Katherine the Great annexed Crimea for Russia. Sevastopol became a naval base and Kaffa a grain port. Black Death (and later cholera) entered Europe though Kaffa. Under siege, the city was bombarded with infected decapitated heads of Tatars catapulted in as a biological weapon to spread the disease. With the Revolution underway in 1920, the White armies evacuated from New Russia a port on the Black Sea under Bolshevik fire; in 1954 Khrushchev transferred Crimea from Russia to the Ukraine. In between and during WWII it became known as Gotland as the Nazi party rewrote history and as Germans from So Tyrol were to be resettled there. In 1991, the Soviet Union came to its end after a failed coup which unfolded at the southern tip of the Crimea at Faros, between Balaklava and Yalta. To ensure his own safe passage, Boris Yeltsin made Vladimir Putin the President of Russia. Fish, it is said, brought the Black Sea into history. The war in the Ukraine can remove it.
Golgotha gets steeper and the number of Stations to the Cross increase to reach salvation increase exponentially. Human rights – for life, safety, shelter, health are being consistently violated in Ukraine by the leaders of the Russian Federation as well as in many other parts of the world and we share the indictment of Russian aggression as a breach of the basic norm of international law. Russia is not the only one. As a permanent member of the Security Council, it is charged with upholding peace but has flagrantly abandoned the principles of the United Nations Charter. Russia threatens to use nuclear weapons as non-nuclear countries have growing ambitions to acquire them, has diminished the status of its own people and is squandering a tremendous cultural heritage.
Logic tells us that the longer war goes on, the more damage is done and more profit results. Logic tells us that the more guns there are in homes, the more deaths occur on the street, in homes, in supermarkets and the more miles driven by a fleet of vehicles on a given network of roads more accidents will take place. The more arms produced, the higher the likelihood of conflict. The manufacturing cost of arms used in four months in the Ukraine carries a colossal economic price tag (read human lives and profits) as well, an approaching gigantic loss of neutrality and inestimable burdens on future populations.
While claims of Russia include that the invasion was to erase the Nazi imprint (de-Nazification), its soldiers behave like conquerors from the middle ages – looting civilian homes and shops, indiscriminately shooting in cities and villages. Russia’s traumatic experience fighting Hitler cannot justify today’s brutal militarism in the Ukraine. A recent Russian Nobelist was attacked while on a train. Continuation of war further undermines Russia’s political, economic, and moral foundations. The fallout of effects to the rest of the world is already great and will spiral to enormous killing children by inequality and poverty.
Since the end of WWII thousands of actions have been taken, numerous declarations written and signed by towering individuals, but the world has not pulled back from manufacturing armaments, which make enormous profit. What else is there to do, is a plague of a question. Since the 24th of February 2022, thousands of articles, interviews, statements have been given; useful, yes and helpful, yes, to an understanding of conflict in the Ukraine, but in removing mankind from the danger of destruction, no! Even the wings of the butterfly of hope have been clipped and the Box of Pandora is wide open. We can’t go home again and tomorrow there will be no green grass.
To survive, the world must reconsider world government and the available instrument of philosophy. It is an untried option of the several already used which have contributed to the present social dementia. Philosophy can inspire and move the world and humanity away from all consuming disaster and lead it to a brighter future. It has the competence to add meaning to life and insight to complex matters. Supranational sovereignty with a basis in classical philosophy is surely better than what we have now or where we are heading.
We are living at a time when the unexpected should be awaited, when uncertainty and mindlessness characterize a significant portion of our current moment in history and when reason is overwhelmingly rejected. We call this social dementia!
The horses of the apocalypse gallop over the world today as they have always galloped, driven by social dementia. To rein them in will take a significant change in the universal mind-set necessitating a youth driven antiwar movement worldwide and a return to applied practical classical philosophy. After their gallop over the European continent in 1914-18, they were followed by the collapse of financial systems and the deployment of cruel ideologies.
