peace - love - reason

Jill Of All Trades

Five Principles for Peace - A Personal and Philosophical Perspective

25.11.07 by literaghost

(The last of the Peace Studies assignments/musings.)

Enough "P" alliteration for you?)

Yes, I wrote another novel... The first two postulates are the longest, as they lay the foundation for the rest. If you can get through those, you should do fine. Good luck! :)

Summary: The first two postulates focus on personal responsibility and on interconnectedness. The last three focus on the principles of balance, strength, and flexibility. None of these alone will suffice; they need to be used together (interconnectedness); in addition, they are your own tools to monitor and use (personal responsibility).


1. Everything begins with yourself. You have the capacity to change the world for the better; everyone does. (Movements, after all, break down into individuals.) There is no excuse to wait for someone else to clear the path, whether it be a politician or a classmate ("If only they'd just pass that bill," "If only they'd just listen to me for once"...). Make the first move, and speak only for yourself - the first steps have to come from changes within yourself, not from changing other people. (Thus, this entire manifesto-type-deal is essentially my talking to myself. [Hello, there, self - how are you today? Had a nice break?] Feel free to adopt what ideas may strike a chord, but under no circumstances take this as "[Miz L.] telling me what to do.")

2. There is no "Other." There is no "They." The polarized mentality of "Us vs. Them" makes us that much more easily led into atrocities, whether it be of nationality, creed/religion/philosophy, economic status, sex and/or gender, or even profession. We can see this in the discussions leading up to wartime - and we can see it in ourselves. Whether we're blaming all our troubles on "terrorism," "society" (ex. - "the secularization of society," the militarism of society"), "the administration," or "the media" (ex. - "the mainstream media," "violent video games"), the fact is that finding something to scapegoat does nothing. Whether or not they actually have a factor in our problems, there is nothing they do that is without our agreement, explicit or implicit. It doesn't matter how much we complain, or what we're complaining about, if we still do nothing to change (see above point).
In addition, it is important to remember that despite our surface differences, we all come from the same source - whether it be the dust of the earth, or the same molecules that have cycled through different forms since the Big Bang. Every action has an effect, an equal and opposite reaction, no matter how small. Even if the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil doesn't set off a tornado in Texas, it at least shifts the atmosphere surrounding it. "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main [...] therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." There is no "other" - for we are the other.

3. In all things, maintain a sense of balance, moderation, and perspective. Passion and emotion are valuable; so are logic and keeping a cool head. It is important to reduce/minimize harmful emissions from transportation, but it is equally important to travel, and to explore other cultures and environments. Pay attention to your instincts, but don't let them rule you. Pick your battles, but don't give up the bus seat that would change the world. Choose wisely - is it really a big deal? Is it really harmless? Also remember, the "everything" in "everything in moderation" includes moderation.

4. Don't let yourself get burned out - but don't give in to cynicism or apathy. Achieving peace, especially positive peace, covers an enormous amount of issues. Just "staying informed" can be overwhelming. Rest when you need to ("everything in moderation..."); enjoy the life you have. Perhaps work on "inner peace" for a while. But don't give up, or stop caring. Dust yourself off and go at it again. Remember - you are never the only one. There's always someone else who feels overwhelmed, too - and, more importantly, there are always others who are working for the same goals. They're helping you; go help them.

5. There are no hard-and-fast rules...including these. People do have differences, and situations have differences. Stay flexible.

Lost? Confused? Might want to re-read the summary...

Not lost? Good for you! Please turn in a brief analytical summary on Wednesday. ;)

- [Miz. L.]


Ties in nicely with Thivai's post on the Yes! Magazine article.

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