As a species, we have constantly been in war with ourselves ever since the dawn of the development of our conscience that has separated us on the basis of our beliefs, cultures and ideologies. In the pursuit of wars, countless amounts of wars have been waged and numerous amounts of lives lost. But the ne thing that has improved whenever a war has been fought has been science.
Whenever we think of war, we imagine either Roman legionnaires in full battle armour hacking their enemies with battle formations and tactics, or the dropping of bombs on enemy forces with plumes of smoke and flame rising up into the atmosphere which somewhat obscure the real carnage that has been wrought.
But whenever wars have been waged, there has been an inherent need to win against the other side, and it has been this ambition of improving that has been a driving factor for improving technology. Earlier, it was bricks and stones, which moved on to bows and arrows, cavalry, moats and battlements. Battering rams and trebuchets, to Mustard Gas and finally to the current level of nuclear weapons and subsonic missiles.
It is an inescapable fact that wars have resulted in the creation of weapons with levels of damage that have been unimaginable before, but s also helped us develop better ways of coping up with the damage that was wrought during and after these wars. Medical sciences related to healing have since far progressed, from using locally available herb concoctions to using sponges that staunch wounds in their entirety.
A rather cool example is that of tampons. Tampons were originally invented for being used to plug bullet wounds suffered by soldiers during battles, but over a period of time they found their use to enable women maintain their sexual health and hygiene, and prevent any uterine diseases from hampering their health.
Furthermore, there were subsequent developments in neurosurgery, psychiatry and orthopedy. Mobile laboratories were set up, and people like Sir Neil Hamilton Fairley used Australian soldiers to study malaria, and it was his work that later paved the way for the research of Garnham and Shortt’s work in 1948. Fairey’s work proved that taking one mepacrine tablet a day helped keep malaria at bay.
Additionally, World War 2 saw the improvement and innovation in the usage and distribution of penicillin to prevent soldiers from contracting gonorrhea and syphilis. The trauma faced by the soldiers during these wars helped in laying down the foundational bases of psychoanalytic study, which helped in the development of cognitive behavioral therapy, making breakthroughs in post-traumatic stress disorders and psychological trauma.
Hell, ever since we discovered that splitting an atom yielded immense amounts of energy, we’ve been using that process to satisfy our angst of killing everyone else in sight. But what we don’t realise is, is that nuclear energy is one of the cleanest forms of non-replenishable energy on the planet, even if it requires a substantial amount of capital an infrastructural investment.
It was wars that helped us develop ways of counteracting diseases that have been mentioned above, and have also been the reason behind the militaristic superiority and dominance countries like the USA. It was wars that helped the victors impose their wills onto the world and gave them access t untapped resources that they could exploit for their own gain.
I’m not stating in any capacity that wars are good; they’re a relentless tirade of bloodshed resulting in the spillage of the blood of millions across the world, where the one who is the most focused on the victory wins, with no regards to the collateral damage that has been dealt to others and even themselves. Regardless of this fact, wars shall remain inevitable since the human need of expressing their own superiority will continue to reign over our sense of humanity for the world.
Remember that scene from Iron Man 1? “The bow and arrow were once the pinnacles of human technology, which allowed the great Genghis Khan to rule from the East till the Mediterranean. But whoever now holds the latest Stark weapons is the one who rules the world.”
This line is crazy accurate, but not in respect to Stark weapons, but in terms of what Tony Stark says to the journalist Christine Everheart about intelli-crops that have saved millions of lives around the world. Intelligent-crops like HYV seeds have not only helped us increase grain production, but have allowed us to counter famines and establish food securities in areas which were once vulnerable to food shortages during any give crises.
Technology has always been at the forefront of human evolution and growth. It hasn’t been in the primary places during times when moral revolutions were required to overthrow monarchies and fascist governments, but has always been the backbone of any human struggle, be it war or revolution. And during the current time periods, its been at the forefront, paving the way of processing capabilities and machine learning.
The prospective conditions for war seem extremely probable, given how this year has gone bye with tensions escalating among numerous nations worldwide. Regardless, the chances of actual war breaking out are extremely miniscule, because if war does break out, the entire world would be nothing but ash and dust at the end, and probably be like how the new Total Recall started.
Regardless of wars, we have still been progressing by leaps and bounds on account of daily breakthroughs and scientific discoveries. But if it will always be conflicts and wards that act as an irony, since they will be the events that will further the search for maximizing and minimizing casualties throughout the future history of the world.