One comprehensive definition of the concept of peace was identified by Fischer, Nolte & Oeberg in their book “Winning Peace”:
“(…) 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.”
The 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
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 →
Albert Schweitzer starts off my mini-series of “Inspirational Human Beings”.
Albert Schweitzer’s worldview, conceptualised as “Reverence for Life”, is composed of three elements: (i) resignation, (ii) an affirmative attitude to life, (iii) ethics.
“The world does not consist of phenomena only; it is also alive. […] In dedicating myself to the service of whatever lives, I find an activity that has meaning and purpose. […] By playing an active role, man enters into a spiritual relationship with this world that is quite different: he does not see his existence in isolation. On the contrary, he is united with the lives that surround him; he experiences the destinies of others as his own.”
(Sources: Schweitzer, A. (1998) Out of My Life and Thought. The John Hopkins University Press: Baltimore & London, pp.232-233; Photo c/o International Albert-Schweitzer-Association – http://www.schweitzer.org)