Why can’t we just get along?
Why does Vladimir Putin choose to attack and attempt to put Ukraine under his control? Why did Donald Trump choose to orchestrate a coup and attempt to put Government of the United States of America’s under his control? Why did Dick Cheney choose to invade and attempt to put Iraq and its oil under his control? Why did Adolf Hitler choose to conquer Western Europe and attempt to put the world under his control? Why did Joseph Stalin choose to invade, annex, and put Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan under his control? Why did Alexander choose to conquer and put the world under his control?
We conquer other countries because we covet their land, minerals, oil, timber, agriculture, workers. Too often we view conquered and others who speak, believe, and behave differently than we do inately defective, even sub-human. Nazi Germany considered Jews as a mongrel race.
I resist clichés, but it’s important to understand that presidents, caesars, emperors, czars, kings, prime ministers, dictators, and warlords are the visible ten percent of the iceberg. Below the waterline, the rest of us maneuver and manipulate.
For humankind’s earliest progenitors, life depended on controlling our environment and cohorts. Bears and wolves viewed Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons as dinner! Logically, the biggest, badest, caveman tended to survive. Hunkered by the campfire, survival of individuals and our species hinged on the strong and clever claiming dibs on the last scrap of roast beast and unrestricted liberty to pass on his genes.
On the heels of our cave-dwelling experience, humankind’s need to control grew more sophisticated and clannish. Through the Dark Ages and Renaissance warring fiefdoms conquered distinct areas of what became Europe. This scenario predated and played across Asia and Africa.
From caves to continents, Cave Bears to Atomic Bombs, our need to control other people is rooted in fear. Rationale thinking recognizes wise and tragic sides of fear. Our caveman experience validated the wisdom of fear. Fear of nature, fear of people who appear, speak, believe, and behave differently than our Clan. We teach children “stranger danger.” Wise, because a tiny fraction of people wants to hurt us. Tragic because the vast majority do not!
Regarding Anne Meara, his wife of sixty years, funny man Jerry Stiller observed—as memory serves—she’s “not hard to live with. You just have to put up with her.”
Will humankind ever realize Jerry’s wisdom and “just . . . put up with” each other?