Thursday, January 4, 2018

What we all must do to make a more peaceful world

This is the magnitude of the task ahead in all our lives.

The ideas below were used to write an article for LinkedIn: "There is no button for peace."

Attain deeper understanding of emotions — your own and those of others

"The solution has to be found, as Krishnamurti has said, in the problem and not away from it. In other words, the 'bad' man's disturbing emotions and urgent desires have to be seen as they are — or, better, the moment in which they arise has to be seen as it is, without narrowing attention upon any aspect of it.
- Alan Watts

Attain deeper understanding of personal motivations — your own and those of others

"I am a convinced pacifist and for that reason I am curious to understand what make normal people brandish a gun."
- Enzo Baldoni

Attain deeper understanding of institutional agendas, especially the ones that leaders won't admit

"Clearly, we wouldn't have invaded Iraq if its chief export was cauliflower or carrots."
- Robert Fisk

Identify the wrongs you want to right

"The first lesson that tragedy teaches (and that morality plays miss) is that all violence is an attempt to achieve justice, or what the violent person perceives as justice, for himself or for whomever it is on whose behalf he is being violent, so as to receive whatever retribution or compensation the violent person feels is "due" him or "owed" to him, or to those on whose behalf he is acting, whatever he or they are "entitled" to or have a "right" to; or so as to prevent those whom one loves or identifies with from being subjected to injustice. Thus, the attempt to achieve and maintain justice, or to undo or prevent injustice, is the one and only universal cause of violence.
- James Gilligan

Do not address wrongs with extreme violence

"It is hardly possible to imagine that in the atomic era war could be used as an instrument of justice.
- Pope John XXIII

Acknowledge that the desire for violence is real

"It seems that when a society does not have natural processes (such as sex, death, and killing) before it, that society will respond by denying and warping that aspect of nature.
- Dave Grossman

Acknowledge what kinds of violence you perpetrate in your daily life

"We all participate in violence daily. The only questions are our degree of awareness, and what we do with that awareness." - Derrick Jensen

Think about who you really want to be

"For civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight's very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone."
- Rod Serling

Be aware of how you conduct your relationships

"It seems almost incredible that we could have been at war this long without defining precisely who or what we are at war with. But such is the case, and it has never seemed an urgent matter to lawmakers."
- Caleb Carr

Acknowledge that there have been real enemies, past and present

”Innocence in our day is the hope that there 'are no enemies' ... To hang on to this picture of innocence, you must deny history. ... Hence so many of the new generation turn their backs on history as irrelevant; they do not like it, they are not part of it, they insist we are in a brand-new ball game with new rules. And they are completely unaware that this is the ultimate act of hubris.
- Rollo May

Don't paint the world as 'us/them'

”The United States Secret Service has a dualistic worldview. There is the president, and then there are the people who could hurt, kill, maim, injure, or otherwise bother the president. They are known as ‘everyone else.’ It is an official term. It includes staff, audiences, family members, and sometimes pets.”
- David Kuo

Reject the 'us/them' shortcut to a sense of purpose

”Holy war intensifies the boundaries between Us and Them, satisfying the inherently human longing for a clear identity and a definite purpose in life, creating a seductive state of bliss.”
- Jessica Stern

Remember that the safeties and threats of the present may be different than those of the past

”We seem to feel somehow that because the hydrogen bomb has not killed us yet, it is never going to kill us. This is a dangerous assumption because it encourages the retention of traditional attitudes about world politics when our responsibility, in Dr. Chisholm's words, is nothing less than ‘to re-examine all of the attitudes of our ancestors and to select from those attitudes things which we, on our own authority in these present circumstances, with our knowledge, recognize as still valid in this new kind of world...'"
- Sen. J. William Fulbright

Allow that even that which seems inborn can be redirected

"...these two approaches [to the origin of violence, nature and nurture] are not mutually exclusive. Aggression is part of the basic equipment of men, but it is also culturally formed, exacerbated, and can be, at least in part, redirected.
- Rollo May

Change your thinking

"We cannot solve the problems that we have created with the same thinking that created them."
- Albert Einstein

Let your new thoughts transform your actions

"Because when one person thinks fight! he or she finds a fight. One faction thinks war! and starts a war. One nation thinks nuclear! and approaches the abyss. And what of one nation which thinks peace, and seeks peace?"
Dennis Kucinich

