Every Saturday morning when we walk to our tiny village market, I like to walk past the 15C castle and through the crumbling stone arch which heralds the ancient walled cite within. Either side of the arch are stone ledges at sitting level, their surfaces worn away by weary people taking a breather. Just above the right-hand ledge, looking out over the river valley in the distance, is a man-made vertical slit in the stone where, many centuries ago, brave men poked their bows and arrows in the war of the French v the Cathars. One of the original Cathar parfait vows was to live 'in community'. It was one of the great strengths of this region back in the 13C that the Cathar church functioned so smoothly in the heart of the Aveyron and Languedoc regions - until, that is, they encountered the inevitable 'tribal warfare' from elsewhere.
Today, as we enter the narrow cobbled street, each side is still framed by crazy, leaning houses that used to house the blacksmith and horse farrier. The windows either side of the street are so close, the occupants wouldn't have to lean out far to shake hands with one another. But shake hands with each other they do. Although yesteryear's wars were hard-fought and bloody, the eventual peace in this region benefited everyone.
I, myself, being a lateral-thinker, look forward to the day when we are all members of Earth, have an Earth flag, an Earth language and Earth currency. Only then can the world live in peace together. That is, until Earth has to fight alien invaders from another planet. That's me - ever the worrier!