2010 – Most Philosophical 8th Grader in America :

Eric Lee, Missouri.

Is the Pen Mightier than the Sword?

The Sword’s Mark on Society

In 1994, the Hutu population of Rwanda led a genocidal revolt against the Tutsis who held political power in the country. Almost immediately the UN sent in troops to try and protect surviving Tutsis within strongholds while diplomats figured out relations. In short, diplomacy failed , and troops had to be pulled out. This is one of the more modern examples of where sheer force proves to be simply unstoppable to the pen. With this, the sword and all tools that inspire the sword are proven to overcome art and all the ideas of the pen through how easily one can come by violence, and the difficulty the common man has understanding art and literature.

Violence is both the cheapest and most abundant resource in the world. If someone really wants their mark to be made in society, they simply have to launch a deadly and brutal attack. if you were to write a poem regarding your wish to have freedom, it would take months for you to get it published, let alone for it to be understood, whilst a shooting would grab you every news channel within minutes. The ending to such scenarios also echoes my statement. You won’t be able to convince a homicidal maniac to come willingly to jail. it is only under the threat of his own life that you might be able to convince him to give up his arms.

In this problem lies another. The pen has the obvious ability to inspire individuals to lead more peaceful lives, but how easy is it to understand art and poetry? 774 million out of 6.6 billion adults are illiterate, and as the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Much learning does not teach understanding.” Where does this leave us? With a large population of the world who can’t even read the fruits that the pen bears, and an even larger population of those who aren’t able or don’t want to understand it. This is another area where the sword excels. Since we were babies, we have understood how to kick and punch, whereas the average child becomes literate around age three.

As the French philosopher Voltaire once said, “Common sense is not so common.” At looking towards the opinion of the common man (the pen is mightier than the sword), I cannot help but to scoff at the common man. What influence does the pen hold if there is no punishment? The common man might argue that the pen can make many swords move, but is that better than holding the sword yourself? Is ordering a murder better than holding the knife yourself? The common man would say no to these questions, so why do they agree that the pen is mightier than the sword? To put it simply, the common man does not possess common sense.


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