It's War Wednesday folks!
Trump and Biden are at each other's throats. There's plenty of animosity in the air, but you wouldn’t actually call this war.
I'm left wondering - if we're not at war, are we at peace? Are Trump and Biden debating or hating? Are China and India baiting or hating? I agree we're not at war, but this does not feel like peace either. And if this is what peace is like, I don't want it.
I'd rather have war. I'd rather draw the battle lines. I'd rather know that the world as I know it, has been uprooted. I'd choose the predictability of war over the unpredictability of peace. I'd choose to know that I have to battle my fellow human vs having to second guess each time if I should love or hate.
When two nations are not at war, they engage in trade. Economics of trade is the need and greed that keeps two countries from warring. Sanctions are the first steps towards conflict. Opening trade is a sign that trust and co-operation are possible.
But need and greed often best satisfied by war rather than peace. The economics of war may be disastrous to the nation-state, but money flows as freely as blood. Even in peace, the unholy trinity of drugs, guns, and human trafficking are merrily at work, as they are during war.
So, even peaceful trade cannot truly keep nations happy together. That's because...
The opposite of war is not peace. It is play!
We don't want war. All of us can agree on that. We need peace. You will agree with that. But that is NOT enough. Peace is a vacuum left behind by the absence of war. And that's a start of course.
What can we fill in it's place, if not war?
Trade has been the default alternative. Trade is work - employment to citizens of both nations. There is a motivation for citizens to interact, understand, and not fear each other. Money motivates, but if war offers as much monetary incentive if not more, peace will always be fragile and unpredictable. So we want an end to war and need more than just peace.
Play, not work.
Fun, not profit.
Strangers can be Playmates
I've grown up with the constant tirade echoing in my ears "Don't talk to strangers!"
Strangers are always considered dangerous. Modern culture has made aliens out to be vile, villainous, and eager to pillage and plunder our planet for their own nefarious ends. It does amuse me endlessly, as this sounds exactly like what we're doing.
How strange must one be to warrant suspicion and distrust? We don't need little green men in circular spaceships. Anyone on the wrong side of the border will do just fine, thank you. Anyone and anything unfamiliar to my simple sensibilities deserves to be lynched or at the very least barred from entering my lands. Why? Because they'll take away our jobs.
So there you have it. Work again. Let’s try play instead, shall we?
Play with your Food
I was taught the opposite, but what if we could play with food? Share recipes for starters. See what I did there. No really, food is easily the most uniting factor on our planet currently. The United Nations is barely united even in ceremony, let alone in reality. Diplomats and embassies have done less for cross-cultural interactions than chefs and their restaurants. You could enjoy burgers in India or dosas in the USA with zero friction. Wish I could say the same for embassy operations between the two countries.
Break Hearts, not Bones
We have exchange student programs and war games between nations' armies. Throughout history, nation-states have bypassed war by forging alliances via marriage. Perhaps we ought to encourage official international and intercultural marriages within the citizens of warring states. Marriage is in itself an attempt to build a cohesive relationship between two uniquely different individuals. Sharing personal bonds will turn cultural differences into common celebrations.
The Olympics has been bringing nations together for a long time now. But why should we wait for 4 years? Mankind has always existed in small tribes with different dialects and unique cultural eccentricities. Modern civilization and large city-states are only a blip on the timeline. Smaller tribes are making a come back and are all the rage on Interwebs today. Reviving forgotten or crushed tribal games will bring in a new era of playful exchange of testosterone. Without blowing up into full fledged war.
Language of Technology
The great unifying factor today is not English, but code. Let us educate children by teaching them to program instead of teaching them to read. Literacy may be overrated as a metric when you're likely to be flipping a burger or riding a tuk-tuk even after passing out of school. Hell, many MBAs are driving Ubers. Teaching children to code teaches them to create; a business for themselves and a service for others. This can be more empowering than paper degrees.
The 70s wanted to give peace a chance but war won. Maybe it's time to give play a chance.
Here's your game for the day. Pick one person you are at war with. Share a meal, play a game, sing a song or go on a date together.
If you're rooting for Biden, say hello to a Trump supporter and share a drink. (not the one you spat in!) and vice versa. Or maybe just watch the debates together and rejoice in the company, not the content.
It doesn't matter what your choices and preferences in life are. We're not going to make the world a better place by making either side win. The world will only be a better place when we learn to play with each other. Win or lose, we can hold each other up and share a happy meal. After all, that's what makes a meal happy - sharing! Ah, right on cue 👇🏼