conflict philosophy

2/3- Qu'est la premiere necessitie?

1:24:00 PMPaul

If we are to move forward with this discussion, we need to quickly and loosely define existence: we will indeed go with the commonly accepted usage which in most cases is prefaced by "just." It is the state of perpetual functioning on teh very simplest level (although all higher forms that build and act upon this idea are included as branches of existence). So, what is required for human existence? What is the one element of human existence that drives us to fulfill our basic needs?

Before I answer that emphatically and confidently, I have a line of questioning as diversion-- Is there really anyone in our way, preventing us on a continual basis from accomplishments or acquisition or even mere survival? Do we actually have enemies? Granting that we do, are we truly trying to defeat, conquer and surpass all our enemies? Is the fact that no clear victor has ever emerged from any contest in the arena of human existence (of course we need to define victory as well, not as easy as existence) an indicator not only that enemies exist but that the enemies are all equally strong and therefore unable to destory?

Or is it that we need our enemies? That such graces as mercy for its own sake don't exist and we keep an opponent breathing for our own sake? I make a very easy reference for you here-- in The Dark Knight, our rapturous antagonist observes that he and his adversary need each other, that neither one due to his unique belief system can conquer the other or exist. They created and perpetuate each other's need to sustain themselves. Any hero and any villain give each other purpose and identity, though they spring simultaneously from the same need. Even mild and realistic forms, such as police and criminals are born of a commonly held need.

That need is conflict. That is the one basic human need that differentiates us from what some call "lesser beings." That's why we eat and breathe. and sleep and pursue. Whether we acknowledge that such a concept as complete and unassailable victory is impossible outside the realm of simplistic and artificially created contests.

Before I myself am contested on the mere fact that every living organism requires the basic needs of nourishment and self-nurture, allow me to make perfectly clear that I am referring solely to the most intrinsic human need, what it is that makes us human beyond our mere mutations that in all honesty should have killed us ages ago, that creates the initial urge to even pursue these animalistic activites in spite of the constant conscious questions. Incidentally, though, the same base pursuits are in themselves conflicts-- fighting to claim what has never been an abundance of resources, to conquer and reap benefits of mating and safety, etc. Whoever doesn't succeed dies.

Conflict is a need as a motivator, a concrete reason for accepting an abstract concept like life. Each of us needs conflict to construct an identity, as every identity is the result of some long or short term goal (think in this instance of Descartes) and every action is either a prelude or preparation for a conflict or a result of it. Conflict inspires us to better ourselves, as well, so that we can get what our opponents have or get what they want before they do. Conflict is the sole resistant element to doubt. Otherwise, why bother to do anything? And by extention why exist? Conflict not only defines us, but all existing external elements of a decision, the parameters of our desires and the action necessary to gain it. In addition to definition by commission, conflict allows us to define ourselves by negation, even though that itself is mutable and fluid. We are not who we are fighting, and that's why we fight them. The desire not to possess a particular characteristic is equally strong to the desire to attain others.

Conflicts and opponents exist in every system of belief and politic in existence ever. There's always a struggle. In our present system of government, we're presented with (as some will remark, only the semblance of) two major divergent parties. If these parties are not simply old white men pretending to argue and divert our attention (too much bias?), then they are true opponents and as such have yet to execute true victory, thus eliminating completely and permanently the threatening side. It is more likely that there is a general pool of One congealed governing body and only an illusion of antagonism that many citizens take to an extreme, but this in itself is the public service, to give us drive and purpose, to allow us to form opinions and values without a deep knowledge of the history of philosophy and ethics. It provides for the layman and the everyman a show of concrete dichotomy, Us v. Them, and every lesser duality that exists under or beside this one only reinforces initial presentiments. So, opponents exist, by their own definition, nowhere in this world. There is nothing that prevents us from reaching our established goals. They are instead, components.

This is a dangerous realization to enact, though. Some attempt to affect a balance, a world without combat or dissent, would result in static. Nothing would move because there would be no stimuli, no reason. What is necessary is not a harmonious center, but contantly alternating extremes--balance would lead to a withering away, whereas each new setback or triumph inspires renewed vigor, redesigned attacks and reenergized purpose. The goal will always be to take or to take back what is not yours, no matter whether your targeted opposition possesses your targeted desire. So we need to be told as humans that there are parties to blame for our misfortune, even if after potentially eventually uniting as a species, that it's other species and even the whole of nature that itself has no conception of striving for attainment as humans have developed and maintained.

So, having eliminated our opponents by realizing they don't exist, we must understand the hinderance of internal conflict. We often prevent ourselves from happiness by making bad decisions or panicking and preventing fruition of an established attempt at success. Why? What stops us? It often seems we have no control over our doubts or laziness or fear or distaste. We often blame an intangible and invisible force we're unable to reconcile, an entity lodged within us, aggressive and relentless, often characterized or animated as a second self or even perhaps a manifestation of external stimuli. How do demons come to be created? There is a conflict in choices, sometimes. A conflict in schedules. A conflict in interests. Is it simply that we're unable to keep up with our own existence, that simply by experiencing the world, we become fraught with unspoken soliloquies preventing us from contentment? Do demons come rising from some inhaled ether to damn us to self-loathing and mediocrity?

I propose that the inner conflicts we experience are a direct result of the oppositions we face in the waking world. They are perhaps the negative result of what is essentially a healthy and positive natural occurrence. What is it that prevents us from attaining whatever we want? Why do we feel the need to decide? Why can't our spoils in this life simply wait on us to be ready for their acquisition? Because there is someone else waiting to take not only what we have but what we choose not to take. Every internal question and realization is a manifestation of existence in an external world of interaction. Our own inner demons are that which we define as unwanted inside ourselves. Aren't they defined by others' preconceptions or standards or is it an innate reaction to what is innately not us? By what we need to meet or surpass to defeat our opponents? In this case, it would be beneficial for the mind to relinquish conflict. But then we are left complacent. So even here, we stand at an impasse. I guess this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object. Luckily, we will never live without conflict.

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