Friday, February 22, 2013

Killing Warfare

From my weekly comments for Honors Colloquium:
“Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too - all his life long. The mind that judges and desire and decides - made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions... Suggestions from the State." -Director Malthus, Brave New World

This week’s topic was warfare and evil. Our class exercise on Wednesday focused on a replacement for warfare. All of our own attempts to replace warfare have accepted that warfare is a normal part of our society for which we must account; almost as a force of will, or power, because the tendency to war is seen as a part of human nature. But is it?


My first thought was to look to cultures that had no concept of war. What did they do differently? The short answer is socialization and scarcity. They do not socialize for warfare. It has not been normalized, taught, or propagated. To replace war, we must forget war. In addition, those cultures shared their abundance. Everyone had what everyone had, leaving very little to fight over. Does this lead to a solution? Yes!

Trained forgettery, as author Robert Heinlein put it in his seminal novel Friday, and cooperative distribution are both attainable societal traits. Using the Nash equilibrium and various bits of game theory, it becomes obvious that we can ‘remove the objective’ by redistributing the world’s scarce resources, in the manner of communism and socialism. The next problem then is the forgettery, which can be controlled Brave New World-style, with controlled development and ‘happy pills’. We have the science and the drugs. This war replacement scenario is attainable. However, once you have disposed of the ‘can’… You are left with the’ should’.

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