We’re Better Off With Peace, Colltalers
War, hunger, overpopulation. In the 20th century, these, and our increasing energy needs, were the most alarming trends threatening humanity’s survival. Now, while none of these factors have been subtracted, we’ve added an even scarier one: climate change.
But there’s an underlying thread that links all the great challenges of our age which, not coincidentally, is also an age-old challenge: peace. It’s what’s been sorely missing every year of this young century, as it was already absent in most previous ones.
The quest for peace is about much more than a world without wars, even though such a revolutionary possibility would have completely remade for the better the world as we know it. But it’s hard to even picture borders being marked by agreement instead of conflict.
We’ve been so completely sold on the idea that it’s in the nature of man to wage war, as the sole mechanism of progress and discovery, that we tend to dismiss, and even mock, all attempts at establishing a state of permanent peace. It simply can’t last, they say.
They, in this case, are not hard to identify, so we won’t insult your intelligence naming them. But the same paradigm by which we’ve developed such a self-defeating approach to peace, as a show of weakness to be avoided, we’ve also embraced the pragmatic realization, now a cliche, that war is good for business, and boosts country economies like no other multi-nation effort, specially talk.
Except that a truly peaceful determination would be a more effective way to distribute resources and wealth than war, since it wouldn’t pre-require a nation to arm itself to the teeth before
even thinking about promoting more effective economies and growth prospects.
From agriculture to industry, from craftsmanship to technology, any form of population sustenance is always tied up to the nation’s ability to defend itself first, from external aggression and internal strife. Only then, we can talk about jobs and prosperity.
Also, we’ve been led to believe that to negotiate is to lose, for no agreement can be established for the interest of one side only, an intrinsic by-product of war: there can’t be no argument or opposition raised from those who were vanquished because they’re dead.
However, the notion that we’re bound to lose something when we discuss our differences willfully ignores a crucial result of any agreed-upon solution: the extra contribution that only comes when both sides are free to offer something, not to take it away.
Peace also transcends narrow boundaries set for social development, as it doesn’t discriminate along political lines; society needs are met by tapping into all available resources, not just those set by dominant forces dictating priorities according to their own agenda.
Whereas war sets and consolidates mechanisms to preserve the goals that ignited it in the first place, a state bound by principles of cooperation and equanimity has no need to enforce military objectives. Or laws cannot be broken by the weight of armies.
Lastly, a state of peace entails the most suitable approach to the ‘newest,’ and now greatest, threat to our survival, climate change. And the reason is simple: it does not require the continuous rape of nature and rapid exhaustion of natural resources demanded by violent power struggles. Arguably, even the exploration and consumption of fossil fuels would diminish during peace times.
It goes beyond that: without the defense-industrial complex to feed and support, all human and natural riches of a nation could be redirected to the sole promotion and progress of its civilian society. Of course, we’re now reaching into utopia territory. So we stop.
Fortunately, others won’t. Even if we rarely hear or learn about their efforts, billions continue to believe that war and the carnage it visits upon communities are not necessary or at all inevitable. Most are focused on changing minds first, before any preaching.
Of course, it all may sound like yet another platitude about the need for non aggression and peaceful coexistence, present in every innocuous accord ever broken. Then again, to offer yet another recipe for world peace doesn’t really make sense either, does it?
For it’s this biased way of thinking, that we simply can’t do a thing to reverse our inexorable walk towards doom, what undermines and sabotages even the most well intended form of peace activism. So, the first thing to do may be just that: to think differently.
Many have tried, and succeed, to make that kind of radical change, so to envision a viable and more sustainable way for us to survive on this planet. Historically, though, few serious political attempts were made to achieve it. It just can’t be done, they keep on saying.
Perhaps. But try as you may to address any of those civilization-ending threats mentioned above using the power of the barrel, and even on paper, it doesn’t work. It may be a cliche now but isn’t time to ‘give peace a chance’ yet another go? Have a great one. WC