Watching the news each day is a horror story. It really is. My day normally starts with me rolling out of my bed and whilst I am rubbing the sleep out of my eyes and I am gulping down my first cup of coffee for the day, I flick onto the world news channel and catch up on what has happened in the world overnight. This morning my screen was full of terror and drama as graphic reports were beamed in on the bombing at the Boston marathon. I also saw footage of missiles being towed into firing position in North Korea and I then heard journalists impassively giving the weekly casualty statistics from the war in Afghanistan and I saw vision of new unrest in Iraq and Syria and Palestine.
It was a very depressing start to the day.
I just don't get wars and violence. I can't relate to it and I can't for the life of me see why we allow it and condone it.
What the fuck are we doing to each other and why?
I have tried reading books on the subject to see if I can work any of it out but all I could really establish is that there are common themes of madness and religion and hatred. There are struggles for power and politics that are hopelessly intertwined with economics and greed and poverty. There are seemingly unending cycles of anger and cruelty and wickedness. It is pornographic and it is evil and it is a nightmare.
At the moment I feel like I am drowning in despair.
I read today that more than 14,500 wars have been recorded between 3500 BC and the late twentieth century and over three and a half billion people have been direct casualties.
Three and a half billion!
Just as we are biologically designed to procreate and propagate we seem to be equally programmed to destroy each other. Violently and viscously and indiscriminately. The same source of these horrendous statistics suggested that in a little under 5000 years of recorded history there have only been 300 years without conflict. In the six years that World War Two was fought more than one hundred and eight million people were killed.
I know that there is beauty and kindness and serendipity out there but just watching the news today I have a horrible feeling that humanity is doomed. This feeling is an aching throb in the pit of my stomach. With technology advancing at such a rapid rate we seem determined to find more and more terrible and efficient ways of destroying each other.
We are our own weapons of mass destruction.
When the atom was first split in the 1940's and the first nuclear device was detonated on the people of Japan the genius Albert Einstein commented that:
"I know not with what weapons that World War Three will be fought with - but World War Four will be fought with sticks and stones".
I want to hope that there is hope but after watching the news this morning I can't help but feel terrified that such days will soon be upon us. We seem to be charging down an unstoppable path to annihilate ourselves.
I fear for my children and my as yet unborn children's children.
I really do.
And I feel terribly despondent.