On the 100th Anniversary of the End of World War I
I take time today to share with many the contemplation of the conclusion of that immense conflict. World War I demonstrated human tribalism’s most deadly activity—war on a global scale, enhanced by technology to escalate carnage to an unprecedented level. When nations with adversarial cultures, ideologies, and territorial goals cannot coexist, war is the procedure that shatters tenuous balances that then shapes the future paths of all concerned—the ones who survive the devastation.
Diplomacy is a dance that attempts to direct the flux of antagonistic nationalisms, but history demonstrates that oft times the economic pressures, coupled with the impulse towards coalescing communal identities, can only be resolved via the use of naked force. Xenophobia drives hatred and the unleashed passions channel industries to flex their capacities while researchers strive to discover new means to magnify destruction. There might ultimately be clear victors, or the depletion of resources—both natural and human—may weary participants into the cessation of military battles. But an armistice that does not satisfy the survivors may just staunch aggressions until there can be a regrouping. As supplies are replenished while old hatreds fester, conflagration might again ignite.
As a Satanist, I am a realist who finds today a testament to how our species can bare its fangs while simultaneously finding in such strife a stimulus towards technological breakthroughs that can serve to better the times of peace that follow. And, despite the numerous deaths and horrific destruction of the works of society, I see that artists find inspiration from these tectonic events to create works which give us pause to reflect upon the capacity of the human animal to both create and destroy, to offer anger and empathy, compassion and antipathy. Our species is remarkable in its extremes—we ignore that at our peril.
On this singular Veterans Day, I salute with sincere gratitude and admiration all who have served in the militia worldwide to sustain—as well as attain—the precious privilege of liberty. Your gifts to us merit our abiding recognition for preserving the freedoms we all enjoy as we pursue our vital existence. At a time when tensions are rising around the globe, perhaps reason, coupled with remembrance of past struggles, might find the way through contending interests towards a stability that could cultivate a flourishing of our more creative abilites. World War I was certainly not “the war to end all wars,” as some had opined at its conclusion. I do not delude myself that our cultures are currently moving in a direction that would lead to tranquil prosperity. Would that global cooperation make battlefields but a fading memory, cenotaphs of barbarisms that have been surmounted. Via striving, we evolve, and pain is the consequence of the birth of new vistas. Yet, may we find ways going forward to lessen the costs of our future, through non-destructive engagements. Let prosperity and productivity reign as individuals cultivate their finest faculties—an affirmative destiny we should challenge ourselves to boldly design.
—Magus Peter H. Gilmore