Man’s Greatest Enemy
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Enemy. When one hears this word, people tend to automatically relate this to negative emotions such as sorrow, despair, anger and hatred. By definition, an enemy is a person we feel hatred for, foster harmful designs against, or engage in antagonistic activities against; an adversary or opponent. Most people think that an enemy must be someone you foster a great deal of hatred for, but that is not necessarily the case. While saying that the person you hate the most should be considered your enemy is correct, the question that I would like to bring forward is who you will consider to be your greatest enemy.
By now, I believe there are already some names that stir up the emotions mentioned above, such as anger and hatred; however, that is not the answer I am looking for. Have you ever considered the idea that your worst and greatest enemy is someone you know better than anyone else; someone who is closer than you might expect? Sir Thomas Browne once said “Every man is his greatest enemy, and as it were, his own executioner”. Keeping that thought in mind, the question that remains unanswered is who is man’s greatest enemy?
Wayne LaPierre from the NRA once said “Guns don’t kill people”. While there are many arguments with regards to this topic, one thing is quite certain and that an inanimate object is not able to cause harm by itself. However, when any type of items is placed in the hand of a human, especially one that is not mentally or emotionally stable, there will be deaths all around us. Donald K. Martin wrote an article titled “Letter: Guns don’t kill people, etc” about his experience with an experiment he conducted at his home. He placed his shotgun on the front porch, gave it six shells and a wheelchair to move around since it has no legs.
At the end of the day, the shotgun was still sitting in the wheelchair and not killed anyone. This might sound hysterical to some, but it is definitely a true event. To add on, the continual invention of weapons of mass destructions such as chemical or biological weapons make us a person that is trying to destroy humanity rather than embrace it. As such, tools of war or one’s opponent is not the enemy of mankind but mankind itself. We, as humans, are far too driven by our goals, our wants and/or hatred that we easily forget life’s simplicity while competing with others on who is the best and is allowed to live off the benefits of the loser.
In today’s society, it could be said that man is his own greatest enemy. Man, by nature, is driven by greed and lust and this create wars that kill and affect millions or even billions of people worldwide. Wars come in many different forms; it does not necessarily have to be in terms of conquering countries through the use of brute force but it could also be in the forms of using social media or guerrilla tactic and warfare to achieve and satisfy man’s need for power. While it is true that the victor of war have always be the one who is considered to be the hero in addition to having the right to change bits and pieces of information that will be published as what we know as history, there will be revolutionists who will aim to strike back in order to get back their rights and freedom.
To some people, these revolutionists are merely terrorists who are trying to strike fear into their hearts, and to some others, they are freedom fighters trying to set their nation free from conquerors. With that said, creating wars just for the purpose of showing off powers as they do not feel good and secure about themselves will eventually lead to man being their own greatest enemy as they are not able to satisfy themselves and wanting to get more and more of certain things that is within their grasp.
Wars not only take away lives of our loved ones but also our environment. The impact caused by war on the environment is far too great to be undone or corrected. The first impact of war would be physical disruption to our landscape. What was once a peaceful scenery full of greenery is now a barren land not suitable for habitations. The second impact of war created by man is pollution that is created all around us. Overusing weapons of mass destruction could easily lead to radiological, chemical or bio-toxic contamination of our natural habitat. In addition to that, transportation of oil and from one location or another would eventually lead to an oil spill damaging our environment and killing many of the wildlife in the sea. Looking back at all these negative effects that affect our planet, is the cause of war justifiable?
In addition to causing damage to the environment, what about the people affected by chemical warfare all around the world? One good example would be those who are affected by Agent Orange in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Till today, people who are affected by it will give birth to children that are full of disabilities. It is not a sight that is deem to be fun or enjoyable but one of sadness and desperation. As I have said, war is a cause that is made by people who are of opposing views, wanting to be the better of the two. With that in mind, who is really the true enemy here? Is it the other party or is it ourselves? Either way, the true enemy is humanity itself. While it is true that technological advances made these weapons of mass destruction, it has also made life easier for us. In an environment where everything is easily accessible with a single push of a button, it seems that humanity have break the limitations of being a man to that of a superhuman.
With that said, how is it possible that we are our own enemy? Helping our friends when they are in trouble, or those who are affected by natural disasters be it within the nation or somewhere across the world. It would seem to us that people are close to one another and that considering ourselves to be humanity’s greatest enemy seems rather unconvincing. Improving our lives and advancing our technology in ways more than one to help each other seems like showing that our world has no enemies but brothers-in-arms, helping one another in times of need. However, while technology keeps on improving, it destroys our lives as well. As each passing day, we are always looking for a better use of our advancement of technology without actually knowing the consequences of it. Remember what happen with regards to the Chernobyl Catastrophe?
A simple yet efficient way of making life easier almost instantaneously turn to humanity’s destruction. It would seem to me that human are getting more and more complacent and thinking that they are able to do anything and get away with it. This incident causes destruction beyond one’s imagination, deaths that almost reached one million due to radiation contamination. Looking back, who is the main culprit for this incident? Is it our enemy that we regard as terrorist or is it ourselves? To add on, in an era where smartphones, Internet and social media is the most important thing in the world, it would seem to me that we, as humans, are wasting our lives away. Gone were the days where people would go out and have fun for the purpose of making friends.
In contemporary times, making a friend means to head “online” and simply messaging each other on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Path. Is this not what we would consider to be destruction of mankind in itself? People are hating each other to be labelled as “cool” or “upcoming” but what about the other half of the group in which they are deemed to be the “loser”? In such a society, are we able to say that we, ourselves, are not our own greatest enemy?
Looking back at all the points made above, it would seem to be that the main reason as to why people do these things is due to the idea of self-doubt. An implementation of our mind playing on us into having fears and insecurity about ourselves and wanting more and more so we feel wanted and accepted into the society. As a human, we are have many different reasons to feel down and some of which will in turn result to being our greatest enemy. For example, our expectation of constant contentment, being obsessed with examining personal failures, surrendering to comfort, self-limiting our beliefs, resistance to being vulnerable and expectation of how things are supposed to be done or happen cause us to lead humanity into the pit of destruction. While it is not limited to just these few events, it is the most probable cause of causing pain and suffering to oneself and those around them. With that said, is human really the greatest enemy of mankind, man being his own greatest enemy or is there someone greater, an epiphany in which we are able to say that that is man’s greatest enemy.
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