Why Is Chinese So Hard To Learn?

Chinese is notoriously hard to learn, and with good reason. It is the bane of many Asian students, who spend day and night studying it. Likewise, many westerners and foreigners alike struggle to comprehend the language, even after months and months of constant learning. But why is it so? Why is Chinese so hard to learn? In this article, we shall discuss the possible reasons behind this phenomenon. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: High Stroke Count Per Character

Source: https://www.thatsmags.com/china/post/13288/most-complicated-chinese-characters

One aspect of Chinese that drives many crazy is the number of strokes required to write a single character. Each Chinese character has an average of 12 strokes, making it more complicated than its English counterparts. because of the complicated nature of each character, many struggle to write its characters when first starting out. Furthermore, the Chinese language has 8105 unique characters! Compared to the English’s language mere 26 alphabets, Chinese is a monster. It is exactly because of this that learning new words in Chinese is difficult and require a higher form of memory. Not convinced? The above image contains one of the most complicated characters in the Chinese language. Try writing that.

#2: Words Can Have Vague And Numerous Meanings

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A single character in Chinese may have different meanings, many of which might be vague and hard to apply. Unlike that of English, many Chinese words do not have a direct meaning and may only be used in certain conditions. This makes it very difficult for a learner or beginner to differentiate when to use a word and when not to do so. Thus, phrasing and conjugating words become challenging and require much skill to accomplish. For example, the phrase “反弹” means rebound. Yes, you might think that rebound only probably refers to the rebound of a credit card or basketball. However, “反弹” also can mean backlash or repercussions! As can be seen, Chinese words often have abstract meanings that can be hard to grasp.

#3: Words That Sound The Same Can Have Different Meanings

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This adds to the confusion of the Chinese language. Different characters with different strokes can sound the same! Yes, you read it correctly, many characters sound the same. As such, many phrases may sound identical and may be difficult to differentiate. Again, this makes conversation very difficult to conduct, as a listener might have to infer the phrase’s meaning by considering and analysing the immediate context of the conversation and the relevant sentence structures in which it is used in. This intuition is not so easy to pick up and it may take years before it clicks in your mind.

Conclusion

In short, Chinese proves to be a infamously difficult language to learn, not just because of its complexity, but also because of its unintuitive nature and heavy emphasis on memory. Of course, learning Chinese is not 100% rocket science and can be achieved. It would just take more time and effort to master compared to other languages. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

Why I Love LEGO

I’m sure many of you have played with LEGO during your childhoods. Personally, I love to build and design with LEGOs, not only because of the endless possibilities that can come from building with LEGOs, but also because it brings up old memories. Now, we see the brand everywhere and it is present in almost every modern household. In fact, it has become an educational tool in many schools and is regarded as one of the most popular brands in the world. But why do you and I love LEGO so much? We’ll explore these reasons in this article. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

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#1: The Possibilities Are Endless

Source: https://nerdalertnews.net/lego-masterpieces-coming-to-denver-museum-of-nature-science/

There is no limit to what you can build with LEGO. The possibilities are endless. Different bricks and parts can be attached together to form different structures, models and figurines. It’s an empty canvas and you have the total freedom to build and design what you like. Love cars? You can build it with LEGO! Love dinosaurs? You can also design a unique one for yourself using LEGO! It’s up to you as to how you will make your ideas come true, as there is no set instruction for how you can utilise LEGO. This is exactly why it is used by architects, artists and even engineers to express and test their ideas.

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#2: Playing With LEGO Gives A Great Sense of Joy

Source: https://www.kiddiwinks.co.za/news/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/kidslego840.jpg

As mentioned before, there is no fixed instruction as to how you should use or play with LEGO. In fact, LEGO sets are sold in bags of parts with an instructional manual included. Contrary to other toys, LEGO models do not come pre-made and are required to be built by hand. I loved LEGO mostly because of this reason. I would remember being very excited as I went about, instructional manual in hand, building my LEGO models. As I neared completion of the model, I would feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, while at the same time full of anticipation. And when it was finally done, I felt like I had just finished the greatest artwork of the century. I have no idea how to express this feeling in words. You have to try it for yourself, then you’ll get what I am talking about.

