we should HOPE that that "small bubble of peace" that each of us has can grow and expand to our friends, neighbors, community... Only then will the need of war lessen, and maybe—shall I dare say it?—disappear. If we don’t try, we won’t get there.
    • Jul 23 2011: I think those people who suffered enough in wars could appreciate peace.
      We would not know what it's like unless we've been through what they had gone through.
      How many wars do we need to fight in order for us to realize the importance of peace?
      I think the only war we humans should wage is the "war within us" against greed and hatred. :)
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      Jul 23 2011: Peace is possible. Look at Europe where we used to live constantly in war for centuries and centuries. We did succeed to have peace since the end of WWII, apart from some clashes which seem to be solved by now.
      The way to succeed in peace seems to me to unite and not to divide us for whatever reason.
      All our differences put together create peace and more wealth and health for all.
      After all there is no valid reason for war, whatever!
      • Jul 24 2011: So, did I hear you correctly? Europe has not participated in war since WWII? And you honestly believe that the remaining conflicts, or clashes (not quite wars) have since been resolved and that Europe exists peacefully in the world?

        If what you say is to be considered accurate in any way, than perhaps it is best to say that "peace" can exists so long as the wars you participate in happen outside of your back yard. Just because the tiny portion of the planet labelled "Europe" has had in some respect a "relative" peace, doesn't mean that European countries aren't involved in war every day.

        If I were to apply your logic to my experience, living in the U.S., we haven't had war since WWII either. So what's all the fuss about? So long as it doesn't affect me in my back yard, I can stand up and claim that Peace works.

        Well, sir, with all respect, I have to say that the luxury of peace that you experience is largely a benefit of the war your countries or the surrounding countries participate in regularly. And don't for a second believe that a country without a military is a country in peace: governments participate in war on many levels, only the most obvious of which is the physical combat.

        So, your claim that there is no valid reason for war, whatsoever, is borne of the luxury that the war is not in your back yard, not that war doesn't exist. Anyone can have peace locked in a room with no windows and no conflict. But it is unreasonable for someone to sit in a padded room with no windows and proclaim the benefits of non-conflict to someone just outside that room who is giving up his/her life for you to say such a thing.
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          Aug 11 2011: Well you are right, in a sense, we do participate in wars beyond the boundaries of Europe, and for the same matter outside the borders of the Us of A.
          That is still very wrong and we should not!
          The reasons why we do participate in such wars are certainly no good reasons.

          One of the few aims which are really worth striving for is peace and that can only be obtained by working together to that goal and certainly not fighting for.

          War is always a total loss for every party involved. A loss of human and other lives which we all need to make a better world. It is also a tremendous waste of energy and resources that our humanity will certainly need in the future.
          We just can not afford wars while so many people are still in need and can not even imagine to live a decent life.

          Peace is the ultimate goal not war!
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    Jul 19 2011: Although it should be avoided, we all know too well that there are times when it IS needed. If anyone here believes that war should NEVER ever be used and should be avoided completely then you most also say that you regret the events that happened in the 1940's. Ya know, that one event where one man led millions of blonde, blue eyed men to instill mass genocide on an innocent group of people. What do you think would have happened if the world just sat and watched as millions of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and other minority groups were massacred without any retaliation? Do you believe it would have just ended or that the victims should just defend themselves against millions of trained, armed soldiers? I do not know what kind of person would agree that war was not necessary at a time like that.

