By: Skot Ward
Given the almost daily occurrence of egregiously violent acts becoming so ubiquitous and commonplace upon the surface of this pale blue dot we live on, it is no wonder at all why it seems as though many of us human beings are increasingly turning a blind eye, or deaf ear to it all. Our mouths remain mute, while a seething rage builds ever fervently inside of us. Truth be told, our souls are exhausted. Our minds struggle to process the insane and almost seemingly unrecognizable imagery beamed in on a daily basis by satellite from all over the world to the rectangular one-eyed gods in our living rooms, telling us who to be, what to buy, what to wear, how to act and feel, and who to be afraid of. Everyone in the soup line, step right up for the fear dejour, today's hatred, and you're not good enough special, with a side of xenophobia, get it while it's hot!
We are easily capable of being psychologically and sociologically conditioned just like every other animal. We are often vehement in our denial of this fact, yet it remains true regardless of our feelings and opinions about it. B. F. Skinner coined it as the term “Operant Conditioning.” the idea that any response to a stimulus can be conditioned simply by giving an animal a reward for accomplishing something the way you want it to, or a punishment for not doing that way or refusing to do it at all. After years of exposure to a stimulus which an animal cannot control the animal stops fighting. It ceases to resist a force which it is powerless to overcome, and consequently it begins to allow that force to take over, becoming an unwilling yet defeated host to a relentless parasite. The animal becomes numb, loses all hope, accepts it's fate, and eventually becomes a victim to whatever is feeding off of it.
This is how I view the concepts of hatred, ignorance, and intolerance, just to name a few. They are like parasites latching themselves onto the hearts and minds of humanity, yet curiously created by the minds of humanity as well, slowly and methodically draining the love, hope, and charity out of everyone they find, and when their hosts become nothing more than empty shells, they move on to the next person to begin the vampirical process all over again.
Regardless of our stance upon divinity as individuals, and the Pandora's box of thoughts and opinions which go with it, there does seem to exist an undeniable force in the world, the sole intent of which is to reduce the human-animal to a hopeless emptiness by continually preying upon the spirit of our happiness, joy, and unity as a collective species. What was once hidden in the shadows, taking its victims silently, has now made its presence obvious in the world, daring us to confront it, daring us to challenge it upon the ground which it's used to fighting upon. We naively fastenour armor and draw our weapons to do so, and as soon as we do, we allow it to Feast upon our anger, hatred, and our fear of it. As soon as it eats of this and has had its fill, we find our armor to be useless against it, and once again we are vanquished.
Time and time again we find that the only way to kill something with a ravenous appetite is to no longer feed it. This really is the simplest solution; the Occam's razor of the problem. We often do not choose this process however, opting instead for the seemingly much quicker process of attempting to mortally wound it through battle on it's turf. A slow death through starvation however, is the only way to truly ensure that the beast no longer has the energy or stamina to carry on the fight. All we have to do is no longer hold out our hands which grip tightly our portion of its sustenance. We no longer have to be its keeper. We claim to desire peace, while holding the sustenance for it's exact opposite. Consequently, the force which paralyzes the human spirit, licks it's lips whenever it sees us coming it's way. We mistakenly, and foolishly believe that our hatred and fear will protect us, that holding on to it will envelope us in an individual and collective security blanket, and make all of our nightmares go away. But this is silly. This has never worked. As Einstein once so eloquently stated: “One cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.”
The only way we will ever be able to truly achieve lasting peace upon this planet is by making a very intentional, individual, and collectively conscious choice to cease the process of sustaining its opposite, and you can quote me on that.
Skot Ward describes himself as such: I've had 41 trips around the sun to make sense of this little blue dot floating inside infinite space. I truly believe that if enough people care, we can all make sense of it together.
Brian McKay describes him as the coolest guy he has ever met at a wedding.