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#3: It Tests Your Thinking Skills

Source: https://nypost.com/2017/09/13/why-kids-should-never-let-go-of-legos/

The infinite nature of LEGO promotes free thinking and creativity, especially in children. LEGO is not limited to mere model vehicles, trains, architecture or art. In fact, LEGO has become an integral part of robotics and programming! Some have also utilised LEGO for Physics experiments as well! As long as your child is able to imagine it, he/she can build it! This lays down the foundation for future career paths, such as that of engineering and entrepreneurship. Of course, not all is lost for us adults. Sometimes, as we become too accustomed to following returns as we go about our hectic lifestyles, we start to lose the ability to think for ourselves. LEGO forces us to think outside the box and explore how different parts can be interconnected to function as a whole.

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Conclusion

The word “play” constantly eludes us, especially when we grow older. We lose the curiosity to learn and innovate, and naturally we become machines, programmed to do mere tasks. LEGO helps to merge both play and thinking into one, thus promoting cognitive development and also improving your imaginative and creative-thinking capabilities. I hope that this post was helpful to you, and if it was, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading!

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Here’s How You Can Ace Your Exams

Many of us fear exams and the risk of going “blank”. With so much to do in school, how do we deal with and prepare for exams? Is there any secret to acing your exams? Well, there isn’t a fixed formula, but this article will provide some tips which you can use for your exam preparation. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Start Revision Early

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Time is of the essence and procrastination is not an option. Starting revision early is one of the best ways to do well for your exam. The reason for this is that your mind requires time to process the knowledge which it has absorbed. Furthermore, many exams such as that of Biology and Geography have enormous amounts of content, which are impossible to memorise in short periods of time. By spreading your revision time out over a longer period of time (I’m talking months), you will feel less stressed and have more time for other activities. This also gives more room for potential procrastination lapses and allows for more flexible planning. Take my advise and don’t cram. Cramming never works as your mind is not able to take large amounts of information in a single sitting. Information will just end up overwriting other information and you will not be able to remember anything. In fact, the forgetting curve, founded by Hermann Ebbinghaus, estimates that 70% of learned information is forgotten the next day. You might be able to remember everything the day before the exam, but you won’t be able to recall anything the next day.

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#2: Don’t Memorise Blindly

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Of course, memory is important. However, memorising blindly can do more harm to your test scores than good. It’s like having the material to build a house, but not having the blueprints to do so. Likewise, before memorising any content, do ensure that you have a clear understanding of the concepts behind it. For example, you could first read your textbook one or two times and check if you are able to understand its concepts. In the event that you do not understand any part of the textbook or material, do seek help from your teacher or instructor as soon as possible. Only after you are able to understand the concepts should you start memorising the content. This helps to facilitate better memory and recall. As Warren Buffet once said, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Memory and understanding go hand in hand. You cannot memorise without understanding what you are memorising

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#3: Use Flashcards

Source: https://www.chegg.com/play/life-hacks/productivity/flashcards-yay-nay/

Flashcards are a great tool for assessing how much you know and how much you don’t know. This helps you to identify your weaknesses and work on them. Using this strategy increases your efficiency manifold, as you spend less time working on what you already know and have memorised, and spend more time on what you don’t know and have forgotten. This is the exact reason why highlighting your notes and rereading your textbook is useless. This method, which uses passive recall, does none of the things flashcards can do. The danger of merely rereading your textbook lies in the illusion of understanding, where you might end up confusing fluency of the text with understanding. You simply have no idea of what you know and don’t know. Flashcards, on the other hand, use the concept of active recall, which prepares your mind for potential question-and-answer scenarios and strengthens retrieval pathways.

