On May 27, 2016, President Obama went to Hiroshima, Japan, where 71 years ago, on a sunny day, destruction fell from the sky in the form of an crude Atomic Bomb.
In the aftermath, over 100,000 Japanese, thousands of Koreans, and a dozen Americans held captive were vaporized in an instant.
In a ceremonial wreath laying ceremonial, the President gave a short speech that reached back into our animal past and biology. I thought that part of his words were very insightful and his remarks show great wisdom in connecting our biological ties to our early human ancestry:
President Obama: It is not the fact of war that sets Hiroshima apart. Artifacts tell us that violent conflict appeared with the very first man. Our early ancestors having learned to make blades from flint and spears from wood used these tools not just for hunting but against their own kind. On every continent, the history of civilization is filled with war, whether driven by scarcity of grain or hunger for gold, compelled by nationalist fervor or religious zeal. Empires have risen and fallen. Peoples have been subjugated and liberated. And at each juncture, innocents have suffered, a countless toll, their names forgotten by time.
“The world war that reached its brutal end in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was fought among the wealthiest and most powerful of nations. Their civilizations had given the world great cities and magnificent art. Their thinkers had advanced ideas of justice and harmony and truth. And yet the war grew out of the same base instinct for domination or conquest that had caused conflicts among the simplest tribes, an old pattern amplified by new capabilities and without new constraints.”
The question that remains: As a species, are we intelligent enough and have the courage to understand the why and the consequences of such human behavior?:
Do the males who dominate our major governments and legislatures have the insight to understand that it is the male gender that nurtures and celebrates the “base instincts for domination or conquest,” that have caused conflicts among the simplest tribes?” And that males are the major cause of conflict? – for evil, and efforts to dominate?
But females are not completely innocent.
Do we have the intelligence to understand that the female attaches herself to top-tiered males in order to provide the best opportunities for her progeny – at the expense of those female that live in the lower social hierarchies?
Will we, as a species, understand that we are all biologically related and that we should care for all equally as a relative who is close?
As I sit in my comfortable home in Colorado on this warm and sunny day, I have my doubts.
Even though we appear to be in a lull between horrible wars, to me, it appears that storm clouds of greed are gathering beyond the gates. And why is one of the American Presidential hopefuls remind me of Hitler and Mussolini, spewing forth filth of dominance and control to an eager audience that cheers him on that wants to regain what they see as their lost power and destiny?
This wonderful journey of humankind has so much potential. Are we intelligent enough as a species to maintain peace and prosperity? Or are we doomed to repeat history of constant conflict?