I have always reckoned that the more you read the more you realise that history repeats itself and that there is nothing new on the face of the earth.
As researchers keep finding out, many of the things that occur today go back as far as three thousand years ago, even such things as post-traumatic stress.
Warriors in ancient Iraq, now the battlefield of extreme Islamic insurgency, had been the first to suffer the excruciating stress as a result of hard battles carried out over a long period of time.
The first account of PTSD was believed to date from 490BC, following the Marathon Wars between the Greeks and the Persians. But researchers at Anglia Ruskin University discovered texts suggesting it could have existed as far back as 1300BC, during the Assyrian dynasty with the symptoms explained as being caused by the spirits of dead enemies, the victims killed in battle.
Researchers now believe men in Assyria suffered from PTSD because they had to fight every three years under National Service. Their new research paper says: ‘Ancient soldiers must have been just as terrified of swords, sling-stones or iron-hardened tips of arrows.’
Human beings never seem to change. Despite the progress of science and civilisation we remain instinctively with a barbaric streak that manifests itself when we are challenged, or when driven by conquest out of greed, or the compulsion to enslave others under the banner of glory.
The world in the twenty-first century has not learned from past conflicts and is now like a boiling pot ready to overspill if the fire is not contained or switched off.
Is strife inherent in our genes? I don’t for a minute belief this to be the case. It is perhaps our competitive culture that’s behind it all. A top dog scenario is like the trigger of a gun raring to be pulled to achieve our goal, irrespective of the damage we inflict on others.
The power of supremacy can create a dimension of evil hard to stifle or keep in check, for our nature is perhaps the ultimate culprit.