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Conclusion

This post is a short one, but I hope that the tips were of help to your exam preparation. The key to acing your exams is not intelligence, but rather your study strategy. To learn is not enough. We need to learn how to learn.

If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more articles!

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The Importance Of Silence

Noise is everywhere. Noise doesn’t just refer to its physical form, but it also refers to its non-physical form, which can be our anxiety, worries, burdens and other negative thoughts. We are pummelled by both physical and non-physical noise as we go about our daily lives. We have decreasingly less time to think for ourselves, to ponder and to reflect. We become too attached to the world and the mind fog that accompanies it. We notice less of the little things of life and become mindless machines. This is why silence is important. Shutting out distractions, taking a break and reflecting are just some of the things you can do to introduce some healthy silence into your life. You might be surprised, but many supposedly beneficial things in the world, such as friendship and money, can take away our capacity for happiness and drain our energy away. In this article, we shall discuss why silence matters in our lives and some ways we can harness its power. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: Silence Promotes Concentration

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Silence allows us to give our full attention to a certain task, event or objective. Our brains are not designed to multi-task and we become easily distracted by background noise or certain types of music. Have you ever found yourself unable to focus on a single matter at hand and switching between tasks? A good way to improve your concentration would be to shut out all possible sources of distraction, such as your mobile devices and computer. For those of you who have read my previous articles, you might have read that listening to music can help to increase concentration. Some of you might say, “Hey, that’s contradictory! You just said silence improves focus!” The truth is both are able to improve concentration. However, be careful to music which are not distracting in nature. For example, listening to classical music can help to reduce stress and relieve anxiety. More details can be found at https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/15/heres-why-you-should-listen-to-classical-music/. These two methods, help to remove mental noise – distracting thoughts which seek to pull our attention away.

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#2: Silence Allows You To See the Bigger Picture

Photo by Lex Photography on Pexels.com

In the 21st century, we find ourselves moving from one event to another in rapid succession. We become so entrenched in the world’s events and our daily lives that we virtually have no time to step back and reflect. Reflection is a powerful tool in our path towards success and life in general. Every time you get a period of silence, do take the opportunity to think about what you have done for the day. Are you moving towards your goal? What could you do to be more productive? What were the setbacks I faced today? What can I do more for my loved ones? This thinking process helps us to plan forward and improve ourselves daily. This is how you and I can obtain success, step by step, only if we are ready to learn and reflect on what we can do better each day.

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#3: Silence Promotes Relaxation And A Healthy Mind

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Initially, some of us might find silence to be especially grating. This is indeed because we are so used to feeding our minds with countless distractions and overloading it with information. Consequently, we find ourselves craving for them and become unable to focus for long periods of time. Many of us suffer from short attention spans, as many of us have the bad habit of scrolling through social media and task switching. Silence gives our brain a chance to detox and get a hard restart. In fact, silence has been shown to promote neurogenesis, the production of neurones and improve sleep quality. For those of you who have trouble sleeping, you could try to meditate and take deep breaths at the same time. This should help you to feel calmer and better able to sleep.

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Conclusion

Sometimes, all of us need a break from the outside world. Silence is something that almost always eludes us. We must learn to understand its power and how we can utilise it. I hope that this article was a refreshing one and managed to convince you of the power of silence. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe newsletter if you haven’t done so.

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Mathematics Is More Important Than You Think

Most of us have ended up hating Mathematics in high school. It’s probably because Trigonometry and Calculus got on our nerves, or because some equations were just plain annoying. In the end, we might have told ourselves that Mathematics is nothing more than a torture device. But what if I told you that Mathematics has a greater purpose? In this article, we shall discuss the importance of Mathematics and why it is of paramount importance to the world. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter (enter your email in the newsletter registration section of my homepage). Without further ado, let’s begin the discussion.

