We have a new cold war brewing with North Korea. A cold war is, for all intents and purposes, a war of propaganda and psychology. Psychological wars, like conventional wars, maintain sufficient and perpetual fear in large groups of people. The result, I imagine, would be the same as a conventional war (minus hundreds of thousands -- if not millions -- of mangled bodies). It has been said that war = profit. However, I think there is more to it.

War generates profit

War and the destruction which follows it, facilitates a fear and an urgency that occurs within groups of human beings in traumatic situations.

It’s galvanizing. It motivates the "group" to work together more efficiently and be more productively. But, it also galvanizes citizens to allow their own governments to more frequently and brazenly violate their civil liberties in order to further the “war effort."

This galvanized human collective requires money to function, but it also generates money through increased productivity. Arms dealers profit from war. Banks profit from war. Despite its horrific nature, human populations actually flourish following war. No longer stagnant and complacent, they rise from the ashes, rebuilding and creating new life.

Cold and barren war

The problem with a cold war, however, is that the relief of an end to it is forever just beyond reach.

There is rarely, if ever, the sense of relief and/or rebuilding to be found that follows the end of conventional wars. The end can never be reached, because the war has never actually been declared and/or agreed upon. There is no official "line in the sand."

Since a cold war is practically a psychological war, all lines blur.

Black and white fades to grey and back again to white or black. No finish line can be drawn in the sand, because to do so would be to admit that there is an actual war. It seems that in the absence of a war, when a war should have been declared, a more martial nature fills the void it leaves. Governments become more conservative, and the populations allow it, if not welcome it -- because they live in fear and anger.

However, it seems that fear is not an emotion easily aroused in stagnant, comfortable America. Many of our generations can no longer remember full-scale world war, with casualties surpassing millions, having never experienced it.

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Stanford researcher Gerald Crabtree suggests that we become dumber when we are too comfortable, since we are no longer subjected to the same kinds of “evolutionary pressures” that our ancestors were subjected to. Crabtree believes human intelligence actually “peaked before our hunter-gatherer ancestors left Africa.”

If that is true, then perhaps we are no longer capable of functioning as one unit and rising from the proverbial ashes. In that same vein, maybe we are no longer bright enough to be independent of thought.

Do we now need to be led around by our government and our media? Do we need to be told how to think and feel, and when to think and feel it? Are we not, then, similar to the population of North Korea in that respect? Being led around like sheep by a more effective "shepherd" than the one in Pyongyang?