Readers Write …

Posted October 5, 2016 at 8:43 am

Peace is an


There is no such thing as peace. Peace is a human concept that has no place in the natural world. What we consider peace is an illusion, a temporary reprieve from the chaos of existence. It is a word we use to promote our desires and ways of thinking onto other people. When we want others to live and believe and behave as we do, we cry out for peace. When others reject these behaviors and beliefs, we claim that peace must be had at any cost, which invariably requires a distinct and complete lack of peace to achieve that very thing.

Nature is beautiful. It is enchanting and full of miraculous encounters that have amazed and enthralled humankind since the beginning. From the deer eating clover in the dewy morning fields to the eagles soaring among the clouds, our world is a wonder to behold, a unique paradise of the miracle of life in a universe that seems otherwise so empty and void. We see life of all varieties on a daily basis: fish, insects, canines, reptiles, humans, not to mention the plants and other flora that covers the vast majority of our world. Every form of life on this planet has two things in common: we strive to reproduce, and we fight to survive.

Consider the sounds of nature. Let’s take a walk through the woods, far from the noises of the modern world of automobiles, airplanes, cellular phones, and the hum of electrical lines. In our position deep within the woods, let us sit down under a towering elm tree, close our eyes, and listen. What do we hear? Squirrels jumping from branch to branch above us, perhaps. Birds chirping and singing. A rabbit darting from one patch of dandelions to the next. A cunning fox eyes us before turning away and disappearing into the deeper reaches of the forest. A fish splashes in the stream just to our left, and a bee drones past us on its way to wherever bees go.

Peaceful, isn’t it? It’s relaxing, and we can feel the stress of our busy, hectic lives calming for just a while, for just a precious little time, as we join with nature, and unwind.

Except, wait! What was that? A crashing in the forest, the cry of a startled animal, and then the immediate, unrelenting pursuit of the hunter and the hunted. The rabbit we heard earlier rushes passed us, the sly fox hot on its trail. The sound of the buzzing bee cuts off midflight as a bird swoops down and devours it without slowing down, rushing back into the sky. The eagle dives into the stream and less than a second later the fish caught in its talons is dripping blood, unmoving, already dead. The squirrel scrambles into its nest, shaking in fear, desperate to avoid being seen by either the fox or the eagle.

What you hear in nature is one of the two things mentioned above: procreation, or survival. There is no peace in nature. There has never been peace in nature, and there never will be. Nature is beautiful, as long as we don’t look too closely behind the illusion of peace.

Just as the fox chases and devours the rabbit, humanity chases and devours itself. Muslims against Christians. Nazis against Jews. Egyptians against Hittites. Republicans against Democrats. Straights against gays. North Korea against the world. In the 240-year history of the United States, we have been at war for 223 of those years, a whopping 93 percent of the time. In the recorded history of the world’s 3,400 years, there have been wars for all but about 268 years. That’s 92 percent of the history of humanity spent at war.

We can learn one thing from this: peace is an illusion, a dream. It is, however, a dream worth fighting for.

David Bowlin

David Bowlin served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged after almost 10 years of service, eight of which were with special operations command, specializing in aircraft hydraulics systems and computer network security.