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How Does The Divide Affect Us?

Humans are gregarious beings. We are not meant for isolation, but coexistence. When we divide ourselves, we are bound to fail in our efforts to live. The divisions we have mounted between ourselves have cost us a lot, physically and mentally. Rather than give ourselves to growth and development, we are mired in antagonism and backwardness. Even our achievements are not true achievements because our divisions water them down. For instance, developments in health are usually more accessible to certain races and classes. The same with technology. Development that does not favor the entire human race is wanting. War is, perhaps, the most devastating effect of division. Since the beginning of civilized society, countless wars have been fought, countless lives lost, countless destructions brought upon mankind and the planet. We’ve had numerous conquests on tribal levels, colonization and attendant battles, crusades and jihad, world wars, cold wars, revolutions and insurgencies in countries and regions. And the aftermath of all those is always the same: numerous unnecessary deaths, grief, deepened anger and hate, impoverishment, rubbles where there were once cities, hunger. There is always rebuilding to do after wars. Some take years. Some never happen. People are broken beyond repair. The environment suffers. Scarce resources are used to decimate humanity, rather than to protect it. When you think of it this way, war never makes sense. Yet, our leaders and governments engage in it all too often and with a lot of enthusiasm. Most of it all boils down to ego, and a deep lack of an understanding of our common humanity

War begets war. It does not solve the problem. Most wars are hinged on the egos of the perpetrators. Nobody wants to step down and take the high road. Everyone wants to show their strength, to assert their dominance. In war, there is no place for understanding, for empathy. War strips us of our humanity. That is the only way we can pick up a gun and shoot another person, who is just like us, who is an extension of ourselves. Beyond the physical aftermath of war, is its psychological effect. War strips us of trust. Nobody believes the other person. Rather, everyone is on guard, ready to be on the offensive at the slightest trigger. That is no way to live. How do we enjoy peace when we do not expect it to last?

On the interpersonal plane, these divides prevent us from achieving the highest level of happiness possible. In a world of divides, there are always those hurt and those who perpetrate the hurt. Neither party is happy. As war begets war, so also does hurt beget hurt. The victim will always seek to hurt the victor and overthrow them. The victor will always seek to maintain their victory at the expense of the victim.

The environment also suffers in a divided world. We maintain our divides at the expense of mother nature. Nuclear weapons and guns and other machineries of war are provided by giant arms industries that pollute the environment. Metals are mined haphazardly to keep the supply high enough to meet the demands. Each year the defense budget of the big countries boggle our minds. In 2020, the defense budget of the United States was a whopping $714 billion. And no country wants to cut down and save the Earth because that would mean giving up their control and authority. Issues that need more attention, like rising poverty and unemployment levels, end up not getting as much attention as they should because we are busy maintaining our divides. We may not know it, but these divides culminate in affecting our mental health adversely. The rate of depression and anxiety has increased exponentially in modern times. More people are dying by suicide than normal. In dividing ourselves, we seem to have ignored how we are linked to each other, how we depend on each other for a fulfilled life. When we isolate and hurt ourselves, we are bound to feel the ripple effect. Fewer people feel happy these days. Even when you feel good, the news comes around and destabilizes you. We are truly alike, which is why bad news about what’s happening to another person deeply saddens us.

In more ways than we acknowledge, the divide is doing us more harm than good.

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