#1: Mathematics Is The Foundation Of The Sciences

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There is a reason as to why you learn Mathematics before you learn Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Mathematics serves as the foundation for the sciences and helps to build up basic problem thinking skills, before you start tackling harder problems. For example, without a good understanding of ratio, you would not be able to understand the basic workings of stoichiometry in Chemistry. Furthermore, without the ability to solve equations and understand graphs, you would not be able to apply Newton’s Laws of Motion and the principles of kinematics.

#2: Mathematics Helps Us To Better Understand The World

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The universe is ours to explore, but without the right tools, it is simply impossible. Mathematics helps to make sense of the world around and create new inventions. As mentioned earlier, it is the backbone of Engineering, Physics, Biology, Astronomy and many other sciences. With an understanding of Mathematics, we will be able to build complex machinery, spacecraft and satellites which will help us to explore the universe. Even the computer you are using right now is a creation of Mathematics. Let us take Isaac Newton for an example. To express his discoveries, he had to make use of equations and even invent a whole new branch of Mathematics, Calculus. Mathematics is the common language for all people on Earth, thereby uniting the human race in the common effort for further discoveries and the exploration of our universe.

Conclusion

So this wraps up my 4th article for the week. I decided to touch on the topic of Mathematics in this article, as I frequently notice that many of my friends dislike Mathematics for its complexity and tediousness. Mathematics, of course, can be complex and tedious at times. However, it has so many uses and its benefits for the human race are simply astronomical. I hope that this article, albeit quite short, convinces you of the importance and usefulness of Mathematics, and I hope that this will spur you to enjoy it. If you did enjoy this article, do consider giving it a like. Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next article!

Here’s Why You Should Listen To Classical Music

So, many of you might have noticed that is the 3rd post for this week. You might ask, “What? I thought you said that you would be only blogging once every two weeks or sometimes maybe once a week?” (check out my blogging plans for 2021 at https://bestofwrite.com/2020/12/28/my-blogging-plan-for-2021/) Well, I figured that since I have some free time, why not blog? After all, it’s my passion!


Right, so let’s focus on the subject matter at hand. For this post, let us discuss the reasons as to why you should try listening to classical music. For instance, classical music has been shown to stimulate the mind and improve sleep quality. I personally listen to classical and orchestral music whenever I read or complete a task. You might say, “Hey! Classical music is boring and old! How could I possibly enjoy it?” While it is true that classical music might be considered old, they are gems of the past and are worth listening to. This article will show you why. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter. (Do fill in your email in the newsletter registration section of the website) Without further ado, let’s begin.

#1: It Improves Sleep

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Studies have shown that listening to classical music helps to improve sleep. It helps to relax the mind and remove anxiety, thereby making sleeping easier. Research has shown that listening to classical music reduces nervous system activity, decreases anxiety and blood pressure. It helps to distract you from your thoughts and relaxes your muscles, getting you in the mood to sleep. This effect is corroborated and confirmed by the fact that children of all ages, including infants and school-going children, sleep better after listening to relaxing, classical music. Below is a list containing some of the best pieces of relaxing classical music to help you sleep.

  • Claire de Lune by Claude Debussy
  • Spiegel im Spiegel by Arvo Pärt
  • Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Satie
  • Nocturne No.2, Op.9 by Chopin
  • Moonlight Sonata, 1st movement by Beethoven

#2: It Improves Memory

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As mentioned above, the relaxing effect of classical music not only helps to improve sleep, but also improves memory. Have you ever wondered why it is so difficult to memorise or learn something when you feel stressed? You’re not alone. Anxiety makes memory formation and retrieval more difficult, and stress has been shown to be one of the prominent causes of neurone death. Yes, you saw it correctly. Stress has been shown to kill brain cells and reduce their ability to function properly. On the other hand, listening to classical music has been shown to enhance memory retrieval and helps to trigger and strengthen neural pathways, thereby strengthening synapses between the respective neurones.

“Neurones that fire together, wire together.”

Donald Hebb

#3: They Are Precious Relics Of History

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There is a reason to why classical music was able to stand the test of time. Some of the greatest classics still continue to be played and enjoyed by many. The classical period has produced some of the most legendary pieces of all time, which never fail to captivate audiences and listeners of every age. In fact, many of these pieces are used as background music in movies and musicians of all kinds are required to study them, with good reason.

Conclusion

Classical music still plays an important role in the evolution of culture and heritage. For many, it has become an integral part of their lives, something they can’t live without. For musicians, the classical period is an essential part of musical history that has helped to shape our overall understanding of music and its associated cultures. This is exactly why classical music is something you and I should listen to. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe my newsletter if you haven’t done so. Stay tuned for my next articles!

Never Give Up Easily

All of us have been, from time to time, tempted to throw in the towel. At times, your mind tells you that your persistence and efforts are futile. However, it is exactly because of this that many men fail in their pursuit of success. In this article, we shall discuss why you should never give up easily and how you can reach success, day by day. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s begin.

The Key to Success

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The key to success is unyielding persistence. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Likewise, success doesn’t just come overnight. Instead, it is the product of years, or even decades of hard work. We can see this even in nature. Planets take years to form, while our brain requires time to consolidate short term memory into long term memory. The moral of the story is this: Nothing comes immediately, and certainly not success!

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

With that in mind, let us understand that we must approach success one step at a time, day by day. This leads to my next point, and that is consistency. In our pursuit of success, we might not be able to see results immediately and this can be quite frustrating for many. Patience, consistency and delayed gratification are, in fact, very closely linked and they are the keys to success. Consider someone who is trying to develop the habit of reading. After 30 days of daily reading, he/she might complain that he/she finds the habit hard to maintain and might struggle to stay motivated. However, perhaps after a year, he/she, after consistent daily reading, would have gotten used to the habit of reading and would find it effortless.

Source: https://www.studypug.com/algebra-help/find-an-exponential-function-given-its-graph

Let us consider an exponential function as an analogy. The image above shows an example of such. Take a look at the graph at its beginning. Initially, the graph has a very low gradient and it doesn’t look like it’s going to increase much. However, as the x-values increase, the graph gradually becomes steeper and its gradient gradually becomes higher. This applies to life as well. Initially, we might feel like nothing is gained and that we’re not moving in any direction. However, with time, success becomes nearer and more attainable.

Consistency

Of course, to move towards success, we have to consistently move towards it each day. Conducting a habit of reading or writing everyday, for example, ensures that your writing skills are improving every single day, albeit slowly at first. This might sound daunting, but this is what delayed gratification is all about – trusting the process. Worry about success later, just do what you can do everyday, consistently. Whenever you feel like giving up, remember that failure and struggles are part and parcel of the journey to success. Strive for excellence and be consistent, and success will follow.

“Pursue excellence, and success will follow, pants down.”

Rancho in 3 Idiots

Conclusion

So this wraps up my short post for today. I got inspired by the hit Bollywood movie 3 Idiots and decided to discuss the importance of persistence. As long as you love what you do, never give up on it. Too many people give up too fast and wash all their effort down the drain. Never allow yourself to falter easily and forge forwards. The hardest roads in life often lead to the most beautiful destinations. If you did enjoy this post, do consider giving it a like! Follow me and subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t done so! Stay tuned for more!

Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Gamble

Some of us might end up gambling from time to time. We are enticed by the opportunity to earn some cold, hard cash. But is it worth your time and your money? Gambling has been shown to be a harmful and destructive habit which destroys relationships and induces poverty. In this article, we shall discuss this topic in further detail. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

#1: You Will End Up Losing Money

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Many become excited by the prospect by earning large amounts of money in the casino or even illegal gambling dens. However, overall, you will only end up losing your hard-earned money. Let’s take a look at an example. About 85% of adults in the U.S. have gambled at least once in their life and the gambling industry takes in about $500 billion a year. Yes, that’s a lot of money. In fact, statistics have shown that over 95% of gamblers end up losing money overall. But how? This is because the games in casinos are handled in such a way that the casinos, otherwise known as the “house”, will almost always have the advantage. Furthermore, casinos leverage on the compulsion of gamblers to keep them coming back.

