THE CHALLENGE OF PEACE

Peace: Do we really want it?

Yes. In principle.

In fact most people would say it's a ridiculous question. Of course we want peace. War is disruptive and destructive. People get killed. And when the fighting's all done, it can take years to put the world back together again. Yes. Of course we want peace.

Fine. We want peace. But are we willing to pay its price? Probably not.

Millions of well-meaning people every day pray for peace. It's so easy to do, pray for someone else to do something, whether it be the Deity, or other people. But Peace is, very simply, the absence of aggression. And it is we who create aggression. We pray for peace, we say we want peace, while all the time we are unaware, or unwilling to accept, that it is we ourselves who create aggression every day in our normal everyday lives.

Peace is the absence of aggression. And aggression is very much a part of our lives. All of us.

Since history was recorded, there has always been a war going on somewhere, often two or more simultaneously. Every day, our newspapers and television bring news of violence. In business and commerce there are wars going on quietly all the time, as manufacturers and suppliers slide their prices up, as workers fight for higher wages or face redundancy from outsourcing to cheap-labour countries. And there are battles over the environment with planners and polluters and mining companies.

Aggression is getting the better of other people. Improving one's lot in life at the expense of others. And that's something we all do. Every day. It's a part of our lives. We enjoy it. Or at least we enjoy it when we are the beneficiaries. And that's really the key: using aggressive behaviour to set oneself above others, to gain from someone else's loss.

Are we willing to give up the lottery of aggression, the chance for a windfall if we can pull off a deal, a robbery, or achieve a position of power and influence with its attendant benefits?


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