    War, in terms of individuals fighting and killing each other is a very sad and terrible thing. Thousands of innocent people die from war, but at least they do it protecting their views. As a whole, war is very much so needed to keep deranged people out of power and to stop injustice, plus it really does boost economies. I am not saying that the U.S. military is righteous and perfect. That is very much not true, there are hundreds of acts of injustice done every year within our own military, however that does not mean that when the time comes to defend our own country, or that of our allies, we should just sit and watch.
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    Jul 19 2011: when there is peace, war is just around the corner. it boils down to the fact the we are all driven by basic animal instincts; 'survival of the fittest'. The fact that we live in a world with depleting resources gives many leaders the perfect excuse to take up arms and protect their own or if need be, forcefully take from their neighbors. how do we solve this?? it is one of those things that it is only a problem for those people losing in the battle.
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    Jul 19 2011: "War is Over. If you want it." John and Yoko.
  • Jul 19 2011: By far the least intelligent question on TED
    • Jul 19 2011: thanks for participating
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      Jul 25 2011: The question begs an answer, and does not reflect the intelligence of the person asking the question. If you don't have a genuine response it would be respectful if you refrain from responding.
  • Jul 19 2011: Our primary instinct as man is the will to survive. Whether we like it or not war is an expression of that desire at a family, tribal, ethnic or national level! As soon as someone else is a threat to that survival or undermines it we should have the right to defend ourselves. War is unfortunately necessary even though i hate it! There will ALWAYS be greed and corruption, there will ALWAYS be an aggressor, there will ALWAYS be our fallen human nature. War is an instrument which can be used to bring about peace and happiness at the expense of some sacrifices of course, or a cruel weapon. Imagine there hadnt been a war and Hilter had won WW2, imagine the tyranny world wide, but because of war we some what enjoy global peace and just. (on a global scale not indidvidual countries)
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    Jul 19 2011: War is unnecessary. However it cannot be avoided, because of the nature of humans. There will always be those who hunger for power, those who feel the need the expand their nations borders, those who feel the need to prove they cannot be stepped on. The only solution I can think of, to avoid war, is creating a international court to govern all nations like our judicial system in the U.S., but the only way they could enforce their judicial decisions would be to use force. Then all it takes is for someone to declare war on the international court which would in-turn start world war 3. So other than that I do not see any way to prevent war. Unless someone else has any better ideas.
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      Jul 19 2011: The only solution is the unification of the world. The nations, the borders, they must disappear. The divisions among the people are unnecessary, they are necessary only to those who want war.
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        Jul 20 2011: However if we do not have competition between nations for better technology, energy, and health we will see a deterioration of those fields. Not only that but whose is going to stop those in the new world order from becoming tyrants and oppressing the civilians?
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          Jul 20 2011: On the contrary cooperation and sharing will greatly improve the innovation and development of technology in every fields of science. And about the topic of the "New World Order tyrants"; no war or acts of violence will work to stop them. They produce weapon, they sell them, as long as there will be a demand for weapon they will produce weapons and make money from those wars, even if any group would be willing to take arms against them, they would still need weapons to get to their objective of removing them from power.

          It is the whole economical system that must be replaced by something wiser than free market, nations have to unify if they want the wars to stop, the people must develop respect and peace so they can live amongst other people. All the religions must be wise enough to understand the need for peaceful unification, they must get rid of their hatred of other religions.

          Once every religions, every nations and most of the people on this planet will have agreed to be respectful to others and work as a whole, learn from each others and develop new views and cultural philosophies, then we will have made the first step toward world peace.
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    Jul 19 2011: Here we go -I know you're not ready for this answer but I'm going to say it anyway:
    Our hearts are in turmoil so we seek peace wherever we may find it externally–hence justifying wars. Yet, lately war has been used to justify freedom. It makes more sense since the basic premise of any fight (grandscale or not) is the privilege of being right -the privilege of asserting ones own authority over others. While having (rather, creating) a sense of order isn't a "bad" thing in my book, abusing that privilege of power is crossing the line. It makes sense that destruction is quite devastating and we want to preserve our species -but at the detriment of ALL living things? We create this absurd notion of "races" and proceed to try preserving a particular one by destroying all others (in all aspects). The most extreme case has been genocide! I've never seen any other life form try so hard to end its own species. Only humans do that. All in the name of (sacred) life. Humans need not outlive their usefulness all in the name of breaking the existing laws of nature! What I really find comfort in, is the fact that humans never change even when we endeavor to do so. There will always be wars such is the nature of balance.

