2004 — Most Philosophical 8th Grader in America:

Michelle Adriana McGrath, New York

War or Peace? Is world peace possible, or does human nature make war inevitable?

There are many different customs and religions, all of which mean a lot to the people who practice and believe in them. As I grow older and start to form my own opinions about society, I realize people's ignorance leads them to misunderstandings of other societies. I also know that as a thirteen year-old girl I am ignorant myself, but I am a person who can admit this. This fact of ignorance within the whole world is one of the reasons I feel war is inevitable.

Even today we are at war, and some people may think they know everything that happens in the worlds of the people on the opposing side. But who are we to judge if we have not experienced or been able to tap into their minds and true feelings? How do we know that some of them don't feel the least bit guilty or pressured into fighting for their country? I can't say I know, but what if? What if we kill people because of the image they may display and then find out that what we thought about those people is totally different from what they really were? This ignorance is a factor on all sides. The truth is we will never be able to get rid of the ignorance because of human nature. We are all filled with different opinions and beliefs, and nothing in the world can change that.

Human nature doesn't only contribute to war with ignorance but also with people's desire for power. There are many people who feel a need for power or control over something. Some teachers may even teach because it makes them feel in control. Some become bosses, presidents, or even managers, and these jobs all include power or control over someone or something. Sometimes this power, as little as it may be, is taken out of control.

I also believe another reason that war is inevitable is because of hate, and it is true that hatred is another feeling that comes with ignorance and power. This makes hatred another part of human nature. No matter what, hatred is always a part of someone in some way, despite what they may think.
I do believe war is inevitable, and I feel this way because of the ignorance, hatred and lust for power that is often present in too many people of influence on society.

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