“History cannot give us a program for the future, but it can give us a fuller understanding of ourselves, and of our common humanity, so that we can better face the future”. (Robert Penn Warren)
By now, people have gone through a lot of painful events that have changed mankind once and for all. The countless revolutions, battles, and wars, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, are all the things that give an impulse for new steps and changed directions, even though we cannot deny the fact that there have always been detrimental influences at work: broken lives and families, destroyed cities and countries, suffering, and helplessness. It seems that having experienced all this consternation, we should have become careful and peaceful creatures, caring about our well-being and peacefulness. Unfortunately, as we can see, this is far from the truth.
From the very earliest ages, when people first began to create communities in the form of tribes, there was a subconscious understanding that the one who wins in a conflict becomes powerful, or respected, or simply the one whom others fear. Reflecting on real historical events, people have come to believe that conflicts, fights, and battles are a way of taking control. Moreover, they have become much more experienced and smarter in the sense of dealing with conflict situations and benefiting from them.
Nowadays, as the demands of people are growing, the level of the seriousness of conflict situations is growing as well. It becomes more and more hazardous since we have nuclear weapons of mass destruction, modern equipment, and means to deliver force that people have never had before. It is vital to understand that this is no longer just about control but about the safety of the whole of mankind, which can be easily placed in jeopardy.
Some may say that we, simple mortals, cannot influence the situation at the highest level and that indeed, common people are fighting for peace. However, the truth is that violence among peoples is growing (to the Office for National Statistics), the demand for cruel movies/videogames is still high, and hatred and aggression are still present, all of which makes people ticking time bombs.
What is interesting here is that only after catastrophic events do people tend to become more careful and kind. This creates the impression that we simply forget the value of good things, relationships, and peace in general until the next conflict arrives. We are falling asleep, getting used to positive things, and conflict for us is a sort of waking up or a reminder to learn that we should appreciate our well-being and peace until it is gone. However, why should we wait for that moment? Why not start right now to create a better place to be? Inch by inch, slowly but continuously and confidently.
Does history teach us that we must live in peace? Yes. Do we really learn and use this knowledge? We can judge on our own. However, the fact remains that, as long as people fight for peace instead of starting to create it, the lessons of the past will not teach us how to build the future we all are so eager to have.