It takes generations for a family to gain wealth. When people learn something of value that knowledge helps their children and their children’s children each do better. Over many generations of careful learning and teaching, knowledge allows amazing things to happen. People whose parents are educated have a much easier time than those whose parents are not educated.
If your grandparents went to university, it’s very likely your parents would also have gone to university and hence it’s more likely that you would have gone to university. It seems obvious that some of the reason for this may be genetic, but probably, of even more importance is the environment that educated families create for their children, with all the skills to empower their children to learn and think.
This is not to say that people who come from families who do not create a scholarly environment cannot succeed, just that it’s much harder for them.
Some cultures seem to dissuade free thinking, treating (for example) women as lesser people, and actively stopping all forms of thought and action that is different from the thoughts they were taught to have. There are large religious groups who punish non-conformance with their personal religious ideas.
Often these religious ideas teach that anyone unlike them is inferior.
And these same religious groups teach that following their specific ideas will lead to a place after-life where things are perfect. And many of these religious groups encourage horrible things to be done in this life as a way of achieving this perfect place in the next life. Of course they offer no proof of this after-life, just punishment for questioning the idea. These concepts are not limited to any one religion but pretty much span every form of religion.
They all forget the simple logic though, that for them to be right, everyone else much be absolutely wrong. And the only proof they have that their specific version of this magic story is true is their absolute personal faith in their version of the magic story. And the only way to show that they are right is to show that their blind adherence to their specific story is blinder, and more absolute than the next religions’.
When you add together ignorance-enhanced-poverty with blind adherence to an unprovable-belief-system that’s only value comes from not-believing anyone else’s unprovable-belief system you have a simple recipe for disaster. You have people who do not value life, either their own or anyone elses.
At a very basic subconscious level, even the most fervent followers of the most irrational religious ideas must know that they are wasting their lives. And this deeply subconscious UN-voiced knowledge must make them really, really frustrated or angry.
When you then hurt or kill one of the relatives or acquaintances of these religious zealots, you give meaning to their meaningless existence. All of a sudden they have an outlet for the unvoiced illogical emptiness that they are part of. They now can get angry and kill everyone else.
When a catholic killed a Protestant (or vice verse) in Ireland it encouraged a hundred Protestants (or Catholics) to go and kill Catholics (or Protestants). It took an amazing effort of will for the fighting to stop. The people who worked for decades to stop the killing were castigated from all sides, but they eventually found a path to peace. Even in Ireland the pain, hurt and anger are still in many people, but they have found a way to keep themselves from blowing each other up (at least very often) for quite some time now.
Now look at the fighting in the Middle East, where a huge number of different groups all practicing subtly different versions of the same religion are on a daily basis blowing up, shooting, chopping off bits ,bombing and killing each other. Each one that dies create hundreds more angry crazies. While they have immense wealth in terms of natural resources, a huge amount of time and effort is spent on stopping any learning and killing everything that moves, rather than making existence better for all.
If doesn’t matter how good or bad your argument is, the moment you lob a bomb at someone’s child, parent, sister, brother or friend, the opportunity to solve any problem dies.
Saying that you want to kill everyone is never a great way to start a discussion either. And acting upon it makes the discussion even harder.
I’ve had the chance to visit many places in the Middle East over the years. Israel is an amazing place with incredible universities and a wonderful open culture. I believe that given the chance the well-educated people of Israel would be able to look beyond the pain and the fighting of the past and truly embrace peace (obviously this is only possible when the fighting is in the past). But there is absolutely no way to embrace peace while bombs are falling and tunnels are being built with the purpose of waging war, and religious zealots believe that they will be rewarded in heaven for blowing themselves and other up.
Most people are not religious loons, but as soon as you blow up anyones relatives all good sense leaves and all you have is anger and hate.
Educated people can stop, breath and calm down, it takes some time and a huge effort, but logic can beat pure animal-istic hate.
And the time to start to stop is now.