Is the world destined to be in eternal conflict?
There are nearly 8 billion people in the world, and they belong to different sects, cultures, and ideologies. As such, all of them have different systems of morality and governance.
One group believes that devouring cows is a sin, and it is one that should be punishable by death. One group believes freedom of clothes is a sin, and believes that it is the root of all of societies’ sexual violence. The other group thinks that freedom of religious expression is a problem (in certain cases), and thinks that this should be solved through forced assimilation.
It is clear that all of these groups (and many more), have very different ways of thinking about and perceiving the world. As such, during the height of globalization, a new kind of morality began to take shape that dictates that everyone should be left to their own devices. On paper, this sounds like a brilliant idea.
You want cover yourself up in a shawl before you go out? Sure! You want to abstain from eating a specific type of beef? You do you! Problem is, while it sounds good on paper, there are a lot of holes in this ideology, and that is what I’ll attempt to tackle today.
First things first -- except a very few cases, most actions have communal effects. This is applicable for political, non-religious ideologies as well. For example, under capitalism, a person would get richer while someone gets poorer. The very idea of profit rests on this, where workers are paid for their time, not their output.
Similarly, under socialism, this idea would be decimated where all profits would be distributed among the masses, which means the existence of a billionaire class would be eradicated. Under every kind of system and ideology, our actions are connected with others, as most of our actions are done in an intricate web of connections and social interactions. And when it comes to religious ideologies, this web becomes more interconnected and complicated.
Aside from a few religions that aren’t in much play in today’s world, most religions are massive, all-governing superstructures where everything in a person’s life is regulated, and everything a person does has an effect on another person. For example, in Abrahamic religions, one of the most prominent ideas is the fact that natural calamities are an act of God in response to the lawlessness of mankind.
Go to any news link during a natural calamity in Bangladesh, and you will find hordes of people proclaiming that this was an act of God due to our adoption of Western sensibilities. Surprisingly enough, the same thing can be found in the West as well, even though they mainly blame their government, as the idea of secularism originally started from them. The main thing is, secularism is a flawed ideology in the sense that it forgot to take into account the interconnectivity and web-like consequences of human actions.
And since there hasn’t been much attempt to fix these gaps, it has become all the more criticized and discarded in modern times.
But what if this were fixed? What if, somehow, all the world leaders of these different sects and ideologies got together and decided to agree on a model of secularism that would be beneficial to all? Shouldn’t that be able to solve things?
Again, it’s more complicated than that. In essence, ideologies are all-encompassing. Even the materialistic ideologies like democracy, liberty, capitalism, and such have their thoughts over the spiritual domain over what one should and shouldn’t do. For example, in Abrahamic religions, usury is forbidden. But under capitalism, usury is one of the fundamental pillars of the whole modern economic system.
Freedom of speech is one of the pillars as well (even though it is more of a pillar of any kind of modern, materialistic ideology), but this is something that is not compatible with most Abrahamic religions. It’s something that varies from country to country even in the secular world, with the current cultural climate dictating what is right and what is not right. And while it can be argued that a lot of the decisions taken under a materialistic ideological system is supported by data, data itself is something that can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
And since issues like usury and the freedom of clothing reside in the metaphysical and the abstract (meaning that it is a showdown between an argument and an argument, and there generally isn’t any kind of data to back up any kind of particular decision), the situation becomes murkier.
And even if there were enough data and modelling systems to build a 1:1 simulation of reality where different ideologies could be pitted against each other to figure out the ultimate winner, the system would still be too complicated for the masses to accept. And when it is a model made by “infidels” against a superstructure that has existed for thousands of years, it is obvious which is going to come out on top.
As such, I for one don’t see much hope for a brighter future. All the different ideologies in the world are just too much at odds with each other, and the way the older superstructures like religion and culture are molded into one’s brains since birth, I don’t see how a uniting ideology that tries to replace a large part of it can coexist with it. And as such, it also means that the world will be in eternal conflict where man will be pitted against man, and ideology would be pitted against ideology, and this will continue forever.
So, I guess all we can do is try to carve out our corner in the world, and pray that warlords don’t come to get us. Well, that is until the inevitable happens and we find ourselves in the midst of a nuclear holocaust. Then again, I, for one, will welcome our radioactive overlords.
Nafis Shahriar is a freelance writer and a business student