I love peaceniks - the promoters, purveyors and winners of peace. I celebrate the Nobel Peace Prize with each annual laureate. Yet, deep down, I know peace to be a philosophical fraud. As an ideal, it is invaluable for the individual and the world. That, however, does not in any way mean it is worth half the effort we expend on it as societies.
To my mind, peace is a lull, a period of stagnation, like upon the surface of a pond. A river, though, is not a peaceful thing, because it is always hurrying downstream over rocks, rapids and falls. Ocean shores, on the other hand, are presumed to be places of repose and peace, because their constant ebbs and flows express certainty, repetition and predictability.
Such is a facade that fools the feeble-minded. In their hurry to appear sophisticated, they flock to beaches to seek for peace, in total disregard of the truism that wherever you go, there you are. What peace, I say!
In kind, peace is absence of conflict, strife or disconcerting endeavour. It is acceptance of one's situation, of one's weaknesses and subjugation, or the attainment of a mental ideal. Normally, it is never the weak man that seeks peace. It usually is the strong that promote peace. Because, when peace reigns, the strong rein, and the weak suffer.
But you cannot claim peace if and when that peace is won for you by default - by the stronger ignoring the weaker. Those in ascendancy and in power will sing the praises of peace, until the weak ones take it for a good thing. They praise peace because it promotes their purposes, and as such, is in their own interest. The peace I can invest in is the peace of the weak man; the peace of the downtrodden, which can only be credentialed by the ending of weakness, and the absolute rise of equality.
Surprisingly, the strong man, the endowed man, the rich and powerful man, society or nation will never rest in peace until his or its needs are met. Not until their ambitions are fulfilled. No; not until they get what they must. And the permutations of effort, trial, pacification, treaty, trade, war, annihilation or subterfuge they apply to attain their aims are always such as that disturb the highly vaunted peace.
Credit the resilience of the enduring human spirit for the glory of its hope and the vitality of its dreams, because the wake of the strong is a rancid paean to devastation and desolation. The strong man wreaks harm and horror in the pursuit of his victory. The strong man wins peace at the expense of the weak.
Let me think of it as this: If somebody sought air in the African Savannah, would that be a real pursuit? If you can have peace by doing nothing, and allowing everyone else to do as they deem pleasant, is that really a fair exchange? No.
Societies have peace that are constantly in flux, in self doubt, in an unremitting pursuit of purpose, and in the constant search for meaning. Societies have peace that promise it to all and grant it to all, fairly equally.
Societies win peace by overcoming their challenges and obstacles, by winning their freedoms and exercising them - not by decrees, defeat or silence.
The man is not sincere who advises a poor, hungry and denied compatriot to observe peace. Such advice is fraudulent, because the poor, hungry, and dispossessed man has no peace - he has serious and powerful needs stacked against him.
Indeed, why should such a person be peaceful at all? Who has peace of mind in the presence of hunger, disease, ignorance and poverty? What is peace without opportunity?
Therefore, it is a waste of time pursuing peace, without providing tangible opportunities for each man, according to their desires and hopes. Ultimately, the opportunities available to each man are what will assure societal peace; the chance to live a life after one's own heart; the freedom to live life to the fullness of one's hungers for expression, is the only bulwark of human peace.
Doubtlessly, such free choice will result in some man here or somewhere else oversimplifying their perceptions of freedom, and infringing on the sensibilities and preferences of others. Such fluky exceptions being always in the minority, affirm the conclusion that this pursuit of talents, this uninhibited granting of choices, is the right path ahead.
There really cannot be peace without every person claiming the capacity to win and keep it. Humanity would demand that we address all our personal and communal needs fervently, and afford for all of us the promises of peace, but not necessarily ask men and women to uphold a peace that is absent and unreachable to them.
Whenever citizens are weak and dispossessed, poor and uncatered for, their peace is false. Theirs is no peace at all.
'My Price' is a series of articles about my values as a man, and my views about some of humanity's most important ideas. The articles are not arranged in any order, and address issues as they will occur to me on my journey of life. While I may quote other people or rely on their advice, what I write here is my commission. I hope my price will be a price worth paying.