Friday, December 24, 2010

A Message of Peace & Hope

Peace is its own reward.
Mohandas Gandhi

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
Jimi Hendrix

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4

Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.
The Talmud, Mishna Sanhedrin

Symbol of Peace: Logo of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), designed by Gerald Holtom in 1958, which became a widespread peace symbol
Credit: Gerald Holtom

The end of the year and the Holiday Season is a time of reflection for many of us. We reflect on what we have and what we do not have. My desires are that simple.Like many others, I join the chorus of people around the world who yearn for more peace, justice and hope in the world. Some of these views are delineated in a previous blog essay: A Decent Proposal.

One of the greatest, if not the greatest, problems (evils) besetting humanity are wars and military conflicts. My views on war are known: see War Stories. Currently, more than two dozen wars or conflicts are continuing in the world, reports, including the major wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

That has been the way humans have behaved for thousands of years, ever since we have kept records of wars and conflicts. The reasons are as many and varied as they are foolish and self-regarding. I sense that very few wars in recorded history can be classified as just and necessary. Yet, they persist, like cancer.

In short, humanity has witnessed thousands of conflicts in the last 5,000 years, reports Small wonder that some people become cynical, skeptical or just plain tired of the way the world is spinning.  Although such views are understandable, I remain hopeful of small incremental changes. And such explains the sum total of my writings.

And like many other ordinary people, the billions that make up the world's majority, I have no power to change things in any large way, but only in a small way. Such is in our power, to make change in small ways, to make the world around us a better place. We can do it at home, at work, in our community, with everyone we encounter, by design or by chance.

Mural of Peace: At the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C. Mural by Gari Melchers (1862–1932).
Photo Credit: Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain, 2007.
Source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-highsm-02246 (original digital file), uncompressed archival TIFF version (50 MB)
It matters little what religious views you hold, or don't hold. My hope is that humanity does not allow religious or ideological views to become a destructive point of contention or cause divisiveness among family, friends and the surrounding community. Beliefs and faith can do much good for humanity when they bring people together. They have the opposite effect, though, when it leads to strife and contention.

Some questions to consider. Is it not possible for individuals to hold views without the need to impose them on others? Can we not look at the many things that we share in common? Is it not better to build than destroy?

We are all humans, after all is said and done, and share too many things in common to allow animus, resentment and hatred to take hold of us.

Peace can be built by taking small measures to connect with people. For example, the newest communication technologies, like this one, can do just that. They build bridges, links and bind people and communities together. It's true that some of the links are weak, but they can eventually become strong. It will take love. It will take work to overcome the fear to build a lasting trust. It will take great hope and a strong belief in peace.

My hope is for everyone to have a peaceful and good holiday


  1. Debbie Burns - HarpinJanuary 4, 2011 at 10:16 AM

    I couldn't have said that better myself..........
    I think back to a time in my early childhood where demonstrations were taken place for peace and love. I was young but not young enough not to understand the happy faces I was seeing. People were more relaxed, not in such a rush to have precious moments pass them by.
    It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up -- that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.
    My brother taught me to always have a vision...
    Where there is no vision, there is no hope.

  2. Thank you, Debbie, for the comments. Well said. I also remember the time as more relaxed, more fun.


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