Not so far away and not long ago there were a people rife with division. They were a people who felt deeply. A people of convictions and beliefs. They lived in a world where this is what was fought for; not survival of self and species, but ideas. Ideas of such meaning to them that the lives of others were a small cost to pay for the survival of these ideas. That, in itself, is a huge problem; one whose truth threatens these warriors of ideas like the stalking of a shadowy monster that they dare not to turn to see, praying instead that what they don’t see won’t hurt them. By itself, this callous worldview might have been overcome. The people might have braved the courage needed to turn and face the monster within them.
They were distracted though, in an unspoken collaboration of diversion these people split into many factions, each fighting for its own set of ideas, each pulling in different directions. Among these groups were some that fought for a belief that people should face their monsters, that lives should not be secondary to ideas. In this sad world, such groups were labeled with the word ‘progressive’; this is how cynically aware of their own failings the competing groups were. It wasn’t that they didn’t know they carried monsters within them, it was that they were absolutely devoted to fleeing from ever facing their own painful internal truths.
This cowardice may not be acceptable but it is understandable. You see, these people had a difficult existence. They’d grown from an evolutionary system based on scarce resources and violent competition for survival. Their path to arrive at that point in their history when these elaborate social disputes of ideas became possible took millions of years of brutally unforgiving survival. The journey was so scarring, so damning, that even after destroying their competition and beginning to exert control over their environment they carried the pain of that journey in their every thought and action.
These people developed tools and means so sophisticated that true resource scarcity became a thing of the past, yet they could not envision the world without such hardships of survival. Should it surprise us that they then created artificial resource scarcities and implemented social structures that would simulate the brutality of the evolutionary system that raised them? Does it seem strange that millions of years of violence didn’t end when the predators were neutralized and whole solar systems began to open up as potential territory? Did they fight over land and food and safety because they truly believed these things were absent or were they aware that these things had been withheld by their own social creations and by the war of ideas? When looking back on the era of humans it is hard to know, but there were certainly elements that displayed evidence of such an awareness. If these malignly labeled progressive groups had escaped villainization things might have turned out differently, but as it is, the era of humans is but one more curiosity of history.