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  • Writer's picturejcvalicenti

Sustenance and Wealth - Humanities Two Root Motivations of Survival.

April 2024: With world society as it has become and talk of another #civilwar in the US and even #WorldWarIII being a possibility, I began to surmise if any of this were indeed possible. My conclusion was that perhaps they are, but not to the grand scale that we have seen such events occur before, and they would be much shorter in duration as the idea of them occurring makes less sense as the overall reason for such conflicts to start and be fought would not be the same today as it was before as society itself has changed significantly.

With this in mind, it brought up the idea that #humanhistory can be summarized in two goals of achievement: to eat, or more specifically, nourish oneself consistently each day without struggle, fending off near-total starvation, and to get wealthy, preferably quickly, and remain so without much effort (as this too can improve the nourishment achievement as well). This means that humanity's seeking of natural resources for sustaining life through the production of food and wealth was always the basic driving force for conflict between groups, leading to political and social conflicts either between nations or causing internal division. Author Michael Shaara hit upon this in his novel on the battle of #Gettysburg, "The Killer Angels," when he has the character of #JoshuaChamberlain say that the #FederalArmy was unlike any other before it, not fighting for anything monetary or simply for the desire of their leader or more primal desires (killing for enjoyment), but instead fighting with the purpose of ending a difficult situation that was negatively effecting the entire country (i.e., slavery, the war itself, and the country's division because of it).

This brings up the point that individual people over time, depending on a variety of circumstances: geographic location, social class, education, or the lack thereof, and the century to which they were born, etc., make them stand out in history as those who more obviously and directly pursued these achievements. All the rest fell into the grand schemes of those who had the power to manipulate situations to obtain them otherwise for their respective individual selves or for a group they represented. Emperors and Kings come to mind, with Aristocrats serving only for the hope and idea of advancing their status in their society (again to ease their need for sustenance and increase their wealth), and those under them in class being the expendable masses to which those above them could manipulate to their needs who served or fought perhaps for the idea of "well, life is pretty hard, but if I leave it and serve the person higher than me in status, I may find a way out of my own struggle to live, or just die in the process. Either way, I can leave my old life and struggles behind."

Now take any military conflict in history, and the pursuit of natural resources and wealth, in one form or another, would be the reason for it, even in the realm of Emperors and Kings, who would seek land and title for the same basic ideas. Now consider the loss suffered through the conflict, the trauma that then effects generations long after hostilities have ended, and the aftereffects of what events occurred to make it end. It is arguable that if the means by which resources are secured become so costly but the achievement is still obtained, was it indeed worth the loss in order to obtain it?

When looking at the #AmericanCivilWar as an example, the argument still continues today as the reasons for it being fought: the existence of slavery or state rights are still debated, but in truth both tie into the main idea of sustenance and wealth being the root cause. Though the aftereffects of it tied to social struggles connected to the economic progress of the country's various regions still echo on, The irony of this is that, as most societies have always needed a class system with a cheap labor force at its base, without which nothing else could be built, slavery as the base has changed, but utilizing the poorest of the poor to replace it has lasted and may never be altered. Many think this can be changed by utilizing less conforming styles of political and social structure in the modern day, but until humanity can no longer struggle for natural resources in general, the question will remain: can this change be possible?

Perhaps we are closer to this than we ever have been before. Though many still suffer across the world to obtain the basic materials of life to survive, overall most people are not circumstantially stuck in the struggle of a few determined individuals who seek sustenance and wealth, but rather in a perpetual endeavor considerably less than every generation before them to steadily climb (improve) their overall situation to survive and one day achieve some level of survival and, dare it be said, "comfort."

So if this is the case and a significantly large conflict is to occur, what resource will it be fought over, why will it be fought, and who will be on either side of that fight?

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