"The first man, who, after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say, "This is mine," and found people simple enough to believe him, was the true founder of civil society”
~Rousseau; Discourse on Inequity, Part II
Ultimately, many of mankind’s problems are created by themselves. As a species, we justify our actions to make ourselves feel better; this is a tenant of cognitive dissonance theory. Colonial era slavers decreed that their subjects were less than human to justify extortion, soldiers routinely dehumanize their enemies to lessen the impact of killing, all while placebos are used to treat actual physical ailments. The human mind is a complex creation, and by and large what any one person believes shapes their reality. As Rousseau questions, how many millions of lives would have been spared if the founder of civil society had never decided on the concept of ownership? The justice system is rife with cases deciding the actual ownership of one item or another, while most of the world’s population works in order to own one thing or another. Conflicts, from ancient to modern, primarily stem from the idea that one party wants to possess something owned by another, and their justifications for that idea.