Change your toolbox

"The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.
- Audre Lorde

Do not launch the first strike

"Hitting first has always been the mark of evil. I don't think one great religious or spiritual thinker has said that it was OK. Everyone, from almost every tradition, agrees on three things. Rule 1: We are all family. Rule 2: It is immoral to hit first. Rule 3: You reap exactly what you sow. You cannot grow tulips from zucchini seeds, or peace from murder. And, it helps beyond words to plant bulbs in the dark of winter.
Anne Lamott

Communicate what you know about yourself and listen to others

"People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know each other because they have not communicated with each other."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Look into the real options and consequences, and challenge the way others frame them

”Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld aptly summarized the prevailing view in October 2001: 'We have two choices. Either we change the way we live, or we must change the way they live. We choose the latter.' If, today, this black-and-white perspective seems a trifle oversimplified, between 2002 and 2004, no politician of national stature had the wit or the gumption to voice a contrary view.”
- Andrew J. Bacevich

Go wider and challenge bigger frames of personal and national identity and goals

”In the Vietnam era, we watched a great nation descend into tragedy because of its inability to break the spell of such mythic metaphors as domino effect and containment of communism."
- Sam McKeen

Don't punish people who challenge your frame

”I asked why we sent missionaries to Africa but didn't have any contact with black people, or even black churches, in our own city.
I was told that we were all better off separated...Other whites said that blacks were happy with the way things were...And if they had problems, they probably deserved them...Some people told me that asking these questions would only get me into trouble. That proved to be the only honest answer I ever got in the white community.”
- Jim Wallis

Don't mistake a challenge to your ideology as a challenge to your existence

"Here, in Spain, a man is simply stood up against a wall and he gives up his entrails to the stones of the courtyard. You have been captured. You are shot. Reason: your ideas were not our ideas."
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Don't insult others intentionally

“‘Raca,' the word for ‘fool’ that Jesus forbade people to use, is Aramaic for ‘empty.’ Words like that attempt to obliterate someone's existence.”

 - Paul Ramsey

Don't insult others accidentally by attributing names and ideas to them

My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names they did not choose for themselves? Once he calls them Ahl al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's Wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and the come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?

- Wafa Sultan

Don't project onto others

"...we have an eternal enemy, which is our ego. The tragic mistake is to identify that enemy with other people..."
- Michael Nagler

Improve your predictive skills and be willing to act on them

"Man has lost the capacity to foresee and forestall. He will end by destroying the earth."
- Albert Schweitzer

Require humility from leaders

"The ruler who wants to be above the people must speak of himself as below them.
If he wants to be ahead of the people, he must keep himself behind them.”
- Lao Tzu

Turn your beliefs into action

”Anyone can love peace, but Jesus doesn't say, 'Blessed are the peacelovers.' He says peacemakers.
- Jim Wallis

Choose actions that have great effect on the world

”For these reasons such direct actions as the burning of draft cards probably does more to retard than to advance the views of those who take such action. The burning of a draft card is a symbolic act, really a form of expression rather than action, and it is stupid and vindictive to punish it as a crime. But it is also an unwise act, unwise because it is shocking rather than persuasive to most Americans and because it exposes the individual to personal risk without political reward.”
- Sen. J. William Fulbright

Be aware that group action can intensify or alter your personal beliefs

"The intensity of mob action has led some social critics to speculate on the theory of a 'collective mind' operating at the moment of violent mob destruction, that the participants are no longer themselves and are acting foreign to their experiences and beliefs. I contend that such mob action serves to reinforce belief... There is not a change in the basic structure of beliefs which mobilize the crowd into action; rather, there is a period of strain during which those beliefs manifest themselves in collective behavior."
- Trudier Harris

Pay attention to the results of your actions

"It's racist if the hurting people of color. Whether or not it's intentional, that's the outcome."
- Gladys Gould

Think about how you affect real people, not just institutions or nations

“My years of experience in Jordan, and my current work with the United Nations and other international organizations, has convinced me that real security — security that is sustainable and genuine — must focus on the needs of human beings, not just nations. True security is not only a matter of protecting borders from military aggression, or achieving technological or economic dominance, but of providing a stable, safe, and healthy environment for all citizens — women, amen, and children — of all races and creeds to participate fully in economic, cultural, and political life. People must work together because no one — even the most wealthy and powerful country in the world — will enjoy true security if others in our interdependent world suffer injustice and deprivation. Given the global rise of extremism on all sides in recent years, it is very easy to turn inward, recoil from risk, and avoid reaching out to others. For all of our sakes, we can no longer afford to allow ourselves to be imprisoned by our fears and differences.”
- Queen Noor

