Beanery Online Literary Magazine

March 20, 2008


—Joe F. Stierheim

In one’s approach to the problem of a lack of peace, mindset is important. There is a need for a broader definition of peace. As far as being an advocate for peace in the human condition, to be “anti-war” is self-limiting. The opposite of peace is not war. War is only one state of conditions. The opposite of peace is the absence of peace.

It could be called non-peace. Non-peace consists of a number of states of being, each of those caused by a variety of factors or sets of conditions. These factors include but are not limited to: economics, education, opportunity or lack thereof, religion, race, ethnicity, politics, culture, prejudice, status, real or perceived injustices, jealousy, perceived differences, morality/ethics, customs, greed, health, dignity, safety, oppression—in short, anything that could cause a feeling of separation of one group of people from another. Any set of conditions that is extremely out of balance could lead to war. It is important to correct any imbalance before such an extreme condition occurs.

There are remedies for each of the above factors or conditions and there are many individuals and organizations already in existence that have been and are actively involved with putting such remedies into effect.

No one individual or organization can solve the entire problem. And no peace group can, by itself, hope to bring peace to the world. But any group can be involved in being a part of the general approach to the solution.

What the direction of any group’s efforts should be and how they can best be carried out is a question that must be decided by that group. For the purpose of deciding what its efforts will be, a group should become aware of:
1. the nature of the problem in general
2. the various approaches and methods of addressing different aspects of the problem
3. efforts that are currently in place for addressing these aspects
4. the successes and failures of such efforts
5. other efforts that could be put in place

With this knowledge, the group can decide how to best channel its efforts to play a part in the overall effort. Nothing says that only one aspect of the overall problem should be addressed by the group. Several simultaneous efforts could be made by sub-groups of people in keeping with their particular interests and abilities. These several efforts by interested individuals working separately but together could serve to contribute to the overall vitality and health of the entire group.

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