    This answer is an excerpt from my book I'm writing where I address such an issues.
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    Jul 19 2011: I have yet to hear of a modern war that did not end in a net loss to all involved. Perhaps 200 yrs ago it was different. The cost of a standing army and "defense department" nowadays is accepted as normal but the cost in lost productivity is enormous. It can be argued that even the Romans with all their wars of conquest and sale of slaves did not in the end bankrupt themselves as they overextended and lost so many of their best people. If Hitler had stopped in 1938 with the Sudetenland he might now be ranked with Bismarck but his insane need for lebensraum and power cost the German people so much that even now they are not where they could have been if they had just built a peaceful state in 1938 and not lost more than a third of their men in destructive war. Phillip the 2nd went bankrupt 4 times with his glorious wars. Now if your question is if a truly defensive war is ever better than pacifism how can we know since it has never really been tried. The American Indians came close, they signed many peace treaties in between defensive wars.neither seemed to do much good. Tibet surrendered in 1949 and signed (under duress) a 19 point document guaranteeing their autonomy and the Chinese have the gall to still call Tibet an autonomous region on the map but all they seem to gotten is even less freedom and rights than Han Chinese. Iraq and Afghanistan may yet prove to be the straws that broke the American economy and marked the beginning of the ebb tide of American Dominance. Which war were you thinking of Tinashe? Are you suggesting that somebody try to get rid of Mugabe? Be patient he is older than Gaddaffi and must die soon, perhaps not soon enough for the citizens of Zimbabwe who are suffering now.
    The American PEOPLE have good intentions (the corporations are a different matter) in Libya, but so far it is not working well.
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      Jul 19 2011: as for Native Americans in order for those treaties to work the American government needs to actually keep its promise which it doesn't.
  • Jul 19 2011: @ Jake Vermillion,

    I saw someone do this when they couldn't actually reply, so I'm doing it..

    I actually have a fairly radical belief on what needs to be done in the world, and I don't entirely agree with Capitalism. I think if I could make some form of democratic communism, it'd be good. I totally agree with you on the subject on conflict.

    I actually know very little about economy, especially american economy. But I think I might understand what you're saying. My final thought is that: if the obsession with oil results in a war/harming of innocents, then it is up to the civilized people to either revolt, to stop oil use, or to find some other way of ending the conflict. Democracy, capitalism and social stability be damned. To me, if the cost of American stability (stable production of pornography, self-importance, undue-entitlement, ridiculous expenditures on war, ridiculously small expenditures on poverty) is war, then America either needs a revolution, or an intervention. (no offense on the pornography/self-importance part, I simply wanted to hilite the idea that America isn't some world-class leader in liberty and independance and production)
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    Jul 19 2011: Purely contextual, based on many factors. some issues can be solved in front of a court instead. other issues may be due to ignorance on both parts so the rest of the world has to say: 'get real' :whatever it takes.
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    Jul 19 2011: I think that War is genetically based, and therefore cannot be avoided. Deep within us there is a fear of others that stems back from early Evolution. We evolved in tight knit communities, and these communities learned that fear of other societies led to surival. Staying only within your group led to better survival of the group as a whole. Later, we evolved to fight with the other groups for domination of resources to further our survival. It is happening now with Silver Back Gorillas. Gorillas are now fighting with each other with weapons like rocks and sticks over territory and resources.

    If we look at all of this as a form primative xenophobia and extrapilate it to the present day, we find things like our inhibility to help others that live far away. An example of this comes from Peter Singer. I'm going to paraphrase, but essentially he says that if you had a pair of shoes that were worth 500 dollars, and saw a kid in a pond next to you that was drowning, you would more than likely help that child. Your 500 dollar pair of shoes are ruined, so in essence, it cost you 500 dollars to save that child, whereas you may not ever send 500 dollars over to Aftica to help some child there. This is a key concept with war. We protect our own, and try to expand our territories of our group at the cost of other groups. This is because we care less for them than ourselves or for those that are close to us.

    War cannot be avoided, unfortuanaly, and it is not a necessity, but a horrible consequence of an early evolutionary trait.
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      Jul 19 2011: I think this is an unnecessarily defeatist view. Humans have been waging massive wars only since the invention/development of centralized semi-anonymous decision-making bodies (churches, governments, military bodies) and that's not our entire history. If you look at tribal cultures they don't go to wars very often and when they do it's not something that would seriously affect the gene pool. More often the one or two people from tribe x who come across tribe y will have something to trade to be able to make the journey back to their home. The resources necessary to create a war to attack another village would be too much and risk losing too much.

