From the culture of war to the culture of peace
By Demosthenes Kyriazis
The dominant culture of humanity and its causes
In the known history of mankind, dominant culture of different peoples was and still is the culture of war; it was and is the civilization of war.
Reference to this fact originated first from the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, from Ionia (544-484 BC) who declared that: The war is the father and king of all things that make some people Gods, others free and others slaves. “Πόλεμος πάντων μέν πατήρ ἐστι, πάντων δέ βασιλεύς, καί τούς μέν θεούς ἔδειξε τούς δέ ἀνθρώπους, τούς μέν δούλους ἐποίησε, τούς δέ ἐλευθέρους”
The culture of war was viewed by scholars and ordinary people, as a natural phenomenon associated with the biological, spiritual and moral survival of people; it was treated like the earthquakes, the appearance of which is not possible to be prevented from man and all you can do, is to be prepared to treat them with the least possible losses.
In the first communities the only cause for the development and maintenance of the culture of war was the survival with the aforementioned general sense of the word. But with the passage of centuries, the survival has ceased to be the leading cause and it was replaced from the creation of people / gods as Heraclitus has stated, that is the creation of faux Messiah, enlightened leaders, people’s saviors from their suffering. Examples of culture of war against foreign and domestic enemies need not be mentioned. Everyone knows enough about current and older men, locals and foreigners, who wanted to become gods or demigods with Heraklitia process.
It would be of great interest if, from experts’ inquiries, was known the percentage of all civil and interstate wars that have as real cause: (1) the need for people’s survival, and (2) the ambition of some people to "become gods." For example, by reliable evidence, to be determined what is the real cause of the current war in Syria, the survival, or the ambition of some men to become gods?
In the assessment of an ordinary citizen, the result of such an investigation would show that the actual cause of most wars was the ambition of some people to "become gods'."
The culture of Peace
In recent years, some thinkers, more known the Spanish poet, thinker and political Federico Mayor Zaragoza[i] , argued that the culture of the humanities that prevailed in the past and still at present, is the culture of war; it is the civilization of war. This culture today should and can be changed from culture of war to culture of peace.
The proposed measures to be taken for the change of the prevailing culture are based on social, rational and humanist arguments like the dissemination of the idea, the right education and the civil movements for making the appropriate institutional measures.
It would be unseemly and disrespectful not to mention that development efforts for the culture of peace, using metaphysical / religious arguments, have been done in the past by the founders of religions, culminating in Jesus Christ.
The ways of creation of culture of peace
The change of the prevailing culture of war and the measures proposed to achieve the change, have top and unquestionable value. Without intent, and the possibility to challenge or comment on them, we limit ourselves to mention a view for it’s efficiently transformation, based on the principals and the laws of thermodynamics.
In this sense, the improvement of social systems is created from the reduction of entropy. The prevalence of the culture of peace is a necessary condition but not sufficient for a radical improvement of social systems. This view is based on the solid conclusion that, the culture of war, when utilized for survival, leads to a reduction of entropy, and when exploited to make some people Gods, leads to an increase of entropy.
The above conclusion is readily apparent because in social systems the entropy is expressed by the degree of concentration of citizens’ power to a few members of the society[ii]; to the king, or to the elective or arbitrary [iii] (self-elective) representative.
The problem therefore of salvation of social systems and, by extension of the people, is achieved with the cancellation of the real cause which increases the entropy; the cancellation of the ambition of some persons to "become gods" with Heraklitia process.
The fundamental condition of the transformation
In the logic of the above, in order for a genuine and not verbose culture of peace to be created and consolidated, the low entropy shall be primarily safeguarded from the rules of the constitution and secondly from the measures mentioned above. This is because in the representative democracies, taking the above measures is a right and responsibility of the representatives/rulers, who act under the Necessity of natural law, which in the popular wisdom is summed up in the adage: “the priest first blesses his beard."
In other words, as long as the rules of the constitution will enable the elective or the arbitrary representatives to act as gods, the culture of peace will remain one noble effort with little chance to lead to a radical improvement in the quality of social systems.
The regime of low entropy
But what is the regime that with its institutions may ensure the prevalence of low entropy? What is the regime of low entropy?
This regime is the Democracy of the Ancient Greek spirit; it is the regime of the "ruling and governed citizen", in which there is no institutional capacity for someone to "become God".
The operation of this regime had in the past significant financial and operational difficulties, because the citizens had to go to the Pnyka[iv] to be informed, consulted and decision-making through referenda. These difficulties have as consequence the true Democracy, the Direct Democracy, to operate only in the small state-cities of Greece and for a relatively short time.
But today, in the Digital Age and the Information Society, such difficulties have been overcome with insignificant direct and indirect costs.
Today people do not need to go to Pnyka, because the Digital Pnyka will go to Citizens.
Today, the operation of true Democracy, of the Ancient Greek Democracy, is functionally and economically feasible, thanks to digital technology. Obviously, the institutions and practices of Ancient Greek Democracy, have to be adapted to today’s data, especially to technological ones, to be created the Democracy of 21st century; the Digital Direct Democracy.
[i] Federico Mayor Zaragoza was born in Barcelona to1934; he studied biochemistry (PhD) and served as Minister, General Director of OUNESCO and president of the Foundation for Peace Culture. He wrote books for that matter, some of which were translated into Greek.
[iii] Arbitrary in Greek is Αυθαίρετος (Αυτό- αιρετός), that means self- elective.
[iv] Pnyka is a hill, opposite and southwest of Acropolis in Athens. Since the end of the 6th c BC it has been established as the place where the “Ecclesia of Demos”, that is the assembly of ancient Athens citizens, convened. Afterwards it has been recognized as a landmark of Democracy.