Give Peace a Chance
Wouldn't it be great if the world was at peace?
With so much war, pain and suffering in the world it is hard to know when, if ever, we have actually had a state of peace and therefore what would it take for there to be one?
But what exactly is peace?
The absence of things like cruelty, torture, war, violence, conflict, hatred, prejudice, discrimination, murder, exploitation, pollution, stress, anxiety, alienation, poverty and so much more would clearly make the world a much better place than probably any of us have ever experienced.
Just the absence or war alone would be amazing if for example all the economic and military warlords (it is interesting that we don't in fact have a term warlady and there has to be a significant reason for this) stopped their violence and maybe took up gardening instead!
These negative states of existence are so bad and so all pervading of our 21st century experience that we have come to think that them ending, or even perhaps just a lessening of them, might create a state of peace. And whilst their absence would probably create a world better than any of us has ever witnessed, their absence doesn't automatically mean the presence of peace. Perhaps Peace is something higher still, a state of higher consciousness or being?
Gandhi struggled with this when he was trying to think of a way of protesting against British rule in India. He insisted that the protest be non-violent and that if attacked the people were not to fight back. But non-violence is stating what someone won't do but it doesn't express the positive state of what something is that prevents them being violent in the first place.
Gandhi tried to come up with a new word to express this state and he chose Satyagraha from the word Satya which means truth. In Gandhi's mind Satyagraha meant “holding on to the truth” or “truth force.” Sadly the word never really caught on and in its place today we mostly have what is known as non-violent or perhaps peaceful protest, although the words peaceful and protest together seem a little incongruous.
So what is peace then?
Well I don't claim to know definitively but how about this as starter.
For something to experience peace it needs in the first place to be natural and true to what it actually is.
This is particularly pertinent when we think for example how we humans haven't allowed nature to be itself with things like pollution of the land, sea and sky, exploitation of resources, deforestation, the use of pesticides, chemicals, insecticides, burning fossil fuels, habitat depletion, making other species extinct, genetically modifying them and dozens if not scores of other activities that means that things in nature, including ourselves, do not experience what it is like to be natural and therefore are not at peace with themselves and so not peaceful.
So how about we start with finding out more about what true peace might be by giving things (including nature and ourselves and each other) a better chance to be themselves? The absence of the pain, stress and hurt of things being different to what they naturally should be might not create a state of peace of itself but it might in the words of John Lennon ….... Give Peace a Chance.
We seem to have tried everything else so this has to be worth a try surely?
21st June 2014