      Modern society has it's flaws but if you look at recent events like the independence of South Sudan and it's acceptance into the UN as well as other major improvements towards peace I believe it's entirely possible to foresee a day when literally everyone is at peace due to a common understanding that stable populations, economic development and technological transhumanism benefit greatly from warless states.
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    Jul 18 2011: War is an unnecessary necessity.
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      Jul 18 2011: that is the dumbest smart remark ever
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      Jul 19 2011: Many people are ascribing MORALITY to war even when speaking of its economic or "genetic" origins. We make excuses (justifications) for war ~ but it's a balance. The stupid thing humans do is try playing god by becoming immortal by any means necessary "all for the 'good' of the people".
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    Jul 18 2011: "War can be an unpleasant experience but sometimes it seems like it is tool which can be used to bring about peace."

    You said it right there. War is necessary to retaliate the first aggressors. It might look silly to say that "greed is bad" when we are living in an increasingly ambitious, greedy and material-consuming world. But if not at the individual level, at least at the international level, greed leads to conflict. Then war is essential for self-protection.

    However, the notion of "first aggressor" is very tricky. How far back in history do you look to define who the first aggressor was? At the dawn of history, everyone was aggressing on everyone else. I guess it's safe to draw the line after distinct cultural differences evolved, and everyone was settled into specific territories. Then, someone attacks out of greed for more territory and resources or spread of religion. Then that is the first aggressor, and they should be retaliated.

    I see war totally eliminated only when the boundaries of nations are virtually erased. Like the European Union.
  • Jul 18 2011: It depends on the situation. If you're fighting over land or oil, then you need to check your values. If you're fighting to liberate, or to change for the better, then it's admirable...

    It's kinda like this : Do we go to war with Saudi Arabia because they have oil? OR do we go to war with Pakistan to bring justice to the victims of acid burning?
    • Comment deleted

      • Jul 19 2011: Since you're playing devil's advocate, I'm going to play...well... my own advocate, I guess.Warring for natural resource is not something a technologically inclined civilization should do. As advanced cultures, it is our responsibility to a)provide equal opportunity to other cultures, b) responsibly deal with our problems in a way that does not harm innocents, and c) not act rashly and without judgement, so as to avoid situations in which we might have to attack another party.To the next point: of course. Battles over oil reserves should be diplomatic. Advancement of technology should be important. BUT...We can't be ignorant of the world around us. Ignorance is causing/has caused global warming, which threatens every living creature. LIKEWISE, we can't be so wound up in our own advancement that we ignore the plight of others. We can't be so excited by the thought of peace that we ignore obvious problems. Would you ignore a growing melanoma because you didn't want chemo?Now, you could debate that the best way to solve situations is diplomatically. For instance, you could say that the best route to stop African warlords from killing entire villages over diamond mines would be to diplomatically explain to said warlors "that isn't nice". I would disagree: Some people should simply be killed, so they cannot breed ill things into the world again. Which could boil into an argument of "killing will only incite more killing" vs. "killing anyone violent/dangerous (however you would describe a warlord) would result in a lack of violent/dangerous people", but that's more of a philosophy question, and is not easily tested by science. But I understand what you mean. :) It really boils down to what is the moral thing to do.
        Edit: It won't let me reply to your latest, and I don't have space to do it here :( and I can't reply to you directly... FAIL Ted....
  • Jul 18 2011: War is another means of bringing peace or tyranny into a country as any other. Personally I think is morally acceptable whenever a dictator opposes freedom as a way of getting fundamental rights
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    Jul 18 2011: They Both are necessary but we as organization always fail to understand which one is required at an given instant. War and Peace both are outcomes of each other reasoning when either of them supersedes other.

    Precisely answering , the answer is always a choice by an individual , but rather always a group takes a decision not an individual and so they both [ WAR & Peace ] are manipulated.