For thousands of years, throughout history and probably longer, there have been conflicts between groups, tribes, and nations. After all that time and progress in other areas of society, disputes and their causes have not improved one iota. They are worse because of advances in technology. From my perspective, it is time to try a fresh approach.
Perhaps an approach based upon Futilism may be of some help. Futilism is a philosophical approach to resolving seemingly unresolvable questions.
Futilism is the philosophy of opening doors to the hidden, to the illicit, and to what is beyond the obvious, the rational and apparent meaningful aspects of culture.
Introduction: The Futilistic Manifesto
Futilism is an approach to that which we usually turn our backs, because we fear it or because we do not see it, an approach to such questions traditionally considered futile.
In my essay, The Root of Conflict, I discuss the causes of conflict: in brief, a lack of understanding and forgiveness, an inability to see the other side of a question or the need to be “right.” The problem is, what causes that inability? Is it conscious or unconscious?
Machiavelli suggested there are two groups in every social group: the rulers and the ruled. For the rulers, the inability to see the other side of a question is usually a conscious decision. For were the other group’s perspective acknowledged, that could cause a loss of power or money. As for the ruled, they cannot accept another group’s Truth for fear or social pressure.
However, there is another group: those who are free, those willing to bear the threats, whether from religion, government, or peer groups.
An individual’s freedom, real freedom, is not possible without sacrifice in the so-called real world, that is the dream world in which most people live. In Walden, Thoreau describes the price paid to be genuinely free.
This spending of the best part of one’s life earning money in order to enjoy a questionable liberty during the least valuable part of it reminds me of the Englishman who went to India to make a fortune first, in order that he might return to England and live the life of a poet. He should have gone up garret at once.H. D. Thoreau
To be free, we need to determine what is essential and be willing to relinquish all that is not — our wants. In the modern world, that is no simple task. The constant bombardment of advertising, both direct and subliminal, planting the seed of a new want in our minds.
The removal of wants from our life is no mean task, one which we may never complete. But that does not mean that it is a futile task. It is possible, and many have embarked on that journey. Once we attain inner peace, we also will have true freedom.
17 May 2020
Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If in our heart, we still cling to anything — anger, anxiety, or possessions — we cannot be free
Thich Nhat Hanh
The Heart of Buddha’s Teaching