For thousands of years humans gathered to watch other humans being slaughtered. People watched as other human beings were slaughtered in the honour of gods, and that was part of their Faith, they condoned those killings and sometimes provided their own children to the sacrifice as evidence in Inca excavation sites suggest. People gathered to watch chieftains, kings and rulers serve justice in every manner conceived by man, they often cheered and those were occasions for celebrations, for street fairs, death being one of the highlights of the day. People gathered to serve justice themselves, stoning other people to death, and feeling vindicated or more holy for that, or killed every man and woman in a village keeping only female children, cause that was the will of God, or the right thing to do, and they shed no tear or felt no guilt.
Death was a fact of life, something they had to deal with on a daily basis. People died of starvation, disease, war, from festered wounds, pestilence, child birthing, life was a fickle thing, so to speak. Humans had to grow fast, reproduce as much as they could, cause they might day soon.
And that was normal.
There was probably a sense of impending doom, of a world that was not worth living. If in ancient Rome people had better standards of living than in the medieval times, fact is, that the difference in savagery is that in the former people did hope for a world of Peace and eternal life whereas in the latter, people aimed a good life in their own times.
It seems to me that as the centuries marched on, we reached a point where we do have this feeling of impending doom, and yet we yearn for a good lie in our own time. And it has been hard to conciliate both. In theory it isn´t, but who says life is theory? Life is a living thing, it can only be experienced in practice.
We gather in movie theatres, in front of the TV, or read books to watch the very same human bloodshed we´ve watched as societies throughout the millenniums, torn between fascination and horror. And we can´t get enough. Those who cry against firearms, cheer when someone is decapitated in a movie, and still are pacifists before terrorist groups that rape and kill, unable to act against them in real life.
Humans developed sensitivity to violence and yet can´t get away from it, cause it is ingrained in every animal that wants to survive in a hostile environment, and do not be mistaken, the planet is as hostile to us, as it is to any species living on it. This rock is shaking off anything on its surface and life is a struggle to stay on the saddle.
Sometimes, when I am at the movies, or watching tv, or maybe just Reading a book, I get this sudden detachment, and I see the world as if it was an awfully complex experiment, and I was an observer taking notes and putting them all together in a data set, sadly without a research question or an endpoint, so it is an endless data collection, cold and void.
Times like these I fall comatose almost, mind roaming, amazed at the greatness of this pulse of life, yes, life coming like fever from our violence, violence and sex as redemption from our finitude. We are gods when we are the meanest and simplest creatures to crawl the Earth.
So we clash, and we must do it, in the arid middle east, or anywhere else in the world, we fight for goodness, for our values and beliefs, we fight for survival, and above all, we fight because we are human. And when we don´t fight, either because we choose not to, or are disabled by various constraints, we simulate the stimuli of Fighting in every way we can. Cause we have to gather and defy death, and feel life more important when it is more scarce.
All hail the guillotine and the cheering crowds! The coliseum and gladiators! All hail the Aztec pyramids and the mongol hordes! They all live inside of us… vegans included.