Home > Philosophy, Pictures, Spirituality > Are war and peace human concepts?

Are war and peace human concepts?

Downtown Houston, TX - Sunday Afternoon
Sunday afternoon in downtown Houston, Texas. By Detlef.
Thinking about this tweet by Richard Reeves about how earth seems to be a peaceful planet –  if you look at it from space.

My first impulse was to answer: war and peace are purely human concepts – so if you take a perspective were there are no humans you won’t see any war or peace.

Is the moon a peaceful place? Not much going on there, not even a slight breeze. It’s like a Sunday afternoon in downtown Houston, Texas. Hmm. But is that peace? A dove fluttering here, a tourist meandering there, a polluted river running its course to the gulf of Mexico.

Is the sun a peaceful place? Definitely not. Storms, constant movement, nuclear fusion. No parallel on earth for that. Fortunately. But is that war?
Mountain Brook
By Detlef.

And is the lion at war with the zebra?

Is the mountain brook at war with the stones it is cutting through?

Is water at war with gravity?

The Geek (thank you, Ryan!) Greek philosopher Heraclitus seems to answer these questions with a dedicated “Yes!” as he maintains: “War is the father to all things“.

I’d answer with a rather less dedicated “probably not”. This is just one of these many pictures that are only existing in the eye of the beholder.

Thank you, Richard, for throwing the stone!

  1. May 20, 2009 at 3:49 am

    When I look at the pictures you have posted, the word that comes to mind is harmony

    • May 20, 2009 at 4:21 am

      Thank you, Susan, for providing the missing link.
      Harmony is a mathematical/ physical phenomenon which might exist independently from the eye of the human beholder. (A modern physicist would probably dispute that – but who understands modern physics?)

  2. May 20, 2009 at 4:34 am

    so harmony is the link between war and peace?

    • May 20, 2009 at 5:14 am

      Hi, I think harmony is neither war nor peace as it’s order, movement in a certain order. Mathematical movement of strings or other bodies and air, ultimately our ears. Order leaning always towards peace, I believe.

      • May 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm


        Do you consider chaos to be a type of harmony?

      • May 20, 2009 at 10:52 pm

        Hi Henie,
        no I don’t consider chaos as a type of harmony. For me harmony in music is always part of something which could be expressed in mathematical terms, like rhythm or the frequencies of sounds.
        I don’t know about visual harmony, that’s your field, Henie. Could a picture by Jackson Pollock be harmonious? Hmm. – Probably yes – but I think that harmony would have to be donated by the eye of the beholder.
        Thank you, the cerebellum provoker has hit again 🙂

      • May 21, 2009 at 9:11 pm

        Harmony is the diciplinarian of chaos!:~)

  3. May 20, 2009 at 6:29 am

    I like to think of the lion and zebra being in harmony rather than at war. After all, it’s the natural cycle–the cycle of life, as I believe I learned from Lion King. War too, among humans, could also be thrown under the “natural order of things” if you tried too…. I’ve obviously not thought about this as much as I should.

    On a totally unrelated note, how does one become a Geek philosopher, because I think that would be an awesome title. 🙂

    • May 20, 2009 at 6:57 am

      You become a Geek philosopher when your R goes AWOL on you and Corporal Spellchecker doesn’t notice. The R being probably on holiday in Texas.

      Hi, Ryan and thank you!
      Here we are again at the eye of the beholder: For the lion it’s perfect harmony – for the zebra it’s pretty, pretty dissonant – as long as it lasts…

  4. May 20, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Maybe the zebra takes consolation in that not only does he get to be savagely attacked and eaten alive by a lion, but then his remains fertilize the grass which helps out the other zebras fatten themselves up to in turn be eaten prematurely.

    If I were a zebra, I’d hitch a ride with R and take a holiday in Texas.

    • May 20, 2009 at 8:06 am

      How I would like to join the R and the zebra!

      Is that the classical “Economic Zebra Cycle” you just described? Watch the zebra! Sell in May, go away….

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