In the 5th century, the philosopher Plato insightfully noted, ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war,” with history showing this to be true. People have continued to engage in all manner of conflicts, be they petty arguments or large-scale confrontations from which valuable lessons have been learnt about human nature and the present. History has revealed the flaws and primitive nature of people irrespective of the mistaken belief that progress has led to civilisation and order. Past conflicts teach that individuals, communities and even nations do not learn from past mistakes but continue to repeat them and that despite eventually being resolved, the effects have the ability to linger and haunt subsequent generations. History also teaches that conflict invariably occurs when people or nations act for self-interest and personal gain, or and when uncompromising authorities exploit their absolute power over citizens to ensure their authority remains unquestioned. Also by understanding the causes of past conflicts, individuals may reflect on their own behaviours and hopefully prevent them from occurring in the present, or if they do, provide a guide as to how to best minimise the damage they cause by knowing how to resolve them quickly and equitably before they spread beyond the main combatants which they invariably do.
History has shown that conflict emerges as a result of individuals’, groups and even nations’ subjectivity relating to their needs, values interests. It is during these periods of heightened emotions that individuals are required to re-evaluate notions of right and wrong, and in the process, forced to choose between their beliefs and desires, and the negative consequences to others. The duality of human nature, largely the result of the inability to control our emotions sees people become reactionary and fail to act rationally or morally without consideration of the ramifications of their actions. History has shown that ignorance and...
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