Canadian Centres for
"What is Peace to You?" Guestbook
THE "WHAT IS
PEACE TO YOU?"
Introduction by Bob Stewart
I have been told by some people that achieving peace by the year 2020 is not a believable goal, that we must get more focussed, and that peace is not a quantifiable entity - it is a spiritual state. Peace means many different things to many different people. This is why I wanted to have a guest book on our web site to ask our visitors "What does Peace mean to you?" and "What are your Ideas?", to be available for public view. Private comments can be channelled through the feedback form.
I would like to start the guest book off by giving a brief explanation of what I mean by Peace, a term which has been in and out of favour over the years. A typical definition of Peace is 'the absence of violence'.
"First, I am not talking about the Utopian Peace and Tranquility of the Spiritual State, which I think comes to many minds when you mention Peace - that discussion, while interesting, would throw us off track in this process. I would like to tell you about what I call my "2020 Vision":
Getting more focus is the heart of the matter, and something I have grappled with for some years - how to get the point across in simple, understandable fashion. One purpose of the web site is to create the dialogue to better develop the focus (or should I say 'focusses'). The perceived problem currently is that there is not sufficient focus within the 4 levels discussed (i.e. individual level, family level, community level, and world level), or integration-wise.
The "Peace Problem" is described as one of the most complex scientifically (I have had discussions with individuals who can describe the matter and processes in the scientific jargon [an eventual web link]). Suffice to say, the interrelationships and causal effects are almost of exponential proportions. But this does not mean we can not develop focus - but we must get this "scientific understanding". The web site should facilitate this.
Having said this, therefore, the most important focus of the web site is "FOCUS". I have questions, you have questions, we all have questions - we need some answers, theories, things to try in the meantime, something to drive us, and a vision of where we want to go. On the way, there are some specific measurable things that maybe we can agree upon (for example, reducing violence in the media, developing an "immunization program" - it is not as silly as you may think, etc.).
About 25 years ago, the World Health Organization, Rotary
International and others had a vision to eradicate polio from the face of the earth by the
year 2005. Within the next 7 years that goal will be achieved. I feel the eradication of
war is a believable goal (say as believable right now as when the vision of Polio Plus was
established or when John F. Kennedy spoke in Congress of his goal to land a man on the
moon and return him safely to home with a decade). War is quantifiable - there are
organizations that track the number of armed conflicts happening in the world and
categorize them (for example, there have been more wars, as defined, since WWII than
before, see http://www.tcs.k12.oh.us/webspace/dwells/
I disagree with those who say peace is not a quantifiable entity. World peace can be quantified in the manner that I indicate above. Community peace can be similarly quantified in terms of violent incidents. For example, the City of New York is reporting a decrease in violence - therefore it can be considered more at peace now than before (everything, including Peace, is relative and not absolute). It may similarly be possible to say that there is "community peace" while there may be, for example, a handful of violent events, say less than x number per 100,000 population. Again, my management training says that "If you can not measure it, you can not manage it". If you say we can not measure Peace, then we can not manage it, then we can give up right now - and that would be wrong. Further, Family Peace can be measured in terms, for example, of incidents of family abuse. Individual Peace may be measured in terms of suicides, accident rates, etc. Finally, I believe all of these are interconnected - i.e. the eradication of war, if that is possible (and I would like to hear the experts on this - it really depends on where we set our tolerances) will be achieved with the change of attitudes and behaviours at the individual level on a world-wide scale only now imaginable (and possible with the Internet and globalization).
Peace, to me, is a significantly reduced number of violent incidents to individuals, families, communities and in the world. Today there are far too many, in a relatively abundant world. We must act now to ensure it does not get worse. Peace, to me, is a relatively safe and healthy individual, family, community and world. Definitely achievable by 2020."
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