Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Irrational Passion

"How can the irrational passions of nationalism or religion be contained before they do more damage?" -Margaret MacMillan-

Having finished Paris 1919 (which I highly recommend!), I ponder the question set forth by Margaret MacMillan at the end of her writing. I love how she uses the phrase "irrational passions" to describe nationalism & religion. In both cases, people become so fixated on their own set of beliefs, devotion, and loyalty that they become blind to the rest of the world. Deprived of reason and logic, people tend to get wrapped up in the strong emotional tie of their culture, country, or set of religious beliefs and doctrines. The result is a group of people willing to do anything to back up their position and protect their vantage point. At that point there is little to do but watch the destruction that will eventually unfold. The end of World War I brought forth alliances, partnerships, and forced merges that collided into chaos. The world has never been the same. In much the same way today, we are faced with those same irrational passions of people that do not seem to have an answer on how to be solved. Clearly we cannot outlaw nationalism or religion. Nor would doing so be a realistic answer. Rather the answer must lie somewhere within the realm of tolerance. Getting people to drop their blind devotion to a cause or belief and open their eyes to the beliefs of others sounds so good on paper, and yet does not seem possible. Containment seems like a better possibility and yet even in that we are sitting on 90 years since the Paris Peace Conference and our world seems as hell bent on destruction as it was back then. Where do we go from here? Will the maelstrom that these irrational passions have thrust us into ever be solved? It seems to me that if we could solve that - we might finally solve the problem that started the Great War in the first place.


Best Damn Son said...

Lisa and i read "six days that changed the world" by Margaret MacMillan, it was amazing. I will read this one.

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