06 December 2008
[cross-posted from flickr]
photo by Bob Ziegler
We declare peace. Not war.
We declare peace instead of war.
Humankind has engaged in war and other acts of violence for centuries, if not millenia. Thus far, neither war nor violence has brought any lasting or true peace to our lives. War isn't working; it has not resulted in peace. War is not the answer.
Do the ends justify the means? I believe that they, the ends, do not justify the means.
Rather, the means inform the ends. The means create the ends. If we want a peaceful end, then we must utilize peaceful means. The means are the ends.
So if we want peace, then we must live peacefully. Peace is, indeed, the way.
Too often war is pursued with the idea of peace as end product. The problem is that war is coercive and violent. War is often times the end product of policies or mindsets that are exploitative and domineering. Throughout human history, war has not brought a truly peaceful condition to society.
So, peace must be understand as not only an end, but also the means to an end. Peace is the way! Declare it! Ask yourself how you can live peacefully - please, for the sake of the health and prosperity of the planet and future generations. Can you do that?
Some questions that we all deserve to ask of ourselves are:
"Do I have peace in my life?"
"Is my lifestyle peaceful?"
"Do my actions promote or inhibit a peaceful society?"
John Woolman, an American Quaker who lived from 1720 to 1772 asked that we may examine our material possessions to determine if they contain nourishment for the seeds of war.
War has not brought peace to our lives. Indeed, violence has not brought peace to our lives.
Peaceful means; practicing peace in daily life; understanding peace not only as and end, but as a means to an end: therein lies hope and possibility.
Living peacefully also feels good. It really does. Being open and honest, looking each other in the eye, making eye contact with strangers, exchanging friendly and warm greetings, demonstrating and exuding positive regards for others, friends, foes, neighbors and strangers - each alike: the path to peace awaits.
We, members of humanity, are connected. All of us are inextricably interconnected. We are connected with each other. And we are connected with the bio-sphere - that thin and relatively fragile layer where life on Earth persists.
We have the power to make, and we have the power to break.
Reverend James Lawson said that violence has not brought peace to our lives. History proves him correct.
But perhaps, now, in the 21st century, there is the possibility to learn from our mistakes and make real substantive changes. Perhaps in the pursuit of truly peaceful and nonviolent means (economic and political) we can find the very real possibility of a genuine outbreak of peace.
Dear friends and neighbors, acquaintances and strangers, have hope. Have hope in the development of peaceful and nonviolent daily modes of operation. Have hope in the creation of social structures, customs and institutions that are based in the wisdom of kindness, moral reciprocity (the Golden Rule), truth, compassion, and nonviolence.
We can reject meanness. For example, we can decide to refuse to say things about other people that we would not say to directly them face to face. We have the power to make real substantive changes in our own lives. And we have the power to change the world. We can create a way of life that respects life. We can heal ourselves. We can heal the world. We can.
It's Peace. I declare it.