‘We have always had war and always will — it’s human nature,” is a misconception, usually voiced with conviction, that has led us to the brink of self-destruction.

It’s human nature to be curious, to receive information, to communicate, and to evolve: Today we are a collection of abused teenagers struggling to survive in a dysfunctional family.

The unimaginative assumption that war is inevitable allows us to only dream of peace, while we focus on overpowering our perceived enemies with brute force as usual.

Merciless corporations that control our media are skilled in using misinformation, talk-show propaganda, fatuous “entertainment,” and above all, sports to distract us from realizing that a few of us are ripping off most of us. Our gangs are leading us astray.

Fantasy offers from tricksters, who shamelessly flaunt their wealth, are replacing realistic hope for enriching our lives through education and travel, with appealing chances to become billionaires — like vying with each other for a winning lottery ticket — seducing us into playing their game, personally and collectively. Do the few celebrating winners consider the plight of the millions of losers?

With the glorification of war, and the worship of money made from the weapons industry, we have become our own worst enemy and a major threat to humankind. We are technologically advanced, and spiritually retarded.

The manufacturing of our military arsenal, capable of destroying life as we know it, is polluting our atmosphere, soil and waters, with lethal waste that, assisted by earthquakes and floods, is an omnipresent terrorist.

We the people of the world march on in the wrong direction. Technology shuns the partner needed to remind us that we are a developing species of unique and inescapably connected beings; a partner who is aware of our past and present, and illuminates our behavior, enabling us to choose our future empathically and wisely.

Through the ages, we have been trained to equate cruelty with power, to honor abusive masters and to chain ourselves to self-sacrificing oaths. We continue to value false images of “God and country” more than we value our children, and send them off to kill and to die. For what?

We have been trained to fear myriad man-made gods, and to be afraid of our own thoughts and feelings that might cause us to doubt our trainers. We are a teenage victim of misconceptions and tricks, and we are afraid to seek the truth.

In this fear-based, violent world, we attack and strike back, while we continue casting images of all-powerful father-figures off into the heavens and pray to be favored and “saved.”

We are afraid not to know the unknowable and are constantly looking for a spiritual leader to believe in, or we rebel against religious images, and discard the spirit with the image. We settle for governments swinging from “evil” to “less-evil.” We are whistling in the dark.

Do we have time to grow up? Who knows? Maybe our collective life will become so intolerable that enough of us will stop struggling to live on the same path and change course in desperation. It hurts to give up our pride and it’s scary to cry alone into the night for another chance, but I hope enough of us (a critical mass) will have the humility and the guts to do it.

We’re an abused kid from a tough neighborhood, and we deserve everything good. It’s time to look inside ourselves for the truth and outside ourselves for love. It’s time to move into reality where it’s human nature to live in mutual respect, freedom and peace.

Gretchen Nielsen is a published poet, reformed fortune-teller and a preacher without a church. Contact her at gretchenn@netzero.com