Sunday, 21 July 2013

World War 2 Didn't Happen!

I used to think that one should do history by facts. Much of history as I was taught it featured the worst in human cruelty, of bloodshed and warfare. This narrative didn't fit into my view of human nature, of politics, of our species' place in a grander historical narrative.

That Germany could seek to eradicate the Jewish peoples, or Russia would send soldiers over the front lines without weapons, or that people would do anything to harm the beautiful countryside of Europe is just awful. That Japan would seek to invade Australia, or that the US would built nuclear weapons - these are the facts I resented but thought I had to believe on the basis of them being fact.

But no more! Thanks to Virginia Heffernan, I am free from those pesky facts, and can choose the narrative of my liking. As she explains:
All the while, the first books of the Bible are still hanging around. I guess I don’t “believe” that the world was created in a few days, but what do I know? Seems as plausible (to me) as theoretical astrophysics, and it’s certainly a livelier tale. As “Life of Pi” author Yann Martel once put it, summarizing his page-turner novel: “1) Life is a story. 2) You can choose your story. 3) A story with God is the better story.”
Now it seems as plausible to me that world war is just a propaganda vehicle of modern day nationalists, who use fictional imagery to distract from the issue at hand. The idea that nations would actually go to war, sacrifice millions of people for pointless ends, and unleash devastating weapons that could potentially destroy the world - that's just not as compelling as one where this is merely a fiction on our society.

It's simply a matter of aesthetics that I choose to believe that war is a fiction. Life is a story, I can choose my own story, and a story without war / genocide is the better story. I'm not bound at all to pesky things like evidence and reason, or have to believe on the basis of fact and theory. Belief is an aesthetic, and believing a story that doesn't involve the slaughter of Jews, the building of the atomic bomb, and my own grandfather signing up as a teenager to help protect Australia is my choice.

It's also how I'm a billionaire, and president of Earth.

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