Si vis Pacem para Bellum

What is war? Why humans do war? How to avoid it?

What is war? The dictionary will say that is a state of armed conflict. But what is an armed conflict? Well, conflict is a serious disagreement. And armed means someone that carry weapons. So, in the end, war is a state where two or more e groups that have weapons are in a serious disagreement. Notice that it does not mean they are fighting each other (that is known as a battle), just that they really don’t agree with each other for some reason. Two soccer teams seriously disagreeing to each other and using violence in a game is not a war, since they are not armed. But cops and drug dealer not agreeing about drug sales, well that can be a war. But when a disagreement turns into a serious disagreement? That’s harder to define. What is the line that divides a disagreement from a serious disagreement?

Perhaps the best way is to define what is not a war? if there is no disagreement, then clearly it is not a war. There is a name for that, it is called cooperation. Cooperation means two groups are working together for some reason. Perhaps they don’t see it as equally beneficial, but at least they see enough benefit on it to work together. And that’s enough. There is a name for the mutually beneficial agreements and exchange between two groups. It is called Peace.

But what if there is no peace among two armed groups? They can start by talking to each other and trying to create a new agreement. This is called diplomacy and it is the last step to keep peace. If that fails, there is a disagreement, a conflict. A group may threat the other with words and actions that can hurt them and coerce the group to a new agreement. How aggressive and violent are the actions depends on the situation. Whatever it is, this is not peace anymore. Perhaps the best way to define war is when two armed groups are not at peace.

How can one stop war? The best shot is, of course, diplomacy. If the armed groups can talk with each other to create a new beneficial agreement, then peace can persist. But if that is not possible, or in the minds of one of the sides not acceptable, then how to give no other option to a group besides diplomacy? It is to make all the other options so bad, with so little to gain, that one would never choose it.

How can one make diplomacy to be the only option? By making any attempt to not use diplomacy doomed to fail. In other words, if one is so much better at winning serious disagreements which actions instead of words, then it makes no sense to use anything else besides words. That means, one must be good at all those things an group with weapons can do to the point that others are not willing to try. To be so good at use those weapons, that it makes no sense to try to win with weapons.

So if one wants peace, they must make any options besides peace to be unthinkable. To be so prepared to win all options besides peace that any other group would not consider to create an agreement in any other ways but in a peaceful manner. In other words, if one wants peace, be prepared for war.

100 Percent Life from Concentrate

What are fiction stories? What is a good story? And why some stories we keep telling them, while others vanish with time?

What is fiction? The answer seems to be straight forward. Those are made up stories, that never happened. The stories that did happen, we call them History. Some fiction go even further, changing how the Cosmos works, and creating stories that not only never happened, but they could not happen in the reality we live. We call those fiction stories fantasy, or if in a fantastic future, science fiction. What if we mush together real and unreal in a way to could had happened? That we call historical fiction.

But what is good fiction? That is harder to answer. Because good can be defined in so many ways. Is something good when it teaches something? What if the lesson is based on reality, like murders sometimes get away with it, yet not a good moral lesson? Is that still good fiction? Or if teaches nothing and yet entertains a lot? Is type of fiction good? Very hard to define what good means.

What about the structure of a story? Can we say something is a well crafted fiction? That sounds more objective. But each way to tell a story, its media, have its advantages and limitation that changes how one tells the story. The way one tells a story is different from the way one writes a book, which is different from the way one creates a movie, which is also different from creating a TV series. And over time, the way to tell stories using the same media also changes. A well done TV series from the 1950s is very different from a well done TV series of the 2020s. And the idea of how a story should be told also changes based on culture and the whole expectations of that group. A TV series that is popular in Japan, may completely fail in the USA. And vice versa!

What about those stories that still being told today? What we would call memorable stories. Do they have something in common? It is certainly not how they are made, or what they tell. So, is there a pattern? Perhaps. Memorable stories seems to be very different from real life. Unlike the spaghetti of simultaneous things that happens in life, those stories are focused in just a few life threads. And somehow those threads always seems to be connected, have a meaning, and purpose.

Unlike our real life events soup, memorable fictions are quite focused. Concentrated on a few aspects of life, and weaved together to tell something. It is not pure life. It is distilled life. But like real life these are stories that trigger emotions. Like real life. And in that sense, these stories feel 100% like life. Just concentrated.

Studying the Past

Dates. Kings, Queens, Presidents. An endless list of events that feels like a daunting and stomach-aching grocery shop list. That is how History is taught at schools for some. And that’s wrong.

But if not a long list of past dates, people, and events, what is History?

History should had been a story. Not any story. The story. The story that links one family with their past. One community with their roots. One nation with their origin. The story that tells you how things become as they are today. The story that finds wisdom and cautionary tales in what was done in the past.

And if History does not give us a clear map to what to do in the future, it a least tells us some of the dangers that we may find in our paths. In that sense, history is connected to one of the oldest art forms: storytelling.

But history is more than storytelling. Good history distill what truly happened in the past and teach us lessons. It investigates, cross-reference, and analyze, in search for the elusive multi-faced truth. It searches across different places, different times, and different scales (person, group, nation, continent, world). History looks for cause-effects, patterns, commonalities, and differences. And help us learn from the past. In this sense, history behaves like all other sciences.

History, when blends the lessons of science and the beautiful art of storytelling, becomes something so much more that either. At one side it keeps us rooted in how things came to be, giving us stones to build our knowledge castle. At the other give us memorable tales as mortar mix so we can settle each new knowledge in stable strong walls of wisdom.

The story of everything

Debate if Big History is special or not is like discuss which flavor of ice cream is the best. Now the reason why Big History is important, that is very clear.

There is something very special about Big History. Perhaps it is the perfectly blended science-smoothie that tastes better than each science-flavor separated. Or perhaps because Big History links human’s inventions and world changes all back to the Big Bang. Or perhaps it just feels special because it is cooler than mind-numbing classic history classes of memorized dates and names. Probably the true reason is a mix of all of the above.

Debate if Big History is special or not is like discuss which flavor of ice cream is the best. Now the reason why Big History is important, that is very clear. Big History connects the entire 13.8 billion years since the Big Bang created the Cosmos into a series of cause-effect major events, that builds a coherent story. The story of our existence. And why is that important? Because story telling is how we, the furless apes, are hardcoded by Biology to learn things.

Big History goes further. It also tells us a second story. The story of how Humans pursuit the understanding of the Cosmos and everything that is in it, stitching together a global story of steady pursuit of how everything truly works. And by doing so, it connects the dots of all sciences.

But how to analyze everything that ever happened or ever existed? Big History chooses to do so with scales of space and time. Sometimes by fixing one, for example setting the time scale to billions of year, and seeing which events stand out. Sometimes by fixing space, for example the Solar System, and changing time scales to see what was key to lead from one main change to another. And these key events that once triggered brings possibilities that were never there before, receive a very unique name: Thresholds. And the story is stitched together by each and every of these thresholds.

And what one sees when all these thresholds are stitched together? A story of a Cosmos that in some parts get more and more complex. From atoms to people. But complex things are easy to break up (fragile). Hydrogen, the first atom, can exist in almost anywhere in the Cosmos in most conditions. Humans survive only in a very narrow window of temperature, radiation, and pressure. Hydrogen needs nothing to continue to exist. Humans need water, land, air, light, food, gravity, and so much more. 

Big History reminds us that we are all interconnected. The Cosmos, the Sun, plants, animals, humans. All related. And the continuation of our existence is not certain. In fact, it’s far from that.

Explore More!