Make a pathway to talk to your enemies

"If Bush insists on identifying all of the insurgents with al-Qaida, then there isn't anyone with whom we can negotiate."
- Joe Conason

Find a way to acknowledge and accept differences

"To encourage reconciliation, Rwanda has embarked on an experiment to change completely the way a new generation thinks about itself. Now, officially, no one is a Hutu or Tutsi; there are only Rwandans. Ethnicity, the genocide's alleged cause, is being outlawed."
- The Economist

Prepare for the perpetual challenges that differences bring

"The Indians and ourselves will long be at war. It has never ceased and possibly will not cease in the foreseeable future. What must be hoped for is not exactly 'peace,' but a creative tension. Peace does not create heroic achievement. There must be challenge that forces the best that is in us to emerge into its proper expression, challenge that brings about dimensions in human achievement that would not otherwise be attained. Just now, however, the disproportion in size and power seems to remove all possibility of truly creative relationships that would be neither destructive nor paternalistic. yet in the dialectic of human affairs, size and power eventually become self-destructive; the inequalities may eventually be leveled and the ancient fruitful combat relationships revived in a new setting."
- Thomas Berry

Transform your enemies into friends

"True security, as the Buddha said, comes not from defeating enemies but from not having any..."
Michael Nagler

Focus on positive feelings of belonging to a group

"We-feeling is good for your health. It lowers your heart rate, reduces stress hormones, makes you sleep better and think more clearly."
David Berreby

See peace as a precondition for human rights

Peace is a civil right which makes other human rights possible. Peace is the precondition of our existence. Peace permits our continued existence.

 - Dennis Kucinich

See peace as the continued actualization of human rights

"Among individuals, as among nations, peace is the respect of the others’ rights."
- Benito Juarez

Don't let someone else's 'talking points' confuse you or polarize your group

"We will have some rebuilding to do after this war. We all know it. The destruction is devastating. We will have to start with our collective intelligence. It is getting blasted. The collateral damage has been ugly. ... I hate this war because it makes the country I love look scared and stupid. I hate it because we went through a laundry list of a half dozen reasons to invade Iraq and we never seemed sure which one was going to hold up. I hate it because it seems it was a done deal months ago and all the debate and diplomacy have been deceptive window dressing. But I hate it most for what it is doing to us. It is turning us mean and snarling and suspicious of each other, and there is no good reason for it. I think we are being set up and being played."
- Bob Kerr

Know that anything you choose freely resists those who would control you

Any neutrality, indeed any spontaneously given friendship, is from the standpoint of totalitarian domination just as dangerous as open hostility, precisely because spontaneity as such, with its incalculability, is the greatest of all obstacles to total dominion over man.
- Hannah Arendt

Persist in what you know is right despite the attitudes of your opponents

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- M. K. Gandhi

Allow space for sudden insight

"'We just woke up.' After hearing the same response from gang members making truces in other cities, the meaning of the young man's words began to dawn on me. I recalled that waking up is a spiritual metaphor for conversion."
- Jim Wallis

Admit that peace is hard work and the work never ends

"We have thought of peace as the passive and war as the active way of living. The opposite is true. War is not the most strenuous life. It is a kind of rest-cure compared to the task of reconciling our differences."
- Mary Parker Follett

Be ready to 'wait and see'

"And from her [the city of Ashdod] we shall see what will flower when peace and a little repose finally come.
Patience, I say. There is no shortcut."
- Amos Oz


Alan Watts, Nature, Man, and Woman (1958). New York: Vintage Books, 1991. p. 68.

Enzo Baldoni, freelance Italian journalist captured and killed in Iraq in 2004, quoted in La Repubblica (Rome), according to "Italy horror at hostage execution," CNN, August 27, 2004.

Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for the Independent of London, interviewed by David Barsamian in April 2005. The Progressive, June 2005. Excerpted in Utne. Sept.-Oct. 2005. p 73.

James Gilligan. Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic. (1996) New York: Vintage Books, 1997. pp. 11-12.

Pope John XXIII, quoted in James Carroll. An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1996. p 73-4.

Dave Grossman. On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. 1995. p xxviii.

