There is something about people that makes us believe that Paradise is within our reach. People dream of a world where justice and equality reign supreme, where everyone is happy and evil is conquered. Too often people believe that the only way to reach this utopia is by destroying that which is not Paradise, and this is one reason for religious conflicts.
But this belief is not limited to religion. I want to believe that if everyone in the world had a good education, food and clothes and were treated well and equally, the world would be a wonderful place and people wouldn’t want to wage war on each other anymore. I want to believe this, but I don’t really believe it. People are not like this. There’s always a Stalin or a Hitler waiting to emerge, as well as people whose actions or lack of action create such monsters.
Looking at history, we see the same process at work over and over again. Humans, trying to create perfect systems that would protect us against evil, and those systems going terribly wrong because they are built on a false premise, which is that evil is somehow outside of us, and can be eradicated. But in the process of eradication people often end up feeding the very thing they are trying to root out. Violence doesn’t destroy violence, but breeds more of it, and no one is immune to its effects.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.”
― Ernst F. Schumacher