TTWA: World Peace or Toilets

Waterfall City, from James Gurney’s Dinotopia

 TTWA Assignment:  Briefly but convincingly, state why world peace is better than indoor plumbing.

Imagine you are one of the last man or woman on Earth.  Mother Nature has finally conquered mankind, our cities, our roads, our airports, and our ice cream parlors.  Despite the loss of internet and ice cream, the planet has ascended into a new Eden: wars died out with much of the human population, parasitic organisms and their resulting diseases died with the world’s population of Homo sapiens, fruit and the few remaining livestock provide ample food, and land is plentiful.  In fact, humans — those that still remain — choose to live wherever they feel at ease — that is as far from one another as possible.  In such a world, where competition and infighting no longer exists, where the multitudes of the human population can no longer pollute the planet, indoor plumbing is no longer a neccessity.

After all, who would complain if you christened the nearby river as your own personal bath tub?  How cool would it be to shower in the curtain of a waterfall?  Or drink water as clear and beautiful as a liter of Mountain Valley Spring Water from an actual mountain spring?  Who would stop you?  Who would care?

Personally, at this state, I would construct myself a comfortable treehouse near a waterfall. No one would bother me — this is peacetime after all — and if anyone took offense, let them find their own river.  If you’re one of the last humans on Earth, it’s rather silly to be particular about space.

TTWA Assignment: Briefly but convincingly, state why indoor plumbing is better than world peace.

Peace is the answer.  Yeah, right.  Buzz words like freedom, unity, and peace are thrown around  lot — especially before November elections — to the point that most people believe that these concepts are universally good things.  Freedom is often linked with free speech or human rights, but may also grant others to right infringe on your property or rights (i.e.  Why is theft a crime then?).  Typically, we agree that all people are free . . . as long as people understand where that freedom ends.

In many ways, peace like history depends on the storyteller.  Most of us consider a ‘peaceful’ day in the park or the woods, listening to the birds chiriping and the wind in the trees, yet never considering that birds kill and eat insects and that plantlife is always competing for nutrients and sunlight.  A forest canopy suffocates new growth by blocking the sun from new shoots; parasitic vines strangle tree branches and smother leaves; reeds in our nation’s wetlands exude a toxic chemical that kills neighboring plants.  Is this peaceful?  From a biological perspective, life is war.  The only peace living things achieve in their lifetime arrives in death.

Many kings, emperors, and conquerers have aimed for peace in their lifetime, and so have justified any manner of atrocity to achieve peace.  Desire for peace may mask the most horrible intentions: war, disease, genocide.  Even the scenario, I presented in the assignment above, assumes an apocalyptic event before humanity will achieve relative peace.   Therefore, on the road to peace, tread carefully, because not all paths are equal.

This is why if someone asks me whether I would enjoy indoor plumbing to world peace, I would always choose the plumbing.  After all, a warm shower after a long day of work . . . what could be more peaceful than that?

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