Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part IV

ZenThe road to peace has been mapped out for humanity by some of its forerunners. For example, historically, the Buddha indicated  one possible road to peace through the eight-fold path of right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right diligence, right mindfulness and right concentration. These principals have stood the test of time and are as valid today as they were 2000 years ago.

Active individual participation in the promotion of social justice and political decision-making, without the use of violence, in a spirit of tolerance and goodwill, was strongly advocated by Gandhi in the 1900s. He promoted such important concepts as:

  • Ahimsa – non-injury through the renunciation of physical and mental violence against one’s self, others, animals and nature;
  • Advaita – the interconnectivity of all life forms;
  • Tapasya – the willingness to suffer rather than inflict pain on others;
  • Sarvodaya – everyone’s basis needs must be met even if that means that some people must give something up so that others are not left out;
  • Satyagraha – the pursuit of Truth through non-violent action.

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Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part III

One comprehensive definition of the concept of peace was identified by Fischer, Nolte & Oeberg in their book “Winning Peace”[1]:

“(…) all that aims to develop security and secure development of the whole human being, and all human beings, in a permanent process, taking its point of departure in a model of human and social needs based on an ethics of global care and allowing for unity in diversity.”

EarthThe phrase “an ethics of global care” is an important reminder that peace is measured not only by human-human relations, but by the quality of human-nature relationships too, namely humanity’s interactions with the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. Humankind’s desire to dominate the environment with scant regard for the consequences has led to a growing scarcity of natural resources, pollution of the Earth’s waterways, sickness in animals necessitating mass killings, worrying changes in climatic conditions and devastating natural catastrophes, etc. To counteract this negative trend, human beings – at the macro and micro level – have the choice to assume their role as conscious and dedicated guardians of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms; rather than to continue using violence and domination to master the Earth, jeopardising the world heritage of future generations.

Extract from my MA thesis entitled:
A Shared Human Identity – the Foundation of a Peace Culture

Photo c/o ColiN00B on Pixabay

[1] “Winning Peace”, Fisher, Nolte & Oeberg, Crane Russak, 1989.

Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part II

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.  Continue reading

Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part I

In response to Brad’s #PeaceChallenge, I will make a series of 4 posts. Hope you find them of value. Blessings, Sam 🙂

Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part I

In the midst of the innumerable, intractable global conflicts of today and the existence of nuclear weapons capable of destroying the world many times over, it is arguable that world governance can no longer be left solely to political decision-makers. At a microcosmic level, each and every aware individual can begin to assume greater responsibility for the state of the world by taking up the challenge of embodying the peace (microcosm) that he/she hopes to see mirrored in the world community (macrocosm). In order to embrace peace, it is helpful to understand some of the underlying reasons for the manifestation of its antithesis i.e. violence. Why do individuals resort to violence?

Individual acts of physical violence can be considered a response to physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual disharmony. For example: a difficult childhood can lead to feelings of frustration and aggression in an adult human being, who then uses violence as a mental-emotional outlet; the resort to violence could also be an action taken to protect physical basic needs such as safety and access to food; or on a spiritual level, historical antecedents such as the fact that a distant past has been characterised by war could hold violence in the collective subconscious, making it the line of least resistance. Moreover, direct aggression can have its cause in more than one instigating factor. Continue reading