What do China and the United States want?
They want to demonstrate that they are in control. What do they mean by control? The decision as to whether their opponents survive and prosper – and perhaps live or die. ‘They’ presumably don’t want to die – whoever ’they’ are – and maybe they don’t especially want their citizens to die either. ‘They’ in the world of politics means the government and usually means ‘me’. Not always.
What do they want to prove they are in control of? In theory, the rest of the world. Knowing that to be impractical, being in control actually means being able to determine whether to start WWIII and perhaps annihilate the rest of the world – themselves possibly included.
Who do they want to demonstrate that to? First the people who keep them in power – that is, those who vote in the USA, and those who don’t rebel in China. Second, the people who would like them out of power. Third, the rest of the world. Big gorillas need to pound their chests and make a noise so that lesser gorillas know who the big gorillas are. Bearing this simple analysis in mind we can see that most initial activity is chest pounding and noise. Trouble is that if the display gets out of hand it becomes hostilities. Among gorillas that would be unpleasant enough and very wasteful. Between societies labelled as ‘superpowers’ it is WWIII.
We are getting used to the idea of living on the brink of WWIII, which is dangerous. Artificial Intelligence is not yet advanced enough to prevent accidental ignition of a nuclear weapon. This is likely to be the biggest threat to our survival. Accidents do happen. But brinkmanship is also dangerous because people go mad – arguably increasingly so under pressure about potential nuclear war. We demonstrably have a few mad people in positions of high power already. More would likely guarantee the outbreak of difficult-to-control war.
What do the people under the control of the big gorillas – and, indeed, of all the gorillas – want? If you ask them they say ‘more money’ because they have not been taught that the real rewards of life involve money but extend way beyond it. Why have they not been taught that? Because our education systems, whether capitalist or communist, have been tied to money-making. It is a shocking indictment of what we have taught our children that most of them still don’t realise that appreciation and feelings are vastly more rewarding than wealth and acquisition.
The attacked must defend themselves, of course. The parenting and education of the young must teach appreciation, beauty, peace. Faced with AI, the biggest threat to humanity’s independence so far, we have no universally accepted moral or ethical code that will satisfy the need for agreement on how to retain our existence. All we educate with war is belief in the importance of the size of the gorilla’s chest. What we teach with peace is the beauty of sharing. Humanity is like a child shuffling nervously into its teens, desperate to grow up, frightened by the prospect of being in charge.
We need a worldwide United Nations University. Don’t wince at the mention of the UN. Its limitations are clear to see; its objectives are still valid. The present United Nations University is a think-tank department of the UN, based in Japan. Our UNU should be the new centre of world philosophy. Its remit should be to balance science with humanity. Parents should be encouraged to demand teachers with UNU degrees of balance.
It is never too late to start doing the right thing.
So, for mercy’s sake, let us begin.
Where would you locate the new UNU? Please tell us at email@example.com
24 February 2023