Some time back, two very close friends of mine had something of a falling out, and are now out of contact, for the foreseeable future, at least. And honouring a metaphysical law of social duty precedented by similar such occasions prior, I found myself playing something of a pivot between the two. Many who read this will likely be able to relate.
There is something about attaining physical maturity that seems to draw out certain conflicts of ideals and interests for indefinitely longer periods of time than was orthodox of us as children cavorting about in the great outdoors on bicycles and grass, with conflicts only ever lasting a day or two at most, with the algid maladroitness committed to by all involved in the sentimental rancor of the hours past slowly but certainly dissipating like vapour in a drafty room. Before long, hostilities are long buried under the composition of the next jointly constructed sand castle.
As ripened members of the homosapien collective, young or old, the weathering of challenges imposed by life upon the guileless innocuousness of childhood has many effects on the human psyche that is engendered as an end product of indurated growth. The one I have regarded to be the most prominent of them all, is a sense of virtuosic survivalism, with its antonymous counterpart, fatalism, found to lesser extent in those not possessed of the former.
As it happens, social survivalism in this day and age is often accompanied by and comprised of a sense of general distrust, a nigh-inexpungible limbic almanac of every bad experience ever undergone, and those responsible for each, as well as a seemingly subconscious predilection to both assume of, as well as prime for, succint hostility from and toward any and all who may appear to pose even the slightest of threats, regardless of whether the mark in question means to do so or not. Undeniably prudent exigencies often needed in this era's fierce, frequently unscrupulous competitiveness. And yet also alienative to those who are not impelled by malevolent intent.
When conflict is found between those who share strong emotional connections however, the survivalistic element is greatly mitigated, and is replaced with a sense of egocentric emotional defensiveness, tout de suite. In my experience, this has proven to be as much of an advantage as a disadvantage, as due to its tandem with the emotional idiosyncrasies each of us as a society wear upon our sleeves, it can prove to catalytically either terminate the conflict or the connection, often permanently. The only independent variables I have ever located in this rather decisive calculus, are how the sequence of events opening the conflict is handled, what the priorities of each individual involved are, how much said priorities agree and disagree with each other, and how willing the individuals themselves are to compromise on each in order to preserve the connection.
In this way at least, the conflict of comrades may at times prove to be perceived more destructive than the conflict of nations or men with no stakes vested in one another, due to the treasured emotional reciprocity that has been lost in its process. Conversely however, the antipathy of warring nations and men with no prior brotherhood lays much in the way of infrastructure, family and bodily health to waste, above and beyond the long term damage done to the perspectives of those involved in the spat, both toward their enemies and toward their own belief in the necessity of peace, seeming infinitely more calamitous by comparison, while at the same time paradoxing the view of some philosophies which maintain that the actions of every individual human being find effect upon the people as a whole, the waters of which are held more firmly by the theory concerning conflict of individuals.
A friend of mine, given inherently to pacifism, recently sent me this picture whilst we discussed the merits of his innately sought out doctrine...
Truer words I had yet to behold that week. In the end, observation accedes that all conflict has a common facet; that every engaged faction believes their stance on the matter in dissidence to be the "right" one. And in this regard, the timeworn acerbic approach to culminate conflict by duking it out in a crusade of carnage often yields an aftermath in which any faction that was suppressed by force remains even more firmly rooted in the very same ideal or ideals that sparked dissent in the first place, which ultimately leads to the pattern repeating itself. The day someone wielding the torch of campaign cries for peace achieved through diplomatic compromise and acceptance, is the day progress away from onslaught begins to actualize.
The patterns this suggests, ultimately, is that conflict and conflict resolution are again, algorithmic learning tests belonging to the equation of a much more preponderant lesson plan than ones encountered by simple biological maturity, thereby also revealing an intriguing, if somewhat already platitudinous lesson (if regarded only through daily empiricism without scrutinous reflection) about a great many of us in the process; in this crucible of erudition, there are some who top the charts, others who trail the Lanterne Rouge of the curricular progress sheet, and those who stand betwixt.
Which in turn might suggest that in this evolutionary learning curve, we're ultimately all headed in the same direction, varied only by the contemporary extents of the progress of individuals, with a probable end goal, a social "promised land" of sorts, that we shall all eventually come to occupy. The questions this begs, therein...are what this vanishing point is, what we shall have as a society when we find it, and what it will mean for all of humankind in general.