Peace is the slowing down of contradictions


All Writings, Individual, Observations, Psychology / Saturday, June 30th, 2018

It has been observed in recent times, how the more we discuss matters the more we move away from peace.  This cannot possibly be created by any one person or group of persons.  The masses of millions of people who take out a portion from their own time to engage in arguments and debates have their own motivation.  One only need take a fleeting look at social networks.  It is true, some may have been seduced by an ideology, or many are compelled by the seductions of influential members of politics or religion.  However, there is quite a simple consideration worthy of our time.  There is a certain conclusion we cannot hasten toward as we find our societies churned by daily disagreements.  I wish, we would reach a certain understanding, that we are all desirous of the same thing – peace.  For all our struggles and conflicts, we even engage in actual bloodshed for the purpose of eventually finding peace.  Is this what we also need?  We may have developed a view that life is a struggle and there must be competitions for survival.  Even if we accept this, ask the ones who engage in all these struggles and competitions for survival: Why?  Do you wish to finally find peace?  I would venture to say, after certain necessary reflection, the answer would be an unequivocal yes.

Looking for peace

Having found the desirability of the ideal, one should also consider the possibility of it.  Can we find peace and maintain it?  It would be found that there are people, despite all the convincing reasons and recognition of the mutual need for peace, cannot come to such a place of agreement that allows for a clashless coexistence.  In their heart, they cannot find the possibility for peace, and some do not have such a desire.  Some derive pleasure from violence.  Yes, there is a great indulgence in violence today.  One can find it aplenty in the mediums of entertainment; in video games, movies, advertising, and music.  It is not all there is, but one must question the sheer volume of all that is against the idea of peace.  Whether one is mature or impressionable, over a long period of time and with the disadvantage of relentless exposure, the mind of every human being is susceptible to this bad effect.

There still remains this deep, fundamental, underlying desire.  One fights monsters, demons, dragons, and zombies in the hope of slaying them to protect that imaginary world… and find what?  Peace!  The movies we watch, we hope, there is some kind of justice in the end.  Sometimes the wish to see the good guy winning is less than to see the bad guy get his deserved punishment.  The songs that have endured through time aren’t those that glorify but inspire hope, even if they are sung in the form of an anthem and proclaim devotion to a nation as the means to find that peace.  Please see the examples below.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Canada

O Lord our God arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.

England

Unity and justice and freedom
For the German fatherland!
Towards these let us all strive
Brotherly with heart and hand!
Unity and justice and freedom
Are the foundation of happiness;

Germany

Grab your weapons, citizens!
Form your battalions!
Let us march! Let us march!
May impure blood
Water our fields!

France

The strong sentiments expressed in these national anthems and others, if you ask each one of those who understand the implications of the words, is based on the belief of finding peace.  This, notwithstanding, the blood and the sacrifice that is understood to come along the way as the natural course of national identity and existence. A quote comes to mind:

“The age of nations has passed. Now, unless we wish to perish, we must shake off our old prejudices and build the Earth. The more scientifically I regard the world, the less can I see any possible biological future for it except in the active consciousness of its unity.”
— Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

The contradictions that exist among individuals and among nations

Yes, there are contradictions among individuals and among nations, far too numerous and seemingly deep that bringing these together can only end in a disturbance.  It is not necessary to dwell upon what these are, nor is it fruitful in producing a meaningful conclusion.  Like the wise men of yesteryears, we will find ourselves soon disenchanted with the world.  In every single case, those men found that life isn’t built upon possessions or pleasures.  Rather, it is built upon the values and spirituality of individuals and societies.

Either there is the possibility of the most incredible, even indescribable, changing of the world that will bring peace.  If that does not happen, or till the time it happens, there is hope in slowing down the contradictions.  What does it mean to slow down the contradictions?

Irretrievably gone as a result is a unifying worldview, be it religious or scientific, and what ensues is its fragmentation into incompatible value spheres. Weber, for instance, observed: “since Nietzsche, we realize that something can be beautiful, not only in spite of the aspect in which it is not good, but rather in that very aspect” [Weber 1919/1946, 148]. (from the page, Max Weber, Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy)

Slowing down contradictions for peace

It is controlling how fast one responds.  The way we have our systems set up today with the hyper-efficient communication, it is a great disadvantage to give into reactionary sentimentality.  It is harmful to individuals, but much, much more so for societies and governments.  There are differences among mankind that threaten the continuation and even the pursuit of peace.  What are these fundamentally based upon?

These are essentially based on the distinction between right and wrong.  Could we perhaps see things in matters beyond Good and Evil, or as Russell writes in Why I am not a Christian: “I am not for the moment concerned with whether there is a difference between right and wrong, or whether there is not: that is another question. The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: “Is that difference due to God’s fiat or is it not? If it is due to God’s fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good….”  In the same book, he also expresses his appreciation for Christ’s specific teaching on judgment this way: “Then there is another point which I consider excellent. You will remember that Christ said, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” That principle I do not think you would find was popular in the law courts of Christian countries. I have known in my time quite a number of judges who were very earnest Christians, and none of them felt that they were acting contrary to Christian principles in what they did.”

The point of these quotations is to show that there are fundamental differences existing not only about the understanding of right and wrong but also about spiritual teachings and practical living of mankind.  For reasons of being physical and dependent on the material, we are not capable of fulfilling the great spiritual teachings we have from men like Christ.  Even if in ourselves we may find the resolve, we surely would not find the world of mankind to be conducive to such thinking.

Having established to ourselves the futility of arguing and trying to change other peoples’ thinking what we are left with is the need for peace and one very real possibility.  The possibility is in slowing down the contradictions.  We cannot altogether avoid disturbances, nor can we abolish the contradictions that exist within our societies; maybe to a much greater extent, we can lessen the contradictions within our own selves.  The possibility for the latter cannot be by adding more knowledge, but it can be through a simplifying of what one’s goals and objectives are.

Great, wise men of old in religion and philosophy found madness through excessive learning.  We too, collectively are destining ourselves for such madness by the addiction to information.  However, we can avert such a disaster, if we remember that what we all, yes all, eventually need is peace.  Even if we know that contradictions exist and those cannot be eliminated, when confronted by such, we can at least slow down our reactions.  This way, we can maintain peace.

 

WooCommerce