Beyond War, A New Way of Thinking


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“There was a time when, if you had a headache, drilling a hole in your skull to let out the bad spirits was an accepted method to get rid of the headache. That mode of thinking is gone, has disappeared such that when we get a headache today it never occurs to us to skull-drill to get rid of it. We don’t debate the merits of how to drill most effectively; we don’t opine on why it’s an awful idea; it simply never shows up in the range of possibilities we consider….”

Author: Jon McBride, a Beyond War volunteer and member of the Beyond War Speakers Bureau
Published in: Anderson Free Press in Madison County, Indiana (opinion page: http://www.andersonfreepress.net/types/opinion) and The Montana Standard in Butte, Montana
Date: December 23, 2008 and January 6, 2009

For the full article:
Beyond War, A New Way of Thinking
(459 words)
by Jon McBride

There was a time when, if you had a headache, drilling a hole in your skull to let out the bad spirits was an accepted method to get rid of the headache. That mode of thinking is gone, has disappeared such that when we get a headache today it never occurs to us to skull-drill to get rid of it. We don’t debate the merits of how to drill most effectively; we don’t opine on why it’s an awful idea; it simply never shows up in the range of possibilities we consider.

Today, however, when we get into conflict and feel sufficiently threatened by the “other,” it’s okay, according to our current mode of thinking, to pick up the biggest stick we can find and whack the other ’til they’re dead or they surrender. Pushed out to its Loony Tunes extreme, we give that a name – “war.”

Problem – 60-some years ago the human species, in all its “homo sapiens” wisdom, learned how to split the atom, and then took that process and turned it into weapons, really big “sticks,” and then built so many of those weapons that the detonation of just 1 – 2% of those devastating sticks would not only whack the “other” but would whack the whacker, and all of life as we know it, as well.

Boom!

4 1/2 billion years of life on this planet is at risk based on how we elect to resolve our earthly conflicts. “They” may be dead wrong. “We” may be dead right. Or vice versa. No matter. The common denominator doesn’t work.

What does this mean? It means we as a species have moved beyond war as a means to resolve our conflicts. Continuing to behave as though we have not moved beyond war is hazardous to our health. To all of us. We don’t get to vote on that. We are inextricably joined together and the ongoing survival of each of us is dependent on the “other” because of this.

So, since conflict is not going anywhere (that is, it will always occur), and if what we call war as a means to resolve it does not go away, then we, as a species, are going to go away. If we don’t end war the same way we ended trephining (skull drilling), if war as a means to resolve conflict does not simply end as a possibility when conflict resolution alternatives show up in our collective heads, then we, as a species, will be ended on the planet as an experiment that did not work.

If we’re going to survive as a species we need to adopt a new way of thinking about conflict. That’s what “Beyond War – A New Way of Thinking” is all about.

Wanna help? Contact Beyond War: beyondwar@beyondwar.org

Jon McBride is a Beyond War volunteer and member of the Beyond War Speakers Bureau, living in Chevy Chase Maryland, and is President of McBride Associates, Inc., a governance consulting firm in Washington, D.C.