So one thing that I have been thinking about actually regularly since my last couple blog posts is just how important the impact of our decisions are, and specifically how much impact the decisions of going to war in the last thousands of years has actually been. Sadly, I am not just talking about the deaths of millions of people throughout the years, since it’s quite obvious how serious that really is. What I also mean is the social and cultural impact that these wars have had in the past.
When you think of all the death that has happened from the hundreds of wars in the past, I expect you will feel some deep sorrow and sadness since so many young and old lives were lost, with some being very needless. However, if you really look further beyond the short term impacts of these deaths, you will begin to realise something quite interesting in a very, very sad way. You will realise that there have been generations and many many decedents that never had a chance to live because of these deaths. When I say this, I mean that for every man or woman that was killed before their time, they may have each had 2 or 3 children that were not born because of their deaths. You start to realise just how full this earth may have been without those deaths. There would have been entire lineages and bloodlines cut off, that perhaps would have survived if it wasn’t for war. There would have been many potential or future fathers and mothers that were needlessly killed who never got a chance to have children, and so those children that never got to be never had children, and then we realise we are talking about literal billions of people that may or may not be on this earth because of war alone. The amount of countries and lineages and people that were never to be because of wars are almost unfathomable.
Socially and culturally, it’s hard to imagine just how different the world would be if certain wars didn’t happen, or even if certain wars went the other way. When I say this, I mean for example the Franco-Burgandy wars. Or even the 100 year war between France or England and to a more modern extent, Germany in WWII. If those wars went differently or didn’t even happen, the world would be so much more differently shaped. The most extreme and obvious example of this would be if Germany won WWII. There is no telling just how different the world would be. Entire races would have been wiped out and the world would be so much emptier and so much more different. It would be one world culture. The world could be a utopia, or whatever the oppressed version of a utopia would be. It is scary to think of the amount of people that you might actually know who wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for the fact the Allied army won the war.
But like I said, think of how different the world would be if the English won the American Civil War. Or think of how different the world would be if Italy lost the wars of the past, or if England was conquered by France. So many important world events and decisions would have been made differently because of the lack of influence certain people or countries would have had. For all any of us know the main political system of the world may even be Communism. And we may instead look down on Democracy and look down on countries such as England or America. It’s really difficult to imagine because history and wars went a different way. It’s not to say that anything went the right or wrong way. That isn’t a decision for a philosopher to make. It’s just when you think of all of these ethical decisions shaping the world for hundreds of years to come without even realising it, it really is worrying what decisions we are making.