POLITICAL BOUNDARY CONDITIONS
Copyright © 2003 Victor Shane, All Rights
fix something that’s broke on the basis of the same set of assumptions that
made it broke in the first place¾you will just keep bouncing off
the same walls and end up right back where you started.”
Peace! But there is no peace!
What a fond
hope it was that welled up in us when the Berlin Wall came down, communism
began to collapse and Vaclav Havel stood on the balcony in Prague’s
Wenceslas Square to face cheering crowds. We all thought those happy events
would herald a new age of peace and democracy. How wrong we were! Even
before the echoes of the cheering crowds could die down, seven thousand
repressed demons came out of their closets to demand a ransom in wholesale
new bloodletting. And as the Bosnian demon was massacring innocent women
and children, we all stood in silence, dumbfounded, stunned and paralyzed by
the deficit of rational explanation.
Let us pause,
take inventory of our sad record, and consider something written by the
distinguished journalist Michael Ignatieff in his book Blood and
Belonging. Ignatieff went rummaging through the burned down rubble of
the former Yugoslavia trying to find some sort of rational explanation for
all the destruction and killings going on over there. Here are his words
with regards to the city of Vukovar, for example, reduced to a heap of
ruins by Serb militia:
Some quite uncontrolled adolescent lust
was at work here. The tank and artillery commanders could not have seen
what they were hitting. It was all abstract and as satisfying as playing
machines in a video arcade.
Michael Ignatieff, Blood and Belonging,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1993, pp. 44-45
tried and tried to find some sort of rational explanation for all the
mayhem and disorder. After looking at the enigma from every possible angle,
after exploring all of the issues of “religion,” “past history,” “bad
blood,” “an eye for an eye,” “nationalist delusion,” after rummaging
through all the debris, ruin and desolation, he writes the following:
These are puzzles which no theory of
nationalism, no theory of narcissism of minor difference, can resolve.
After you have been to the wastelands of the new world order, particularly
to those fields of graves marked with numberless wooden crosses, you feel
stunned into silence by a deficit of moral explanation.
Ibid, p. 244
How often have
we seen this same spirit of resignation? Great philosophers, poets, writers
and thinkers agonize over the human condition, only to run into the same
boundary conditions and resign themselves to despair. This element of
despair can be found in the lamentations of all the great authors of
mankind, from Homer to Shakespeare, from Omar Khayyam to Yevgeny
Yevtushenko. Even the eminent William Faulkner, having agonized and
agonized over the nature of man, broke his pencil, threw up his hands and
gave up trying find answers to the human condition.
With all of
their pretensions of mind and power the politicians of the world don’t know
the answer either—they too are bouncing off the same boundary conditions.
All the kings men and all the kings horses, all the Princes of Zoan and all
the Crisis Controllers keep bouncing off the same walls and end up right
back where they started. All day long they sit around the Machiavellian
table of diplomacy and compromise, proposing this and that “solution.” Some
even succeed in producing spasms of “peace.” But the spasm is all too soon
replaced by the familiar regression into disorder. What shall we say then?
Rav Shaul (St.Paul) said it 2000 years ago:
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the
philosopher of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the
(1 Corinthians 1:20)
are the boundary conditions of political disorder? What are the fundamental
assumptions that need to be changed before the world can enter the Age of
Peace? Whatever they may be, we need to discover them soon. It is now very
late and “business as usual” won’t do any more. Whatever is wrong with
human nature and the world must be discovered and fixed, otherwise we will
continue to bounce off the same boundary conditions with devastating
results—more Bosnia, Chechnya and Rwanda, more terrorism, more destruction,
more holocausts, more ethnic cleansing, more reduction, degradation and
mass misery with no end in sight.
The world has
grown small suddenly. The differentiations that were yesterday insulated
from one another are now rubbing raw against some imperative that does not
allow harmonious multiplicity. If the nature of this imperative is not
understood, and compensated for, we can only guess at the field day that
the devil is going to have among the dissimilar factions of the human race.
The lateness of the hour and the unprecedented distress of mankind now
render the former boundary conditions deadly. It is time to lay the axe to
Life does just that. If we swallow our
anthropocentric pride—if we view ourselves and our societies as physical
systems—we can begin to connect the dots and piece together the
puzzle of human nature; i.e., understand that what happened in Bosnia,
Chechnya and Rwanda was nothing more than physical systems moving
towards HIGHER PROBABILITY STATES.
Hint: Order, peace, security,
prosperity = lower probability states
Hint: Disorder, war, insecurity,
poverty = higher probability states
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