It’s all very silly, when you think about it. When you sit back and look around. When you’re old, like me – when the end of your life is a whole lot closer than the beginning and you’ve lived through constant global crises and dramas. And wars. And you have time to cut out the rhetoric and propaganda and hysteria and ask yourself what any of it achieved for the betterment of the human condition and the answer you come up with is Since WWll, bugger all.
The world is in worse shape now than it was 60 years ago, and for why? Because our fearless leaders can’t resist seeing reds under the bed and catastrophe in the closet and terrorists in the tealeaves, and demanding we fall on our swords for the sake of our respective nations and our way of life.
What a load of hooey! Because however they dressed it up at the time – and maybe in some cases they even deluded themselves – it was never about right and idealism and the good of mankind. It was about might and the glory of victory (which never happened) and in many cases, ensuring ongoing access to resources the other guy had and they wanted. It was about coming out on top and proving themselves the mightiest of the mighty.
But even if it was about all those things they’d like us to believe, would that make these conflicts acceptable? Not to me. What is truth? said Pontius Pilate, and he turned out to be a whole lot wiser than George Bush or George W Bush or Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden or Putin or Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un or… fill in the gap. Which one of us could possibly have the wisdom or the perspective or the divine knowledge to say ‘This truth is absolute. Our culture and our beliefs are right and yours are wrong’?
And in the final analysis, does it matter anyway? Again, not to me. I know millions would disagree with me. Millions of Christians, for a start. And millions of Muslims. All convinced that theirs is the only truth and the only way to salvation – whatever salvation is and for whatever reason they care whether the rest of us are saved. Or possibly don’t care but jump on the bandwagon for the feeling of fellowship and the sense of purpose otherwise lacking in their lives.
Cynical? Perhaps. But what do the vast majority of us really want when it comes right down to it? We want to get on with our lives. We want to be left in peace to go about the business of doing our jobs and supporting our families and enjoying our friends. We don’t want to be heroes, most of us. We’re happy to let other people believe what they want to believe as long they don’t thrust it down our necks and demand we change our beliefs to suit them. I’d say it’s a pretty safe bet that right at this minute, most North Koreans are thinking about exactly the same things as most Americans: what’s for dinner, what are kids up to, does he/she love me, can I pay the bills this month. And it’s an even safer bet that the millions of lost souls in refugee camps care far more about food than ideologies.
And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it. People. We don’t give a f***** f*** about Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un and who’s got the biggest and the best. We just want to build our houses and chop our wood and make our gardens grow. We want them to get over themselves and shut up and go away, so that we can get on with what we’re here to do: live.