Art

Do we preach peace and practice war?

In a world where everyone thinks that we preach peace but practice war, I somehow stand against this idea. Hard to believe? Yes, I agree, given the high levels of reported local and national inter-ethnic and intercultural violence and high levels of military preparedness for inter-state violence on every continent, , not only is the present portrayed as violent but the historical record is written as the story of conquest and war from earliest times. I strongly feel that the fact that most human activities revolve around raising and feeding families and organising the work of production and of meeting human needs, interspersed with times of feasting and celebration of human creativity in poetry, song, dance and art, does not show through in our media depictions. As a matter of fact, pervasive images of human aggression sap our confidence in the human capacity to create a peaceful international order as we move toward the twenty-first century. Let SNURL website show you the reality of what we as human beings have become.

Well, I won’t deny that humans are conflict-prone but in reality, the social ubiquity of conflict stems from the basic fact of human individuality and difference in the context of limited physical and social resources.

Now can we overcome that?

 

Aren’t we all different individuals with different thoughts and lifestyles? Conflict itself should not be confused with violence, which is taken here to mean the intentional harming of others for one’s own ends. The differences in wants, needs, perceptions and aspirations among individuals and among groups, stemming from individual uniqueness, require a constant process of conflict management in daily life at every level from the intrapersonal (each of us has many selves), the family and the community, to the international community. Do you know What keeps this unceasing process of conflict management largely peaceful?

Any guesses?

Well, the equally ubiquitous need of humans for one another, for social bonding and nurturing, without which no society could function becomes imperative in doing so.

This universal need for bonding can be thought of as the key to the survival of the human species. It is what draws humans toward negotiating with one another in the face of conflicting interests, needs, perceptions, whether in settings of family, neighbourhood, workplace or public institutions. And I think we all agree with that.

To put my point even more strongly I’d like to state that the historical fact of war and social violence tells us, however, that negotiation is not the only response to conflict.

Some societies tend toward the aggressive end of the continuum in their behaviours, others toward the integrative, with many societies falling somewhere in the middle. The historical reasons why different groups pattern their responses to conflict differently explains the difference in individuals. , but it is useful to remember that former warrior societies have been known to change and adopt more peaceful ways. It is also true that warrior societies of the past have all had images of living in peace. Now isn’t that something to ponder upon?

Ah, let’s talk about religion. Well, it was unmissable, wasn’t it?

The historical record on war/fighting, even if it greatly exaggerates the actual human experience of violence in everyday life, nevertheless makes clear that there are strong cultural values associated with physical dominance and conquest in both tribal and imperial societies. One of the strongest sources for the cultural legitimisation of war lies in the teachings of each of the major religions.

Yet for each of these same religions, there are strong teachings about dealing with differences through patience, forgiveness, reconciliation and love.

Now who comes up with that?

Aren’t we ourselves responsible for that one good thing?

Do you really think that on a deeper level we preach peace but practice war?

Well, I, for a fact, believe that we are all running after peace and in this fast life keep dodging whatever obstacles the possibilities of war throw at us.

 

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