Peace is a living concept and men and women’s understanding of what constitutes peace, and what is comprised by its antithesis i.e. violence, is evolving as the human race itself evolves.
Violence is more than direct aggression; there are also structural and cultural dimensions to violence like poverty, unemployment (structural), censorship and sexual discrimination (cultural). If governments, educators, the media and every aware individual were to label these additional categories of violence as such, more men and women would come to understand how far we still are from creating a culture of peace and how important it is to create new structures, or to reform the existing ones, in order to guarantee a more peaceful future for the present world community and future generations.
Present day societies, particularly in so-called “developed” states, are characterised by a vast network of information technology, which has brought people into vivid contact with the day-to-day reality of life in almost every corner of the globe. This fact together with the high value placed on intelligence, that is the ability to think and reason, is giving greater prominence to the issues of morality and ethics in human attitudes and behaviour, be this is at the macrocosmic level in such fields as politics and trade, or on a community and individual basis. Therefore, the concept of peace can no longer be understood simply as the absence of war, but rather needs to be seen as the transformation of violence on all four of its levels.
Extract from my MA thesis entitled: A Shared Human Identity – the Foundation of a Peace Culture