Finalist, 2004 Kids Philosophy Slam
Nicholas Post, age 15
Bethpage, NY

Why do we slow down at traffic accidents? Why do we make executions public? Why do millions of television viewers around the world tune in every night to be enveloped in hours upon hours of violence? Mankind loves bloodshed.

Since the first pair of grunting Neanderthals to walk the earth bashed each other over food, humans have not ceased to kill each other. The amount of global peace since the beginning of civilization is limited to days. And as time goes on, we reinvent our means of killing each other. When the wooden club failed, we used the mace. When the mace failed, we used the sword. When the sword failed, we used the rifle. And now, in an age when any individual with a phone line can order a high-powered assault rifle, designed to kill a person as efficiently as possible, where governments are just a button away from destroying entire cities, where fighting extends beyond conventional means into using chemicals to destroy the enemy biologically, society's passion for war and death is all too obvious.

Ancient Rome is an example where we can see that mankind has always loved blood and gore. Those that managed to survive the carnage that is war with the Romans were doomed to an even more bloody fate. Prisoners of war were pitted against each other in the merciless spectacle that is the gladiatorial combat. The Coliseum in Rome considered a triumph and symbol of man's power, shows us that even in a time of peace, our human nature embraces violence. Is it any wonder why today's society is immune to the way we treat each other? Are today's video games and spectator sports any different than the mob mentality of The Coliseum?

Human beings have two responses to danger. Fight or flight. Based on this alone, one can conclude that every human is constantly flipping a figurative coin when in a tense situation. It is shocking that we have the capacity to restrain ourselves as much as we do. But war is not only man's primal response to threat. On a more sophisticated level, humans use violence as an outlet for internal frustration. Anger, hate, racism, envy--these are all caused by a feeling of insecurity, an unavoidable feeling felt by all men and women. This insecurity manifests itself as the dogs of war, a temporary release for the pressure of being born a person. Society's drug of choice is violence.

Man is a bloodthirsty, destructive war machine. As advanced as society grows, as sophisticated as one gets, no human can deny this quality.

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