There is a basic duality to existence. From position and momentum, to be or not to be, life and death, good and evil, a duality that pervades all. Thus, I must assume that whoever coined the phrase that there are two sides to every coin must have had a deep understanding of physics and of life. Thus, for every achievement (a positive result), there is a de-chievement (a negative result) of human effort. I do not mean to imply that the two are inseparable by the explanation of Einstein that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. What I am trying to say is that humans can build or destroy by choice alone: an achievement does not bring into existence nor does it cause a de-chievement. The two opposites are merely results of human effort and are not necessarily connected otherwise.
Among the worst and most horrid of human de-chievements is war. As Phillip Wylie once remarked in his book, A Generation of Vipers, war means that reason has filed. Reason - the most notable aspect of the human species - arises from non-instinctual behavior. And while science may not be able to explain just how non-instinctual behavior has given rise to individuality and to abstract thought and to reason, it exists. Yet reason is beset by flaws. It is not as accurate as the migratory habits of the birds and the Monarch butterfly. It is not nearly as dependable as the hibernating behavior of the bears. But it is all we have as humans. Things that are instinctual just seem to work better in maintaining a given species than does our reasoning ability. Could we not then view "reason" as a negative step in biological evolution? We see in the record of the rocks many mistakes by natural selection. Those species with major mistakes could not cope with the environment and, thus, drifted away into extinction.
We only need to briefly peruse human history to realize that "reason" may have been a mistake by the evolutionary process at work in nature. It is a goof. But a goof with a tragic perhaps unforeseen difference: it may well destroy the very process on this planet that brought it into being. If that is the case, then reason is nature's worst mistake and we are nature's most despicable creature.
Wars are not won, they merely end. For the death and devastation and disease beget by war on both sides can never be called a victory. I do not believe that war is inevitable. It comes about by reasoned choices. The reasons may be wrong but they are made by choice. No war is justified because with compassion and concern all wars could be averted. No war is justified but one may be forced to fight because the actions of another leave no other choice.
Suffice it to say that I am not a pacifist. But when the actions of another seek to enslave my actions, deter me from my goals, and threaten my right to be, and I cannot disway the other from his course of action -- then I must fight. For reason has failed. And reason has failed us as the many wars of human history will attest.
In knowing my beliefs the reader has every right to inquire of me: how does this belief in reason as nature's goof square with the belief in an all compassionate first cause? Man, of course I answer, is a favored species. As is all species which have enjoyed the role of dominance during the earth's life history. But the fact that we are a favored species is no guarantee of permanency. For as is well known, a species' quality that brings about dominance is also that species greatest liability as environment changes in the ever changing process of overall cosmic evolution. However, with non-instinctual behavior came choice. We as a species can act one way or the other. We have at times chosen both paths. When we allow choices detrimental to survival, war will invariably result. And with the power of the stars at our hands, those choices become critical for our survival. We all know for a fact that love, compassion and concern for our species and our planet will always lead us to certain decisions. Greed, bigotry and hate will always bead to opposite decisional consequences. We have been aware of this as a species since first we learned to learn. If our decisions enhance life, prolong the beauty and effort of the process that brought about life then the decisions are right. For at this point comes the distinction of what is moral. And if this type of morality extends the process and enhances the process then these decisions must some how be related in kind to that process that beget the entire cosmos -- the First Cause. Believing that there is a force or thing that caused the spark that caused the universe and thus caused us, then I must believe that it is good, for the universe is good! It has to be good if I am to believe that life is good. And if this process in which I believe beget the universe, then I must believe that this process or force or being is in control of its offspring to some degree. Therefore, war is an antithesis to this belief. War is not a result of a compassionate First Cause. It arises out of a goof in natural selection that given rise to independent thought, and, thus, greed. The universe, the entire process of cosmic evolution is not perfect. Only its creator is perfect; for the created is NEVER the equal to the creator. It is a scientific fact. War is man's choice, never God's. No matter what the causes, no matter what the reasons, God aches when humans march to war. It is our lowest de-chievement as a species.
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