the myth of war
According to an article there has been a scientific research conducted by the American Academy of Sciences in the USA that proves that war has been beneficial to humanity's progress... :
Surely war is the opposite of civilisation? But a study in the Proceedings of the [American] National Academy of Sciences makes a powerful case that war has also been the driving force behind the emergence of civilised societies – roughly speaking, those organised enough to have social relationships run on an impersonal basis, with bureaucracies and networks of mutual trust that allow you to deal with a stranger in the reasonable confidence that you won't be killed.
And of course, Gus recognises that the nation that has mostly benefited from this state of affairs is the nation that would have been at war since its inception: the USA. The lying nation (see "The Age of Deceit").
But is this research telling the whole story or is it fiction or is it an aberration of computerised input?
Data analysis can be devastatingly correct, though we might choose to ignore it. Data analysis can also be slanted for a particular result, especially when it studies the relative behaviour of humans and the psychology of what we do...
I have no idea what input was fed into the computer to arrive to its conclusion, but already Brown, the article's author, points out that:
It's easy to think of possible counter-examples. The history of western Europe from about 400AD to 1400AD is one of almost continuous warfare with very little state building indeed and that very slow. The idea that this is a law of history is obviously ridiculous. But it is a tendency, and a mechanism, which can be seen at work.
VICTORIES AND DEFEATS
Most of nature is based on aggression and reactivity, including submission, to it... We survive by stealing proteins. Most animal species have mechanisms of warfare against enemies and prey. Most animal species are weary of others except in rare cases of need or accidental synergies. Some individuals of some species who at most time would fight each other will be found together when the need to survive is stronger than the "impulse" to fight.
Our own body fights a loosing battle against death. But we fight diseases for quite a while, successfully. We have armies of cells dedicated to fight and our system produces "antibodies" that are poisons designed to kill foreign invaders. It's life.
But this does not mean that the invention of war machines are the only mechanisms that drives progress. In fact when we are under attack, say from the flu, our body is ill — we are somewhat unable to perform at our best... Our defence mechanism weakens our abilities in order to defeat the invader. We use drugs to help along, but most drugs actually mask the symptoms of our fight, they rarely defeat the "bugs". Our own internal fight is either the victor or the defeated...
In war, the victors take the spoils, while the defeated often lose their right to exist. For them there is no progress, just acceptance of one's lot or a downhill spiral that can only be stopped by secret revenge to defeat the "temporary" victors.
ROMAN CIVILISATIONS BEING DEFEATED BY BARBARIC HORDES
But sometimes it's a bit more complicated by other's desires to rob you of your wealth and power, or simply you have grown so big, you have had to make some unstable alliances that are now biting you in the bum... Those allies you have given "your" conquered extended territory to fight may have the technology but not the will to fight to the death like the hordes of the Huns and others... And suddenly your might and your technology are useless because your spirit and that of your allies has gone soft...
Your armies are too well fed.
Commerce can have a bigger input on technology development than warfare. Warfare erodes the spirits. Commerce is a form of benign and peaceful warfare in which we try to outdo the competitors within rules in which no one usually gets killed...
Science is the antithesis of religion. For most of the times, religions have been the drivers of war... Even people who claimed that Hitler was an atheist are wrong. Like many kings and emperors before him, he made alliances with religious figures and he believed in god in his own way — like all of us (except me and other non-believers — I am an atheist) do. Most wars have been driven by charismatic charlatans who use fodder to achieve their ugly dreams... The response if usually a fight back that can involve the construction of protective walls from the attacked. Thus defenders need to be smarter than attackers in order to survive the onslaught.
Science can be used in war or in peace, but the idea of science is mostly a peaceful one, where the understanding of the mechanics of life is paramount, in which the general curiosity is far more important than the application of devastating technologies. This was Oppenheimer's dilemma.
There are of course variations on the theme in which war becomes more and more targeted and/or pre-emptive. small fodder dies...
A STUDY DESIGNED TO DISCREDIT COMPUTER MODELLINGS IN GENERAL?
Thus I am prepared to believe that this study is somewhat flawed because it involves the study of intent and the will of warfare. Not so strangely since the end of World War II, we have acquired the power to annihilate life on the entire planet, thus some bright minds have worked out a better way to progress in peace rather than warfare — a warfare that could destroy all.
There are still skirmishes of course, mostly fought under the religious banners of fundamentalism on all sides... The responses and tit-for-tats are unfortunately dragging the tone of progress down as the families of those who are killed will seek revenge far more than accept cash in hand... though they might take the contrition welded cash as well.
Are we still at war? Yes, we are, but less than in some of our past... Does this mean that progress is going to slow down? No. But we manage to keep the "invaders" at bay using sophisticated technologies, some of which have been invented for peace. Is war necessary for invention and progress? No way!...
War and disagreement are often in the way of progress and enlightenment. War is a scourge on humanity's note books. We can do better than kill others for whatever ideology we choose... The price is not the invention of anything, the cost is death.
Meanwhile the China and the Russia are gearing up, hiding their real capability while the top dog is being shown for a deceitful animal. "The US does not have allies.... It has vassals and enemies." That's the line taken by the French, once more.
But the study can show that war can also reduce the ability to develop humanity... Some fighting hordes never invented much because of limiting factors: availability of material, no-one was clever enough to develop technologies and the lack of cropping seeds reduced the ability to be far more than war. Though people may have fought for seeds...
INVENTION AND MILITARY TECHNOLOGY
Boredom and religion are far more restrictive of technology than war has a progressive input... Boredom stuffs things up and religion needs tradition — thus a disincentive to improve or change in order to survive. Only the inquisitive minds — including those who have been clever enough to use the charlatans powers of kings and the devious religious dictums to fund their "research into the reality" have promoted humanity's inventions.
A lot of inventions were not for warfare such as Zuse's computer or the velcro. Even Percy Spencer's invention of the microwave oven or Edison's electric light had nothing to do with war, though Spencer used to work for war radars... In fact it can be proven these days that private "patents" have improved humanity's progress far more than warfare. Mind you the way some companies fight over invention and breach of patent, one could think it was warfare, but it's only dippy disputes in the courts.One of the least military invention but most applicable to our better relationships with animals is Kitty Litter... Kitty Litter?... WOW...
KNOWINGNESS PLACING A STOP ON INVENTIONS AND DEVELOPMENTS
Once one "knows", one stops to look... This is the problem with religion... Everything is dogmatised and thus everything is given as a known whether it's correct or not... It's mostly crap... It's all crap, but then it fuels wars with purpose: Mohammed, the Jews, the Christians— all used religious fervour to fuel their crusades against someone else... and demolish their walls. The bible is full of it.
RICH AND POOR
Ultimately, the rich win the war — the war of disinformation. the poor cannot afford the bugle. Often the poor stays poor because he/she could not careless about riches, except that of nature and of non-costed beauty... Yet the rich need the poor to show up their wealth. And we get a constant reminder in magazine for the rich: The average punter made no real money in the last few years, while the rich ONE PER CENT increased their wealth beyond their own dreams... Does this improve the human lot? who knows... But the rich fund and dictate the war to send the poor to fight for... and hypocrisy rules...
Hypocrisy is a powerful weapon, far more efficient than any gun. Hypocrisy and madness are the triggers of wars...