I picked up the old library book and found a thin, vintage Christmas card somebody used as a book mark. There was only one phrase on the card, “Peace on Earth”. It was an odd, little surprise to come across such a card in the middle of August. I smiled when thinking it was the first December holidays card of the year.
It’s a bit sad that our society mainly promotes “Peace on Earth” as some sort of religious slogan around Christmas. In our violent world, peace on our planet should be in the hearts of all people regardless of religion, place of origin, and so forth, all year long.
The concept of world peace is an ancient ideal that predates Judeo-Christian cultures. Various peoples and civilizations have searched for ways to achieve peace on Earth through philosophy, education, diplomacy, and interpersonal relationship.
Our human desire for peace on Earth is more than some Utopian dream of happiness, freedom, and non-violence. It is at the heart of groups of people willing to cooperate in ways to prevent human conflict and warfare. Ancient writings from the oldest known cultures addressed various means that peace could come about. Advanced ideas of human rights and diplomacy have been highly esteemed ideals in the most ancient and contemporary civilizations.
In modern times a wide variety of religious and secular organizations have been working towards peace on Earth. These days, avoiding warfare and violence are more urgent concerns than ever before. We have more diabolical tools of death and destruction at our fingertips than any earlier epochs. There are more ingenious methods to disseminate hate speech and subversive propaganda than at any other time.
How we, as humanity, address these complex issues is an ongoing process that will have to include ideas from various points of view that address varying cultural values and concerns. It will also take a shift in national attention away from the promotion of discord and violence. It will require a concerted focus on compassion, cooperation, peace, and love for one another. If we cannot bring about Peace on Earth, we are electing destruction on Earth by default.
“The use and threat of force, when world peace is not in danger, are no longer valid frames of reference for achieving the ends sought today by sovereign nations.”–Carlos Salinas de Gortari
The elephant in the room is the radical imbalance of money spent by national treasuries on preparation and delivery of warfare. This lopsided approach to spending displays a nation’s true values and priorities. Redirecting or reducing such spending is taboo these days. Humankind will have to do this someday soon because our economies are already bankrupt due to spendthrift war debt on the part of most nations on Earth.
There will probably always be a need for a military simply because there will probably always be greed and thirst for power and influence over others. This is not a controversial thought. However, there is a great need to dial back our spending habits on tools of destruction in order to level the playing field between war and diplomacy. Doing this will require more care and wisdom than is present in the leading nations of the world right now.
The constant drive towards Peace on Earth requires minds that are not attached to specific techniques and ideologies, but are open to new ways of thinking. The old ways have not worked. New, inclusive ways of peacemaking need to be analyzed and tried.
Just as pain and suffering are symptoms of an individual’s poor health and disease, warfare is a symptom of humanity’s dysfunction. Peace on Earth can no longer be thought of as some sort of idealistic “pie in the sky” concept. It is a goal that everyone and every nation will need to embrace soon.
It is time to shift our belief that discord and warfare are inevitable to the belief that Peace on Earth is inevitable.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes entrepreneur and CEO, Joichi Ito. “We have a long way to go before we are able to hear the voices of everyone on Earth, but I believe that providing voices and building bridges is essential for the World Peace we all wish for.”