The World’s Greatest Conflict

Posted on 30 October 2017

Mary Cassatt: Mother and Child

We are a power addicted society. We want power over our environment, power over one another, and power over reality. Power gives us control, control keeps us safe and protects our egos. We do many cruel and horrible things to ensure we have even a modicum of power.

We wipe out predatory animals. We tear down mountains and pollute streams for mineral wealth. We find ways to undercut others to ensure our dominance. We eliminate whole peoples, simply to not be challenged.

And what do we wage war on in order to make of ourselves powerful individuals? All that is loving.

You heard me right. Love.

Power vs Love.

If you feel the need to snort, if you feel I’ve made some sort of ridiculous and twee assertion, then you are in the grip of this war.

I casually read the work of one relationship psychologist who asserted: the person who loves the most has the least power. I put his book back down after seeing this formulation. I do not believe it. However, I do believe it is a strategy used by many people.

Love makes us vulnerable to caring. Caring causes us to do things that benefit others, rather than ourselves alone.

Power vs Love for our Living World

When we spend time in a forest, by the ocean, or on a vast grassy plain, we often feel great pleasure. The beauty can sweep us away. People report having a spiritual experience whether or not they believe in any sort of divinity. Those feelings stimulate a desire to care for and protect wilderness areas.

Pack everyone into cities where they rarely have contact with the natural world and it becomes easy for people to think of these areas as simple resources available to satisfy material desires. A tree is just lumber. Waterways are just convenient places to dump sewage. An animal is just food or clothing. We do not think further than that, because we have no love in our hearts for living beingness.

Power vs Other People

Dividing people up by colour, religion, or class are easy ways to remove these people from our lives. With that distance they start to lose not only their humanity but their reality as they turn into stereotypes. We stop interacting with them and as such form no friendships nor marital partnerships. Connections of love disappear. It becomes easy to use and abuse these people.

Two of the nastier divisions are between adulthood and childhood, and between manhood and womanhood.

Power vs Children

Children represent the future. Children are our surest individual immortality. Their physical well-being is intimately connected with their emotional well-being. Children can genuinely die from lack of love.

Children remind us of a time when we were without personal power and had to rely on others for our survival. We were completely at the mercy of the adults around us. If we were abused in any way by our carers, it is in no way surprising that we may grow to hate childhood. Our youth is when we should know joy and discovery, but some people are denied this.

To have our own children is to be called to responsibility, to lose our freedom, to be vulnerable to becoming a figure of hatred in the same way we may have hated an adult. Perhaps we felt robbed of our childhood and don’t want a child of our own stealing the limelight. We should be the centre of all adoration and service.

The things of childhood are mocked by our society. It’s okay for children to like toys, puppet shows, playing with a kite, etc. For an adult to indulge in simple joys makes them suspect and an object of ridicule. Until recently science fiction was seen as the domain of make believe and therefore belonging to children. Lovers of fantastic fiction were put down as nerds, geeks, and potential pedophiles.

Power vs Womanhood

The invalidation of womanhood creeps into all sorts of dehumanisation. When a white man jokingly says, “Well you know, white men can’t dance.” It’s not a backhanded compliment to men of colour. These men are claiming to be bad at something that they see as reserved for women. They are putting down non-white ethnic men by saying they are no better than women, thereby putting females down as well. People who are not cis-gender are mocked for having the taint of womanhood about them.

Various characteristics are divided by gender with all the “weak” characteristics passed off to the women: kindness, gentleness, thoughtfulness, etc. Young women, not wanting to be put into subservient boxes, will rebel by removing kindness from their behaviour in order to grab some of their own power. No one wants to be assigned a personality. However, allowing people to give pro-social behaviour low status is unacceptable. These are characteristics that should be cherished by all humanity.

Women are a deep deep source of love. They are our mothers. For many they are sex partners, life partners, and the mothers of our children. We are all biologically designed to desire the comfort of a woman’s presence. As such we are all emotionally vulnerable to the women in our lives. They end up being seen as the biggest enemy to individual power.

Bring Back the Love

If we are to have any hope of rescuing our planet, then we have to bring love back into the equation. We need a love of real consequence that cares with such fervor that taking the responsibility to ensure all living beings are cared for and treated with respect is done as a matter of course. Try as you might, no one can simply take love. It can only ever be given freely. Start giving it with all your heart, your mind, and your hands, building a future worth living in.

Peace and kindness,


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