In the early days of the Soviet Union Nikolai Vavilov, a brilliant geneticist, plant geographer and man of public health, looked to a future in which world hunger would be eliminated. He travelled the world on what he called ‘a mission for all humanity’ collecting and storing seeds at the Institute of Plant Industry. Ironically, he died of starvation in the Gulag eating frozen cabbage and moldy flour before being tossed into an unmarked grave. Vavilov was an opponent of Stalin’s favored scientist, Lysenko, who rejected Mendelian genetics and whose promoted quack theories to improve crop yields were applied following on from famine and a significant loss of productivity resulting from forced collectivization in the Soviet Union. With millions of children growing up in conflict zones, in horrific violence and with extremely limited food, the invasion of Ukraine has and is making things much worse.
Geneva 2021 was a fantastic chance to avoid the dangers that threaten humanity. It left no signposts to the future. In its aftermath, Ukraine is being destroyed, its people brutally killed and displaced, and its children deprived of any tomorrow, while its knock-on effects take our world to the brink of annihilation. In WWII Kiev was destroyed while close by Babi Yar saw the largest massacre of the Holocaust.
The second line of demarcation is the level of destruction and human suffering among Ukrainian civilians. Even legitimate resistance to an aggressor at some point becomes intolerable. There is a risk of escalation of war in Ukraine to a nuclear conflict as the world moves towards a more aggravated state of social dementia, while the sheer number of globally stockpiled nuclear weapons ups the risk.
Global empathy is sapped and shrouded in a pervasive madness not completely of today’s choosing. The adverse economic fallout from the war and sanctions will take on unmanageable proportions in many countries that depend on food and energy imports.
As social dementia depletes consciousness, danger to democratic society grows to threaten human existence. Social dementia is the shame of the civilized world; its greatest tragedies were the death camps in WWII, a Nazi policy instrument for mass killing of Jewish, Slav and Roma populations.
World War I was expected to be short-lived, it wasn’t! World War I was the war to end all wars. It didn’t. It was a war of horror, abominable trench and chemical warfare; killed, maimed, crazed and demented. George Barnes, first British minister of pensions, rose to speak to men suffering war traumas (1917). British victims of war trauma and patients at Britain’s largest limb fitting center were assembled on the lawn waiting with crutches, eye patches, head bandages, in wheelchairs, with empty sleeves and trouser legs and in silence. With tears streaming down his cheeks the minister stood for a long while and left without saying a word.
WWI left societies without women. As it began, organised propaganda emerged as a means of changing British sympathies from German (the humbled power) to French, (the defeated power). It did! It was a demonstration of the plasticity of the brain and an example of massive behavioral modification. As youth died in the trenches, poetry that moved evolved:
they shall grow not old as we that are left grow old.
Human brain en-cephalisation has developed in such a way to create both phenomenal ways of thinking, the music and poetry age shall not weary them nor the years condemn and with neural centers and networks that enhance craving for power and profit; from unsanitary conditions, ripping up the earth and from armaments. It has given rise to intelligent technology, an overwhelming rejection of reason and heart wrenching sentiment:
at the going down of the sun and in the morning we shall remember them.
As the world is being driven by positive feedback of authoritarianism, decision making in politics is shifting to lower cortical levels and empathy is losing out. In the absence or limitation of education the brain can be melded in destructive ways. The result is social dementia and the solution is practical classical philosophy. But who gives a damn?
Human brain en-cephalistion has developed in such a way to create both phenomenal ways of thinking and other neural centers and networks that enhance the craving for power and profit. It has given rise to intelligent technology and an overwhelming rejection of reason.
Nothing though can compare to potential devastation posed by nuclear weapons. They are the greatest hazard to life on earth. The risk of absolute disaster is close to one or close to certainty. Should a button be pressed, by accident or intent, time will have run out on humanity; any planning of disaster preparation and the protection of people and society for tomorrow will have no meaning. At the dreaded moment, millions of years of evolution will unravel and human consciousness and culture will disintegrate with no further need for the olive branch.
In collecting opinions as to when the Ukraine crisis began and whose fault it is, answers given include: 1914, 1918 and 2014, and American. WWII ended, in 1945, with a spirit of forgiving surfacing and prevailing, but not of forgetting. Now with war in the Ukraine neither are emergent, in 2022. But we must remain optimistic.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.