Thursday, March 9, 2017

Peace

This weeks topic is Peace. The absence of conflict. Wikipedia says "a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence."  It sounds simple yet history shows it to be nearly unattainable. An Impossible Dream of sorts.



There is a line in the song -"to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause." History is full of conflicts fought in the name of one god or another.  The Crusades saw Christians 
attacking Islam. We live in a world marked by terrorist attacks from a radical sect of Islam against the West. 

There have been wars fought between nations sharing common religions - so clearly religion is not a cure all for conflict. Christianity is split between Catholics and Protestants. Islam has Shia and Sunnis. Ireland and its troubles show how violent conflict between Catholic and Protestants can be and our incursion into Iraq showed the schism between Sunni and Shiites.

Pick a period in history and at best you might find the occasional peaceful region. Per Wikipedia,  the longest continuing period of peace among currently existing states is observed in Sweden, which has had peace since 1814 (for 203 years; if Swedish participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Libya is not considered) after its loss of major parts of the country to Russia in the Napoleonic wars. Swedish peace may partly be explained by its geographical position, partly by non-participation in military alliances during peacetime, resulting in a certain level of Swedish neutrality during wartime, and partly by the periods of relative peace in Europe and the world known as Pax Britannica (1815-1914) and Pax Europaea/Pax Americana (since 1950s).
Other examples of long periods of peace are:

That is not a particularly impressive record for humanity's time on this third rock from the sun. And with more nations reaching for their own version of the brass ring. More changes. The stage is set for additional conflict. Global resources are shrinking and - for whatever reason - the global climate is changing. We have the capacity to eliminate life on the planet with nuclear weapons so clearly it is in our best interest to keep working on the peace process. The answer has to be out there somewhere.


I am essentially an optimist and expect things to work out although the current polarization in politics here does have me worried a bit - especially when the chief advisor to our new president has a stated goal of destroying the administrative state. But that is a topic for another day. Me? I will continue commenting on things, and listening to music that matters to me while I watch my 7-year old grandson does  little boy stuff with reckless abandon.


That's a quick shack take on the topic Ramana gave us this week. Be sure to check the other LBC folf for their takeon the topic - Ramana  Pravin and Maria

3 comments:

  1. Many historians consider post WW II times to be the most peaceful despite all the strife that we see around us. Here is one article http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/21/stu-burguiere/fewer-wars-fewer-people-dying-wars-now-quite-some/

    Steven Pinker's TED talk is even more specific - https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence

    We live in interesting times!

    My take is at the microlevel focusing on being peaceful at the individual level.

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    1. In the absence of global conflict (ie WWII) the norm is regional conflicts - the trick being to prevent the regional conflicts rom escalating into a global conflict. Interesting times indeed. In fact things are about as peaceful as we can expext them to ever be IMHO

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  2. Years ago an L.A. major TV network station broadcast regular editorial statements. One delivered by a national newsman was most informative and wish I could access it now. As I recall it stirred quite a bit of controversy. The newsman went down the line with all the wars either started by or revolving around religion. I strongly support not allowing the situation of 9/11 be turned into a jihad. Unfortunately, IMHO there are some nations leaders interested in fomenting that scenario and I think it's entirely possible ours is one of them.
    Peace is a never-ending goal.

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