How far will you go for love? How far will you go for success? In TV and in movies, we always hear the romantic or motivational words of: “I will go to the ends of the world for you.” However such words are only romantic and motivational on screen, and totally another concept in reality. I have written numerous articles on how the West, more specifically the Americans and the Europeans, had fleeced and plundered the world. But today let us look at things from another perspective – why they deserved such a success and why they earned themselves the right to do so.
The short answer to the above is simply: Because they were willing to go to the ends of the world (Earth).
Let us look at the history of the West’s path to world domination. In the late 1400s, Christopher Columbus had his first voyage and found the New World. The Americas were subsequently colonised and the inhabitants mercilessly killed. In the 1700s the industrial revolution took place. Colonisation sped up and before long, half the world was under their control.
As usual I suspect this article will be highly offensive and I may lose even more followers.
Today’s article is not written well in terms of flair. I was too absorbed studying the past few days and had little time for other things. The content is there, but the way it is written may not be as smooth as the other articles.
Evil indeed they were, but success is success. And if a person, or a tribe, or a country is successful, they must have something nobody else have. Something, or a combination of a few things that made them stand out above the rest. As mentioned earlier, a rich student may have the luxury of a tuition teacher and free time to study, and the poor student may have to work during his free hours to survive. But it is also a fact that the rich student put in more effort in his studies, and solely in this aspect alone, he deserves a better grade than the poor student. Similarly, putting aside whether the West is morally right, let us take a hard look at how they achieved their successes.
There are smart people everywhere. The Babylonian empire was known for its advancement in science. The Chinese had their 4 great inventions (compass, gunpowder, paper making and printing). In fact the gunpowder was invented in 9th century AD, a full 300 to 400 years before the Europeans got hold of that technology. Unfortunately, despite having made bombs and simple firearms, till the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912 the Chinese were still using bows and arrows. There is another whole set of political explanation for this but I will leave it here first. Some said every invention mankind ever had had been used in war, and nobody can dispute the case for gunpowder. The Europeans saw its use and developed it.
The industrial revolution, another testament to their intelligence which gave birth to the railroad among many things. The telegraph in the 1800s, the first military submarine in 1776, the calculator by Pascal in 1645 and the list went on about how they never stopped scaling up the technology tree and actually putting the inventions to use. The West built on each other’s intelligence and inventions and kept on improving, resulting in a mad climb up the technology tree while the rest sank back either in religion or closed up their society. Of course, the West had their fair issues with religion as well. I should probably write one piece about the witch hunt one day, which is about anything but witches.
All countries had smart people, but only the West constantly improved on their technology and of course, deployed it for exploration and war.
Christopher Columbus was immortalised in the history books because he found the New World. We feel nothing when we read the history books, but if one properly thinks about it, one will understand why it is such an achievement. He did what others did not dare to, and what others could not.
Life at sea is rough even by modern day standards, and we have seen numerous videos depicting the violence of the sea. Christopher Columbus set off his first voyage with 1 carrack and 2 caravels in 1492. The carrack was a large ship mainly used to store cargo but also built to withstand the rough oceans. The caravel was more agile and built for exploration and war. While modern day ships are made of steel, aluminum, fire-reinforced plastic and polyethylene, ships back then were made of wood. Of course they processed the wood and made it fit for ocean exploration, but it is still a far cry from today’s standards.
There was no GPS nor mobile technology at that time, no way for a helicopter rescue should things went wrong. Explorers were on their own and each person on the ship better be skilled. The captain better know what he was doing, the people who handled the sails better have the skills etc. One can easily imagine how rough and uncertain life at sea was. It was one thing to navigate known routes, but totally another to cross the ocean with the technology at that time. It was a gamble against death.
Even today, we see these traits manifesting in their descendants. The Westerners are known to be more YOLO (you-only-live-once), took part in more risky adventures which the Asians are generally more skeptical of. Of course, Christopher Columbus was not so stupid to risk his life over a few likes on Youtube (fame), but which he eventually got. His motivation was solely money – he sought a western sea passage to the East Indies, hoping to profit from the lucrative spice trade. He was willing to stake his reputation and life for it, to do what others could not and dared not.
The merciless behaviour of theirs has seen much cruelty such as the slave trade, genocides, wars and world events too many to count. When one cast away all morals and compassion, one also cast away any restrictions imposed upon himself. The willingness to murder for money, to shed blood for territory, to sacrifice others for own benefit is immoral and merciless, but undeniably a very good way to increase one’s own resources. That is why in every society there are laws to protect against blackmail, robbery, murder etc. But if one tribe overpowered the other, then there is no one else to exercise judgement on the wrongdoings of the one committing the atrocities. They have won and therefore they are justice. Such ruthlessness also strikes fear into their enemies, such as the Mongol Empire, where the Mongolians committed mass murder, burnt farmlands, catapulting diseased corpses over city walls to infect the population etc. Their acts of terror saw an estimate of 11% of the world’s population (37.5 – 60 million people) killed. The name of the Mongolian army alone was enough to strike fear into the enemies.
If violence is not solving your problems, you are not using it enough.
The Combination Of All 3 Traits
Intelligence, courage and ruthlessness – that is what the West possessed.
The world has no lack of smart people. The Arabs, the Chinese, Russians, Europeans, all had their peak in science. All had wonderful contributions to science and mathematics. However, just the brains alone is not enough for great success. The world also has no lack of courageous and ruthless people – history has given us many examples which I will not repeat here. Having 1 of the 3 traits will only give you very limited success, having 2 of the 3 may give you great success for a short period of time, but having all 3 will give a success so big no others can duplicate.
The Mongols were courageous and ruthless, hence they were able to expand their empire to the number 2 in the history of mankind, behind just that of the British Empire which came about 600 years later with all the advanced technology. Without modern technology, the Mongols would probably be the number 1 of all time. Yet they had no brains and was unable to rule well, and quickly saw the collapse of their empire in just 162 years.
First one must be courageous, to step out into the unknown and die trying if you have to. The next trait one should have is intelligence to survive and thrive in the unknown. Grit of course, is a factor which I did not discuss today for the obvious fact that everyone knows it is a must-have. I do not like the last trait of ruthlessness, neither do I encourage it. Yet this last trait has been proven time and again to speed up the rate of success few others could achieve without. Many of those at the top are not saints. Yet they have achieved it, and in a twisted way, they actually deserve their success.
How far will you go for your own success? Do you have the motivation and the capabilities to go to the ends of the world? And if you plan on telling your loved ones that you will go to the ends of the world for them, know that the very weight of that statement makes it anything but romantic.