Derrick Jensen. Endgame. Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006. p. 407.

Rod Serling, in "The Shelter." The Twilight Zone television series

"Wrong Definition for a War." Caleb Carr. Washington Post, July 28, 2004.

Rollo May, Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence, New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1972. p. 56.

David Kuo. Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction. New York: Free Press, 2006. p. 154.

Jessica Stern. Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill. New York: Ecco, 2003. p. 137.

Sen. J. William Fulbright. The Arrogance of Power. New York: Vintage Books, 1966. pp. 8-9. Quoting Brock Chisholm, Prescription for Survival. New York: Columbia University Press, 1957. p. 9.

Rollo May, Power and Innocence: A Search for the Sources of Violence, New York: W. W. Norton and Co., 1972. p 38.

Dennis Kucinich. A Prayer for America. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2003. p 85.

Audre Lorde, quoted by Starhawk, Truth or Dare: Encounters with Power, Authority, and Mystery, New York: Harper Collins, 1987. p. 20.

Anne Lamott, Seeds of Peace, 2003

Martin Luther King, Jr. Quoted in "Sunbeams," the quotations page of The Sun. November 2012. p. 48.

Andrew J. Bacevich. The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2008. pp. 57-58.

Sam McKeen's Preface to Sam Keen and Anne Valley-Fox, Your Mythic Journey: Finding Meaning in Your Life Through Writing and Storytelling. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1989. p. x. (This is a revised version of Telling Your Story, originally published 1973.)

Jim Wallis. The Soul of Politics: Beyond 'Religious Right' and 'Secular Left'. New York: Harvest, 1995. pp. 88-89.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Wind, Sand and Stars. (1939) Translated into English by Lewis Galantiere. London: The Folio Society, 1990. p. 162.

Paul Ramsey. Nine Modern Moralists. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1962. p 23.

Wafa Sultan, Arab-American psychologist, on a talk show on Memri TV (Al Jazeera, Qatar, February 21, 2006), speaking in Arabic, with English subtitles.

Michael Nagler, interviewed by David Kupfer. “Nonviolence, Spiritual Growth, and Real Security.” Whole Earth, Fall 2002. p 46.

Albert Schweitzer, quoted in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring

Lao Tzu, quoted by Alan Watts, Nature, Man, and Woman, New York: Vintage Books, 1991 (Copyright 1958). pp. 38-39.

Jim Wallis. The Call to Conversion: Why Faith is Always Personal but Never Private. Revised and Updated. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 2005. (Originally 1981.) p 108.

Sen. J. William Fulbright. The Arrogance of Power. New York: Vintage Books, 1966. p. 39.

Trudier Harris. Exorcising Blackness: Historical and Literary Lynching and Burning Rituals. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, c 1984. p 13.

Gladys Gould, a Providence resident speaking on behalf of Jobs with Justice, quoted in "Critics say cuts to Rite Care would hurt Hispanics most." Elizabeth Gudrais. Providence Journal. (Rhode Island.) March 31, 2006. p A1.

Queen Noor. Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life. New York: Hyperion, 2003. p. 442.

Joe Conason. "Only one option?" Feb 3, 2006. Accessed Feb. 3, 2006.

"The difficulty of trying to stop it happening ever again." The Economist. April 11-17, 2009. p. 46.

Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth, San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988. p 190

Michael Nagler, interviewed by David Kupfer. “Nonviolence, Spiritual Growth, and Real Security.” Whole Earth, Fall 2002. p 46.

Dennis Kucinich. A Prayer for America. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2003. p 77.

Mexican statesman Benito Juárez, quoted in the AP. The Week, April 4, 2014, p. 15.

"The damage is closer than we think." Bob Kerr. Providence Journal. March 26, 2003.

Hannah Arendt. The Burden of Our Time. London: Secker and Warburg, 1951. Published in the US as The Origins of Totalitarianism. p 428.

David Berreby. Us and Them: Understanding Your Tribal Mind. New York: Little, Brown, and Co. 2005. p 223.

Jim Wallis. The Soul of Politics: Beyond 'Religious Right' and 'Secular Left'. New York: Harvest, 1995. p. 21.

Mary Parker Follett. Quoted in "Sunbeams," the quotations page of The Sun. November 2012. P. 48.

Amos Oz. In the Land of Israel. (1983) Translated by Maurie Goldberg-Bartura. USA: Harcourt, Inc., 1993. p. 241.

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