Some politicians, journalists, and scholars have started warning the global economic crisis of 2008-2011 may be worse than the Great Depression, a view that is very premature given the continued unfolding of government interventionist measures. Nevertheless, very few are interested in systemic change in the social order, political economy, defense establishment, and above all ‘business as usual’ ethos.
The sole interest of the political, financial and social elites is to preserve their privileged positions, not practical solutions best suited for the welfare of the entire world. Combined with several ongoing regional wars that involve great and smaller powers, and refusal of governments and docile public for the most part to sacrifice ‘defense overkill’ of both conventional and nuclear forces to achieve financial equilibrium and restore economic health, the economic crisis is indicative of a basic predilection not only in conventional political thinking but callous human nature.
Despite presumed higher intelligence than animals and lofty claims to reason, that distinguishes man from beast, humans may be the only species that destroys and kills its own species for pleasure rather than survival. A soldier (conventional or rebel) accepts self-sacrifice in the risk of killing and destroying not just for survival and a better way of life for his ‘tribe’, but often for the sake of an idea rooted in a god complex inculcated into the human mind. By glorifying and worshipping the power that brings destruction, humans – presumably guided by reason - are unique in the animal hierarchy.
Historically people support leaders not on the basis of the ability to build harmonious society for the welfare of all, but those rooted in antagonistic relationships similar to battlefield conditions. Like a wounded starving lion desperate to survive, a lion that must kill anything and everything in its path at any cost, man in the state of nature and in organized society is just as predatory.
Society conditions children from young age in aggressive lifestyles. In thought and skills, humans learn to lessen if not destroy the other, not for the necessity of survival as the wounded hungry lion but for domination, for satisfaction of the superego and the sense of feeling eternally alive. We live in organized hierarchical societies with elites guiding the masses for the past 5000 years; society that exacerbates the caveman killer instinct refined by technology and science and promoted by private and public institutions alike – all a reflection of human nature’s egocentric aggressive/destructive learned aspects.
And this is in all endeavors - from passively or proudly accepting weapons of mass destruction for our nation-state while denying them to the other we deem less worthy and/or menacing, to finding ways designed to elevate militarily, financially, socially, ethnically, politically, culturally, etc. ourselves and our ‘tribe’ at the expense, indeed to death, of the other. That such atomism with traits of self-hatred can be so deep-rooted in humans is indicative of self-destructiveness externalized, systematized, institutionalized, rationalized and worshipped.
Indeed, this is a testament that neither religions nor secular education from ancient times to the present has done much to alter man’s destruction instinct. On the contrary, with some exceptions mostly in ancient Oriental thought, opportunistically and/or dogmatically both religion and secular philosophy have accentuated man’s destruction instinct. The current global economic crisis is so serious and so threatening because elites responsible for the crisis refuse solutions beyond the perimeters that will deprive them of their privileged status.
How intoxicating and hypnotic in all its forms power must be just at the time that it seems to be disappearing from the minds of those who once enjoyed it. How wonderful that parasitic capitalists from bankers who continue to receive multi-million dollar bonuses despite their bank’s bailout funds emanating from the public, to cartel manipulators profiteering at the expense of billions of people, to merchants of fear selling terrorism on behalf of defense contractors?
How grand that general and politician agree with defense industry mogul to continue piling up weapons that in essence means much slower and far more painful economic recovery for billions of people, more destabilizing and less democratic world, greater insecurity for all? How fantastic that the wretched from the Philippines and Madagascar to Paris and Mexico City eat out of garbage dumps and landfills when the cats and dogs of the affluent enjoy a lifestyle befitting their master’s taste and ethos?