Towards the end of the first millennium, humanity was afraid that God would put an end to the world, because of what he said in the apocalypse of St. John. Nowadays, as we are coming close to the end of the second millennia, man is becoming more and more afraid that perhaps he himself is going to put an end to the world. Has anything changed at all in human consciousness during the last one thousand years? What does man need to understand now that he knows that he and only he will be responsible and not some fictitious God?
There has been a great change in human consciousness during the past one thousand years. But the change is such that you can see it only when a real situation arises, and man responds in a totally different way than he has ever responded before. For example, there has never been so much awareness about peace, and there has never been so much antagonism towards war.
In fact, war was always respected in the past, and peace was never thought of as anything more than a gap between two wars – nothing positive, just a preparation for a new war. You need some time. A war destroys so much that you cannot immediately start another war; hence a time of peace is needed. This is not authentic peace, it is simply cold war. The war and all its components continue underground, preparing for a more dangerous and a more destructive war in the future.
The whole past has been respectful of the warrior. It is only just now in these few past years that war has become a dirty four-letter word, and peace has become for the first time a desire and a longing of the very heart of humanity.
As far as I am concerned, war has become almost impossible.
The impossibility of war is based on two fundamentals. One is a human consciousness about the futility of war. Nobody can claim that it is something beautiful, something honorable, something which gives dignity to humanity. Slowly, slowly it has penetrated into human consciousness that war takes away all dignity. It makes man fall below animals, because even animals don’t kill their own species; lions don’t kill other lions, deer don’t kill other deer. It is only man who kills other human beings. It is a disqualification, not a great quality to be honored.
So the first thing is that war has fallen into disrespect, into utter futility, stupidity; it has lost all its past glory and significance.
Secondly, the war materials – atomic energy and nuclear weapons – have reached to such a point that they have made war impossible. Unless the whole of humanity suddenly goes mad, war is impossible, because the only purpose of war was to defeat the enemy, the only purpose was to be victorious. Victory was the end. But now, with nuclear weapons, there is no defeat, no victory; no one is defeated, no one becomes victorious, all are dead. The whole life on the planet simply disappears.