BOOM! … BOOM!!! And then the sound of a car alarm, running through its sequence of annoying horns, sirens, and whistles.
The first explosion didn’t even make me flinch, a sign of how accustomed I have become to the perpetual state of “fiesta” here in San Pedro. Someone is always celebrating something, usually by setting off giant fireworks. Not pretty, just loud. Today is the fiesta of La Virgen De Rosaria.
The second boom made me start a little. It was louder than usual. I wonder what it must be like living in a war zone. Does one stop cringing at the sound of planes overhead, or jumping at the sound of a bomb exploding nearby? I would imagine so, despite the knowledge that the planes are a threat to one’s well being, and people are almost certainly dying in the bomb blasts.
Humans persist because we adapt. Whatever our environment, whatever horrendous conditions we face, we find a way, collectively, to survive. We survive because we cooperate. Individuals in the face of extreme circumstances might persevere heroically, but more often will succumb, overwhelmed, either physically, emotionally, or both. When we bond together, we become more than a collection of individuals, we become a force of nature.
This phenomenon exists on a smaller scale as well. When two people join together as partners, friends, or lovers, they are able to rise above difficulty much more easily, each lending a helping hand to the other when it is needed.
Since cooperation is so beneficial, conflict would seem counter-intuitive. Why, as a species, when we could achieve so much united, do we squander half of our resources fighting and killing one another? I don’t have the answer to this question. Maybe there is an innate desire within each of us to control our lives, to create stability and security. This, in some individuals, could lead to the quest for power. In others, it could manifest as a desire to belong to a collective, possibly led by the one driven to power.
We live in a world of dwindling resources and a growing human population. The fight to control the world’s oil resources is different only in scale from the fight 10,000 years ago to control the best hunting grounds around the watering hole.
Is it possible to transform conflict into cooperation? Most certainly. Evidence of this having happened is abundant. For example, the United States is fast friends with the Axis Powers of World War II, just a few short decades after brutally bombing them to stop their equally brutal quest for expanded power.
BOOM! BOOM!!! And then all is quiet, except for the car alarm asserting itself down the street. If we turn off that strident echo of the explosion, quiet will prevail. If not, the noise might drive us insane.