#2: Relationships Are Destroyed

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People who suffer from gambling addiction may find themselves siphoning large amounts of money from their precious savings and those of their loved ones, just to sustain their habits. Some might even engage in illegal activities so as to repay the debts caused by gambling. Furthermore, these addicts almost always spend large amounts of time gambling and report difficulty in quitting. Consequently, the time these people spend with their loved ones and family decreases, and naturally relationships are broken. A child might be ashamed of his father’s compulsive gambling behaviour, while a spouse might become increasingly suspicious and untrusting towards his/her partner. This is often worsened by financial difficulties caused by the aforementioned addiction.

#3: Mental Health

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By itself, gambling can be a highly stressful activity, with numerous highs and lows. As a gambler becomes increasingly consumed in the activity, he/she might experience mood swings, anxiety and decreased self control. He/she might find himself/herself worrying constantly about whether he/she will gain or lose money in the next run. Losing money can be extremely uncomfortable and demoralising for such individuals, thereby triggering explosive outbursts of anger. This is just the tip of the iceberg. After a long period of time and without changes to such behaviour, the individual might find himself/herself in financial difficulties. This is worsened by the broken relationships caused by gambling. As such, the individual’s stress might culminate to a point where he/she thinks of suicide. To add credibility to this point, research commissioned by a leading UK gambling charity, GambleAware, found that gamblers were six times more likely to have thoughts of suicide or attempt suicide.

Conclusion

Gambling is not a reliable way to earn money and most of you who have done so before might find yourselves losing large amounts of money. I hope that this article was helpful to you, and if it was, do give it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next article.

The Horrible Consequences of War

Nations are brought to war by their leaders for numerous reasons. These include social and economic inequalities, politics or just sheer greed. But is it all worth it? As humans on this Earth, we have seen our fair share of tragedies and disasters, but nothing compares to the tragedy of war. The sad reality is that wars are constantly fought. After every war, many nations only seek to prepare for the next. Peace is just reduced to the mere interlude between one war and the next. You would think that, being the most intelligent animal species on Earth, human beings would be able to cooperate in peace, but that is almost never the case. This article will show you exactly why wars should never be fought and why peace is so important. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter! Without further ado, let’s hop right in!

#1: Innocent People Are Made to Suffer

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

Many men and women, many of which unwilling participants, risk and lose their lives on the battlefield. On the other hand, many civilians are sent to concentration camps to be brutally tortured and executed, sometimes just for the fun of it. In fact, war crimes come naturally with any war, as parties on both sides hate each other. The image above shows the infamous Auschwitz death camp which was a place of suffering for many captured Jews during World War 2. On last estimate, more than 1.1 million people were killed there.

#2: Property is Destroyed

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In the process of any war, property is destroyed. Towns and houses are obliterated by artillery fire, and in more ancient times, the projectiles fired by trebuchets. Civilians may lose many if not all of their possessions during a war and are forced to evict their former hometowns. Livelihoods are destroyed and many lose their wealth, as many civilians search frantically for a new dwelling place, sometimes to no avail.

#3: Public Panic and Fear

Source: https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-in-canada

Death comes with any war. And with death, comes public fear and panic. During a war, civilians may lose their possessions and loved ones. Furthermore, they live in fear that they might be attacked anytime at an unknown time and location. As a result, many people develop eating and stress disorders, as they struggle with trauma. In fact, many World War 2 survivors still carry them to this day.

Conclusion

Human lives are too precious to be lost to petty feuds and arguments. If only nations will learn to bury the hatchet and work together, the world would be a much better place. Let us remember that wars harm the parties on both sides and that innocent people are the ones who bear the brunt of the war. If you this article was helpful to you in any way, do consider giving it a like! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my next post!