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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Give Peace A Chance

As I sit at my computer to write this, I'm thinking about the recent events in my country and around the globe and how those events will impact peace for generations to come. I think that quite possibly, therein could be the key to finding and maintaining a lasting peace for mankind. We all too often act, speak, react without thinking first of the overall impact of those actions, words or reactions. Deeper than that though, is the inclination to expect everyone else to subscribe to our own personal set of morals, philosophies, and expectations. It won't happen. The thing is, this world is made up of so many different philosophies, different opinions, varying morals and expectations. That's what makes it interesting. You know that already.
I've been thinking about how to bring the changes that I want to see into fruition. Sometimes I get really overwhelmed and feel like I'm all alone in the epic battle to give peace a chance.
photo by Debbi Tannock

But I persist. Why? Because I envision a world in which by and large we can all be ourselves without fear of persecution. I envision a world that has learned from it's history and healed from it's wars. I dream of an earth with people of all ethnicities, all creeds, and all sexual orientations coming together to understand and accept each other, unconditionally - out of love. We're capable of it, in that I have no doubt. Sure, it won't be easy, but the path to improvement never is.
I believe that education is the true path to peace. We as humans fear that which is unknown. Because we are uncomfortable with fear, we subconsciously turn fear into anger, it's a natural reaction. The fight or flight kicks into action and poof, goodbye scared, hello mad. It's a primitive, innate form of self protection. Probably left over from when we had to escape those pesky saber toothed tigers.
As Dorothy Thompson said,
"Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict -- alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence."
And as The Dalai Lama said,
"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. Each of us must learn to work not just for oneself, one's own family or nation, but for the benefit of all humankind. Universal responsibility is the key to human survival. It is the best foundation for world peace."

How, though, do we instill this sense of universal responsibility? Teach creative alternatives to violence to an entire globe? How do we even create an atmosphere of receptiveness to these foreign ideas?

I can't bring peace to the world all by myself. I know that today. But I can change the world, one person at a time. One rally at a time, one blog post at a time.

If only one who person reads this, later reflects upon it before casting judgment upon someone else simply for being different, and decides to embrace that person for their difference and take a bit of time to learn more about them, averting conflict and building a new bridge...well, then it's been worth-while.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not perfect. I don't even pretend to be. I can cast judgment, I can be critical, and I too can sometimes be intolerant. I'm human. I try though, to step back and look at what it is that has triggered such a response from me, and then I try to make amends.
Introspection, empathy, education, and an instillation of universal responsibility. Those sound like tall orders, I know, but I also know that we are up to the challenge.

I'm not sure if this post is too convoluted, too rambling to make any sense. I apologize if it is.
I'll leave you with a poem I found from waaaaaaaaay back. I wrote this 20 years ago, when I was only 16. I don't remember what I called it. I share it, not for its strength in prose, for it is definitely the work of a 16 year old, but I share it for it's vision of hope for peace in the presence of overwhelming apathy.

People just don't care anymore,
They don't even seem to try.
I think about this everyday
And everyday I cry.
You see, life is very beautiful to me,
It's a wonderful thing to find.
I guess nobody understands-
That, or they're just blind.
Blind to this and so much more;
Like Peace, and Hope, and Love...
I hope one day the blind will see,
So we can be free,
Just like the dove.

3 cookies cracked:

Anndi said...

I swear you and I must have been related in a past life.

Your sixteen year old self was darn smart, chica.

We CAN achieve Peace.... we just need to listen to each other, and try to understand.

Jay said...

Great PEACE post. Well done!

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

crapola its depressing sometimes :)