An Exigency of Caliber
“All war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal.” (Steinbeck)
On March 20th, 2003 I took this picture as my convoy crossed the breach into Iraq. We were the first Marines to lead the march up to Baghdad. I returned with a heavy conscience and apprehension for our future causing me to bury most feelings involving this subject. But current events in our country’s global affairs have given me the courage to revisit my past experiences and explore the foundations within ourselves that advocate violence and war. This is not for justification of my actions but an effort to resolve the enduring question; has war always been inevitable within the human race? Did it transcended from a biological imprint within our psyche or is it a condition devised by our temperament which can be undone? Some people believe in a deep-root theory, that this predisposition to violence is a component of evolution. E. O. Wilson is considered the “father of Sociobiology” and is a respected scientist in his field. In his article “Is War Inevitable”, he mentions an old parable. A scorpion wants to ride on the back of a frog across a stream. The frog hesitates at first but then realizes that if the scorpion stings him while they’re in the water they will both perish. So the frog agrees and halfway across the water the scorpion stings him. As they both drown the frog asks why he did that. The scorpion replied “because it’s in my nature.” Further in this article Wilson argues that war is “human’s hereditary curse”, and explains that, with the necessity of survival, our prehistoric ancestors have handed down over generations the “engrained” social behavior of competition and contention towards each other. These instincts, he says, started as small tribes of homo-sapiens fought over territories of land during the hunting and gathering era. Food was scarce so territorial conflict was an imminent product of this situation. Even with the...
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