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WORLD PEACE–The Elusive Dream

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by BWNWAdmin No Comments

“Glory be to God in the highest and on Earth, peace, goodwill toward men.” It is a marvelous concept stated and worshipped for at least 2000 years. Yet, world peace has been unknown and thus unavailable to leaders of world governments.

At a time when powerful animals were the enemy and nature unexplained by science, fear was ever present outside of the tribe. The only experience of safety existed within the tribe. There, providing for the necessities of life, it was possible to develop softer human emotions: love, trust, mutuality and respect.

Thus was born the duality in human life that exists to today; pervasive external fear, severely limited external love.

Peace is prevented by persistent corrosive beliefs. Those beliefs determine behavior. Some examples of such beliefs and behaviors in the United States are:

1. There are enemies out there, threatening. The only way to gain control is through force of arms. In economics, there are competitors everywhere. Power, control and beating others in any ways possible are the rule.

2. In a highly competitive world trust is risky, Generals want five stars. They cannot trust anyone seeking the same goal. CEO’s want more and more power and control. Middle management in industry and the military strive for advancement. Lower economic levels see resource shortage everywhere and compete for leftovers.

Internationally, there are alliances, spheres of influence and suspicion everywhere. Experts proliferate to advise leaders on how to win the brass ring. Willingness to explore mutual needs and possible cooperation with enemies is verboten. It is a sign of weakness and even considered traitorous.

3. A further belief that makes peace elusive is the growth of individualism, especially individual rights and privileges unaccompanied by responsibility. Individualism has become dominant over mutualism. My needs, my ideas, my goals are vital to me and I am willing to fight for them. Weapons of war are available everywhere and are there to protect the most elite individuals. Money from near or distant co-believers is available, often temporarily as sides shift with the wind.

4. Willingness to fight is still the gold standard of manliness. Cowardice in the face of the enemy will get a soldier shot immediately or condemned to prison.

Trust cannot survive in such a belief and behavioral context.

There are solutions: they are known and are in plain sight. The trends enumerated above can be be reversed. Softer human emotions as part of public enterprise would be part of social norms. Morality, having all but vanished, would become part of the human spirit.

The following strategies, taken together in a bottom-up plan can change the world:

Religion is still powerful around the world. Pope Francis is promoting peace and humility. Every Priest, Rabbi, Imam and all other leaders of religion can be of enormous influence if every “church” became a supporter of peaceful emotions expressed in public.

In the United States and elsewhere, transfers of power are accepted by vote. Every single elected member of government at any level can be replaced by the vote. A public steeped in the need for gentler emotions on a local, national and international level can spur the candidacy of carefully selected people. If the people are able to select the candidates for political office instead of political parties, the vote in the US can peacefully revolutionize the government.

Peace groups are legion in the U.S and around the world. Though they have been more cooperative recently, too often they still follow separate paths, each with its own agenda. If they focused on creating an emotional context for peace, progress would be more rapid.

Top down efforts are less effective than coalescing masses of informed people to support change. Person to person contacts work best to spread the word. We can expand our circle of trust and cooperation to others outside our immediate group.

Social media offer stunning possibilities for changing attitudes. Skills in the use of those media have become highly honed. They are a key part of a comprehensive plan.

Those are working strategies. They require organization, education and implementation by ordinary people trained in the basic principles.

The total effort would be to reduce fear, especially fear of each other and of strangers. We would rally against deliberate use of fear that allows the “elites” to solidify and maintain their power. Fear and its expression in aggression would be reduced to a minimum. Unmanageable fear prevented world peace historically. It makes peace elusive now.

Again, the knowledge of how to proceed is available. The will to risk change is still mired in the conviction that violence is an effective and necessary tool to protect self, country and world from dangers that exist. Since violence promotes more violence, new dangers increase exponentially as more violence is invoked. Peace suffers continuous setbacks where violence is thought to be viable.

In brief:

Emotion guides behavior. As long as the world outside one’s in-group is fear-inducing and that fear induces aggression, world peace will remain an elusive dream.

Replacing unfettered competition with mutuality, fear with hope. suspicion with trust, dominance with equality and egoism with respect can create a road to peace.

If people are cherished as equal in their humanity, world peace can prevail.


Hubert Kauffman, Ph.D.


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