This chart image comes from an earlier blog post. I pitched out the idea that maybe the craziness we are feeling is due to evolution.
My belief is that the genus Homo Sapien, the term used to describe our kind for the last 250,000 years, needs to be retired.
In terms of the image on the far right encompassing where we are developmentally, we have tapped out everything that it signifies.
It’s time to update the evolutionary chart. (My earlier post provides a rationale.)
That post spurred a related thought, more evidence that the time has come to replace Homo Sapien.
It has to do with our military personnel, both active duty and veteran. (I can only speak about my country, the US, here.)
Thinking about evolution and the growing pains mankind is currently experiencing, our men and women in uniform aren’t committing suicide in record numbers because of the horrors of war.
They are killing themselves because their psyches are advancing beyond the concept of war.
Humans change. Human development is real. The basic inhumanity behind warfare will always be stuck where it is. Update the weaponry, provide more comforts to take the mind off war, but warfare is still warfare.
Think back to Revolutionary and Civil War times, here’s how combat worked.
Two groups of soldiers met in a field, each occupying opposite sides of said field. Next, the commanders lined their soldiers up shoulder-to-shoulder in row after row, facing the enemy. An enemy with cannons and rows of soldiers holding loaded rifles, aiming straight at these young men.
When the order was given, these lined-up soldiers marched forward, row and column. Forward, straight into the rain of cannon and gunfire. The idea was to keep going until something brought you to a stop.
Also: remember that they didn’t have body armor and helmets—and if you got hit by a bullet or whatever, no hope for morphine and pain meds. They weren’t invented yet.
That was warfare.
Imagine experiencing that multiple times, seeing so much death. Then coming home.
A nineteen year old kid, enduring that, then going home to plow the fields or raise cattle while raising a family and resuming something called “a normal life”.
In the days long before PTSD. (Well, PTSD existed, they just didn’t have a term for it.)
I can’t imagine living that way. I hope you can’t either. Historic visions of warfare seeming horrific and completely foreign to everything within you—this is a good thing.
Not being able to imagine yourself smack dab in the middle of evil is a sign that your psyche is becoming increasingly civilized and evolution is at work.
Human development is charging forward at the moment. We just aren’t comfortable with the idea yet.
That historical image of warfare, compare it to modern warfare. While war is still awful, logic suggests that today’s advancements—technology replacing human tasks, battlefield treatment options for the wounded, even base conditions that offer a few more comforts of home—would drive down the suicide rate, right?
No. Because while we are creating advancements to help war seem more civilized, the advancing psyche still sees war for what it is: atrocity. Can’t cover that fact up.
If evolution is about eliminating the primitive to advance forward, war is humanity at its most primitive. Clinging to warfare also holds back evolution.
Many of the dead didn’t choose suicide due to weakness. They chose it because the concept of war increasingly violates their core—that developing core within each of us, down in the subconscious.
God rest their souls and peace be with their families, these men and women experienced warfare differently than those humans who went to war before them.
Human development changes us. Positively.
The Vietnam War introduced the average person to the term “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”. As developing humans, we began to accept PTSD as normal. (BTW: identifying PTSD was itself a shining moment in evolution, seeing the stress as a natural reaction rather than a sign of weakness.)
From 9/11 onward, the U.S. approach to conflict around the world has been based in old-school thinking. We attacked al Qaeda as if it were a foreign country rather than a belief system. We rolled into Iraq ill prepared for the street-to-street fighting.
The troops that carried out these missions, they are paying the price.
The suicide rate is tragic—we as a nation are failing these military members and their families.
As we step up our care for them, we also need to view the suicide rate increase as a sign that a group of beings is collectively civilizing itself.
Because it is. Evolution is happening.
The United States plays a role in how conflict is resolved around the world. It’s our duty to evolve the idea of conflict resolution.