There was a time when people lived clustered in groups and the various groups had to compete for food, fertile land, and resources. They didn’t have much communication with those from other groups and so it was easy to see other groups as alien. Each group marked their territory and attempted to conquer other territories. Things should be different now.
Other people aren’t alien to us any more unless we purposefully choose to treat them that way. We live in a global community with strong lines of communications between pretty much everyone – thanks in large part to the internet. If you never met someone from a particular country, then you haven’t bothered to try. Even people from warring nations can go on social media and meet the average citizen from the other side.
A number of years ago, my friend was playing on online game and met someone from a nation the US was in hostilities with at the time. The guy was a janitor in an office building and he liked to play video games — hardly the evil enemy that we were led to believe. Don’t get me wrong, the leader of his country was a pretty bad dude, but bombs we were dropping affected this guy who was just a guy playing an video game and trying to live his life.
When most Americans think of the Middle East, we think of it as a backward place that is less civilized than we are, but the reality is that they have Facebook and Twitter too. The people living in these countries are just as technologically advanced as we are. They eat fast food, go to shopping malls, and play with their iPhones. It just so happens that they also have to defend themselves from various hostile forces in ways that we don’t have to deal with in America and as a result, many people live in poverty or with the threat of having their livelihood destroyed at any moment.
Why? Why is there so much violence – not just in the Middle East, but all over the world? We don’t really need to fight over food any more. Sure, there are still some food concerns. There are starving people in America and there are many more starving people in other nations. Humanity has not yet wiped out poverty, but the thing is that now we actually have the means to do so if we worked together collectively. If as the human race, we decided collectively that we wanted to really end poverty and made that a priority, we could easily do it. There are places on this Earth that produce more food than needed and Americans throw out so much food that could easily be put to better use. Plus, Sarah Silverman has reminded us that we could sell the Vatican and feed the world – or we could just take away the tax exemption from the religious and feed the world.
There are deserts in the some countries, which make it hard for those nations to grow enough food. However, we have advanced irrigation techniques that can solve those problems. So we don’t really need to fight over fertile lands. With airplanes, we no longer need to fight over access to waterways and trade routes.
Of course there is another resource that the world fights over – Oil. The thing is that we don’t really even need that stuff anymore. We can kick our oil addiction. We can develop solar and wind power, which would not only make oil and obsolete resource for fighting over, but would also make for a cleaner and better environment. If the only real resource worth fighting for is oil, then think of how much money and blood could be saved by removing that resource from necessity. We have the technology and we could easily develop that technology to be even more efficient if we put effort into it.
Of course there are other things that people fight over – religion, political ideology, money, etc. But these things are silly things to fight over when we think about the world without borders. When we think about us being a part of the human race instead of identifying ourselves by our country of origin, our religious affiliation, or our political affiliation, we can look at the world a different way.
Take away all the human-made borders and view our race as a whole, we start to see what real problems exist in the world. We can start to focus on reversing global climate change, ending poverty, curing diseases, and advancing our technology. We can begin to explore space like never before. Just think about what human beings could accomplish if we didn’t have to waste our time, money, and resources on meaningless wars over imaginary borders and deities.
Thanks to the internet and social media, we are already making our borders obsolete. We are already learning that these borders that separate us are – aside from religion – the only things that are really separating us.
We often get caught up in our separateness, but we can choose not to. We can choose not to be patriotic to our imaginary bordered nation and instead become patriotic to our entire planet. We can choose not to have faith in an imaginary deity and instead work towards helping our entire human race. Thomas Paine said it best when he said, “My country is the world and my religion is to do good.”
We are together on this small world and we have to get it together so that we can go out there and explore the entire universe.