Peace on Earth?
In a World of Fear, Can You Be Brave and Listen with Curiosity
I know a lot of extraordinary people - really intelligent, successful, kind, funny, loving people.
I’m lucky that way.
When it comes to politics, some of them support the current administration. Some of them don’t.
In both cases though, they’re adamant.
I’m adamant too.
My political beliefs are steeped in my values, in my desires for my children, and in my hopes for the future. They’re worth fighting for. They’re worth standing up for and speaking out about. They’re worth leaning in and being uncomfortable.
We all want the world to be a safer, better, more peaceful place.
But in that pursuit - the pursuit to make the world a better place - we’ve gotten sidetracked.
From both sides, the conversations have degraded into public shouting matches filled with name-calling, finger pointing, and all too often, misinformation.
We’ve begun to police one another’s thoughts by invalidating the opinions of our “enemies”, and in some cases, even forbidding those opinions to enter the dialog.
And it’s getting worse.
Traditional media sources like television, radio, and newspapers are increasingly playing to their own target markets giving us each more of the same rather than challenging us to expand beyond our own experiences, understanding and preferences.
Our social media and internet news feeds have algorithms that, by design, only feed us what we apparently like.
Americans are afraid.
And fear is a tricky thing. It overrides reason and common sense. It pushes empathy aside. It feeds on itself and it grows. Under the heavy blanket of fear, we will choose poorly.
Peace on the other hand, comes from understanding, and understanding can only come from free thought, free speech, and open discourse. To understand we must do more than take sides.
We must listen with curiosity.
We must respect that all values come from an innate desire to do right and to protect those we love.
Peace is a different kind of zero-sum game. Unless it is shared by all, it is experienced by none.
Let there be peace on earth.
Some thoughts to contemplate this week….
“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.”
~ John F. Kennedy
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
~ Albert Einstein
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If you want to end the war then Instead of sending guns, send books. Instead of sending tanks, send pens. Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers.”
~ Malala Yousafzai (17 year-old Noble Peace Laureate)
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.”
~ Dalai Lama XIV
“The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.”
~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
“Anxiety is the illness of our age. We worry about ourselves, our family, our friends, our work, and our state of the world. If we allow worry to fill our hearts, sooner or later we will get sick.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Security is mostly superstition. It doesn’t exist in nature nor do we as human beings experience it. Avoiding the danger of life is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”
“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower