Friday, November 22, 2013
There is a very popular conception that peace means non-violence. Johan Galtung has coined that perception as negative peace. To be fully understanding of peace is to know that violence is part of life. If you disagree, I suggest you go ask any women that has given birth about that process. Then try to understand a world without that form of violence. Being at peace is very much a mental state of understanding and being. Peace is about finding the proper methods of releasing emotions in a manner that promotes a healthy, secure and balanced environment. A peaceful state of mind puts a person in the position to understand, we did not create violence nor did we create emotions. These are realities of which we do have control in an inner personal ground but no further. Peace is very much about personal control, knowing when to allow insanity to reign and when to be violent and always to love. To put this into a framework, think about sports, hockey and football (soccer). The competition is to beat the other team. The fans get excited and are often mentioned as going insane. During these time there are emotions of hatred, love, exuberance along with the glory of victory and the agony of defeat. There was also the 1969 Football war between Honduras and El Salvador. There was more to it than just a sporting match yet that match ignited a political war. Then there is the global impact of the 1972 hockey Summit Series between Canada and the USSR. That story of peace has rarely been researched deep enough to give it credit. Politics is a community parallel to the individual emotional turmoil that takes place everyday. Knowing how to ensure a peaceful balance is the goal of being peaceful. It is a chess match within your own mind. There are moments of frustration and both the individual and the community need to have outlets for that frustration. If there are no peaceful avenues for such outlets, unwanted/unneeded harm will be caused.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
As we move through life there are many times when we just wish that we could be swept up and taken to a place of our dreams. No more so is that a desire than when we are faced with very painful and unwanted times in our lives. In such times, on both a large scale and individual scale we have a very high chance to experience violence and wars. How do we find peace when in such situations? In the study of peace and conflict there are many methods of control that are presented on a theoretical basis. In the larger realm of society all of the theories can be summed up as a peaceful state of being. What does this mean? Being at peace with the world is a popular phrase. Actually being at peace takes a great deal of energy and practice. However there are simple methods to help obtain some semblance of order during chaos. One such method is to name the situation you are experiencing and ask why you are in that state. Of course this is not useful when an outside force is the cause of unrest such as war, sickness or any other sort of disaster. Yet in such situations the inner peace method of asking yourself how you are feeling does bring a calmness of mind when panic sets in. The other part of being at peace is to know what you can and cannot control. For many there is a strong desire to say that we must stop such events as war. In reality war and violence will never end. We did not invent war, violence or pain. Such realities exist without us even being alive. What we need is to be aware and be in control of how we understand and act during such events that bring us to extremes of existence. During such times you may not be able to control the causes and impacts of events but you can control your own self. Ultimately that is all you have to be in control of. Being in control of yourself allows you to see clear and understand as many options as possible. One method that helps with this is called Reflective Practice. Simply what this entails is for you to ask yourself how you are feeling and what changes you want to make. Then you make the changes and the process begins as you gauge the progress towards a peaceful solution. The inner part takes a great deal of effort and mental capacity. This effort is not helped when the belief sets in that everyone is against you. Changing that perception is a must for a peaceful world to be a reality. Often the statement of “Why does everything have to be so difficult?” is used in times of stress. Such times have been classified by Joseph Heller’s Catch 22 or dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t situation. During such moments a reflective process will ask that you set out a plan and then do that plan. There is also a point of relief that somewhere there is someone that is willing and able to help. There always is support and during times of panic or stress you are not clear of mind to see or understand that support. As you move through these times you will become aware that the vision of what you once thought was the solution may have changed. These are the self teaching moments which are so important. When we understand that outcomes and solutions are future based, we can change it. We are able to correctly guess how events will play out based upon prior experience. Yet, having this knowledge allows us to change things and have different outcomes. This is the reflective practice. Otherwise we exist in ruts and apathy will consume us. Part of the inner peace ideology is that we are creative and we have control over many things. We control how we act and respond to others. Mastering those two parts of yourself is a very large step towards inner peace.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Sustainable peace is best secured when the average person is involved in the process. That sentiment is the root ideology of democracy. However we have been witness to certain democratic countries acting with complete disregard of how their action lead to violent chaos. Such moments have been framed in moralistic terms as freedom fighters, securing weapons of mass destruction and ending brutal regimes. When the choice is made to act violently, the justification often is that the ends justify the means. In such reasoning the calculation of future retaliation is rarely factored in. What takes place is the blissful rhetoric of democracy. Violent wars have long term impacts that must be made aware of. The physical damage is easily repaired, such as buildings, roads and infrastructure. The wounded soldiers are rarely thought of and if they are it is an afterthought. The pain felt by those who lost will last for generations. Then there are the weapons that stay behind - unexploded bombs, mines and bullets. Rarely are the external costs of war factored into the budget of how much war costs. Far beyond the monetary expenses we neglect the spiritual, mental and generational costs. Such wounds are still be healed from wars that have been waged thousands of years ago. Religious wars are an example of such realities. More recently we have wars such as are taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, India, Columbia and elsewhere. Each place has been engaged in war and retaliation even in the face of knowing that killing will only prolong the fight. At some point there has to be the resolve to know that enough destruction has taken place and peace will only happen when the violence ends. This is a choice that needs to be made and it is a very difficult choice. Such a choice is rooted in the understanding that your children deserve to play in safety, peace, love and understanding. Places such as Syria have let go of that reality. Now the people must live with the scars of war for eternity. There will always be the memory of war and there will always be a loser and a winner in some minds. For those who know the complete impact of war understand there is no winner, just a pile of misery, loss and destruction. Peace is the most difficult path to take and yet it is all too often branded as the weakest path. The mentality of peace being the weakest path is one that needs to stop. It will only stop when the individual begins to see the benefits of peace rather than the rhetoric of war glory. Each of us has a responsibility to be peaceful. When each of us works to be peaceful then we will all understand the glory of peace instead of war. Peace is a choice and each of us has their part to make peace sustainable.
Monday, November 11, 2013
Every year at this time there are ceremonies which focus our attention on the lives lost during war. Each year we have more names to add and more wars to mark. Even though the list of names grows we (United Nations members) are improving at the containment of violence. At times it does not seem so but that has more to do with the spread of information than actual violence. Every year we talk about the insanity of war, the chaos of battle and the hellish misery of destruction we wage against each other. Each side fights for the same reason which is rooted in ideology. That ideology is to live as we want to live. Every so often we have places like Syria come to a boiling point. Such anarchy could have been stopped if we had the courage to stop it. However we failed. We now have thousands of more names to list in memory of why war is an all cost effort. We ask why efforts for peace were so difficult that we must kill each other? The only answer is witnessed in the heart of darkness, we fail at peace because of insanity. For those that seek peaceful methods of resolve, they are faced with ridicule from those who call themselves realists. Well the reality is that every war will end with a discussion. We have the failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Israel, Palestine and Democratic Republic of Congo to see how killing each other has solved our problems. All too often people state that the WWII as an example of violence working. If that were true then why has Israel and Palestine continued fighting. The only thing the ended with WWII is the scale of violence, not the ideology which started it or the act of war. We can choose peace but first we must understand how to control the insanity which allows war to happen. Violence and hatred are part of us we just have to be smart and wise enough to control how we use such emotions.