Thursday, July 29, 2010

We ask different ‘whys’ as we grow

When we were kids, we always ask our parents and teachers why certain thing happened. Usually, they were related to something visual, and we asked questions out of curiosity, like ‘why the sky is blue?’ The reason why we ask the adults because they were the authoritative figures in our lives. They always told us what we should/should not do. It seems like they know more than us, so we seek answers from them. If the adults were happened to be educated, they may know the answer right the way, or they would know where to go to get us the correct answers. However, most of the adults were not able to do that unfortunately, and they simply provided cunning answers like ‘go ask your teacher’, ‘sky is just blue, don’t ask why’, ‘when you get older, you will know’, i.e. just to make us go away.

As we grow older, we would still ask questions, but those questions were getting harder to answer, like ‘what will happen after we die?’, ‘does God exist?’ These kinds of questions have been asked for thousands of years without proven answers. Naturally, most people would not be able to answer them correctly. Cuz. Even if they try, based on their religious beliefs, or philosophical knowledge, the kids will have follow up questions on top of previous answers up to a point of no resolution. I guess that would be similar to the situation when Confucius or Socrates spoke to their disciples for hours and hours under a tree or something.

On the other hand, I would guess that many older kids would simply not ask adults those questions, and try to seek the answer themselves by going to library or searching the net these days. However, with the overwhelming amount of information, the young mind may not be able to filter them and got to the bottom of the answers. So, they may either give up, or select a school of thoughts to believe in, kinda like find a resting place for the mind to cling on, i.e. to settle for a theory though it is unproven, it is comforting. That’s why it has always been easier to preach to the young people and to recruit them into certain religions or cults.

Well, when we are getting older, most of adults (including me), unless they have some strange encounters or experience, would be relatively more practical or down to earth in their question. We may ask ‘what stock to buy today?’ or ‘which place to travel in next month’s vacation?’ Most adults do know where to get answers for those questions. I’m not saying all adults are all alike. There are far and between great minds throughout our modern history. Certainly, human minds are capable of and are diversified enough to ask different kind of questions. What’s I’m saying here is simply generalization.

Obviously, many adults still have questions of non-materialistic or practical levels. They may no longer ask if God exists, but they would still question ‘what is the meaning of life?’, ‘Am I cursed for being a bad parent?’, ‘why she doesn’t love me?’ etc. They will look for answers themselves by reading books or ask some experts in person or online. Rarely, they would ask about complicated incidents that happen in reality but from a relatively detached prospect. For examples, questions like ‘why can’t the U.S. win in war on terror?’, ‘how the economy can turn around?’ If they do ask, most typical adults would ask question like ‘how can my son be able to come back safely from Iraq?’, ‘what should be done in case bad things happen to my husband who is serving in Army in Afghanistan?’, or ‘What is my personal financial strategy in the next 12 months when the economy is still in doldrums?’ Those are more personal level of practical questions that relate to a broader scale of issues. The reason why they think that way is understandable, cuz most adults are simply experienced enough to understand that individuals are powerless in changing any large scale international problem. If we can’t solve it, then why bother to try to understand what the causes are. We are simply too busy to manage our own lives. That is the major reason why many people in developed countries are so ignorant or badly informed about world affairs in spite of the fact that information can be easily accessed simply few clicks of mouse away.

I’m not saying here that I’m very special or sophisticated for being interest in learning global affairs. I just find that enjoyable for being able to satisfy my curiosity by being informed. Information to me is like ‘food’ to my soul. I love of being ‘fed’. That’s it. However, I do find that many global affairs are just somehow too complicated for me to understand their causes. Using the analogy above, it is somewhat like trying to swallow the whole chicken with bones in few bites, that’s just can’t be done! I guess that’s why people like me would find that certain conspiracy theories are simply appealing to be accepted. Cuz, they somehow simplify the causes of many complicated things into sizable trunks that fit for swallowing.

For example, ‘why the U.S. is in two wars in Iraq as well as Afghanistan right now?’

I don’t really buy the official reasons (lip services) presented by the NATO governments. The previous ridiculous reason of WMD was already debunked. The other ‘reasons’ why troops were there like fighting terrorists, liberating people from dictatorships and promoting democracy and freedom, are just not credible to me. As most politicians are liars and governments are simply serving their self-interests for whatever actions they are taking, I would rather looking at what some ‘odd-ball’ theorists have said about the causes and trying to make some senses of them. I will never be able to prove if the following are true or not. But, somehow, I think that dots can be somehow linked among them:

- Jews have great influence in the U.S., particularly in businesses, such as in media, finances, energy, and MNCs.

- Anyone wanna be winner in U.S. politics needs money, and special interest groups are willing to provide financial support to candidates of all levels for their support on the groups’ stakes.

- Israel lobbies and other Jewish background interest groups are the most powerful and efficient among all, with their connections inside out.

- Israel’s only friend in the world is the U.S. which provide unparallel support to the tiny country since its foundation back in 1968. That support alone allows Israel to be what it is in spite of fact that the country is surrounded by ‘enemies’ in M.E.

- Jews and Arabs don’t get along in the last 2,000+ years. The problems are historic as well as religious, and territory is a key issue.

- Religious issues are typically extremely difficult to reach compromise or agreement, and people in the M.E. region are very religious, since religions have been a major binding force and governing tool by the governments there in view of the absence of other alternative that can be offered to their people.

- The bond between Israel and the U.S. results as a force of one side in the conflict. NATO is dragged in because of the U.S.

- Besides religion, wealth is another driver in international relations.

- Cruel fuel is a big business. M.E. has oils and the U.S. needs oils, lots of it.

- Alternative energy is good for the world, maybe a profitable business in future, but it would be bad for the quarter-to-quarter bottom line of those giant energy groups which want to monopoly on energy control in the world.

- U.S. has diversified its geographical sources of crude fuel, but the economic cost of getting them from M.E. is just lower than others. Also, U.S. wants to secure not just the current source of energy but also the expanding region beyond M.E., i.e. Central Asia which is rich in natural gas and other materials as well.

- The U.S. is the sole superpower in the world and would do ANYTHING to defend its status.

- China and Russia are rising powers. China in particular is thirst for energy that makes it a logical competitor to the U.S. for both short and long term.

- China and Russia will never be ‘alliances’ – aka. subordinates of the U.S. So, they are naturally regarded as challengers and threats that the U.S. will try to ‘contain’ their rises by all means economically, technologically, and military in particular.

- The U.S. military budget is unchallenged regardless its national financial well being, not only the R&D in new weapons system is just supreme, enormous amount of money has also been spent on its overseas bases and on buying alliances with countries (India, Pakistan, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Eastern Europe, Australia, etc) that encircle both Russia and China.

- On the chessboard of international geopolitics, Afghanistan and Iraq are happened to be pieces of puzzles from the aspects of against China and Russia, securing energy sources for the U.S. in the long run, as well as the national security of Israel. Meanwhile, rather than confronting China and Russia diplomatically, countering so-called ‘threat’ from North Korea and Iran as well as terrorism are being used as targets to justify the legitimacy of many activities.

Taking a glimpse of the factors above, you can imagine why the U.S. is currently in two wars. As I said, I can’t prove the above are all true, but hopefully, thoughts has been raised for readers to think about.

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