Quora – Do you accept the paradox, ‘if you want world peace, you have to fight for it’?

Quora – Do you accept the paradox, ‘if you want world peace, you have to fight for it’?


Agree with Peter Tatford.

Fight here has at least two very different classes of meanings, as does peace.

Peace can be the absence of physical threat of harm, and can also mean an absence of conflict of any sort.

The sort of world peace I am working for is the absence of physical threat sort.

I am all for a contest of ideas, and a diversity of being.

I love the practice of trying out different ideas to see which ones actually work, but not by dying in the process.

So fighting in the sense of doing physical harm to a person is off limits. That sort of peace is required to allow for the development of a level of complexity of ideas (which can be potentially infinitely diverse in many different dimensions).

In this sense, there must be a contest of ideas in every individual mind.

In this sense, those of us committed to such a path must be prepared to forego some things in the now to achieve outcomes in the longer term. In that sense, we battle in the realm of ideas, we work, we sacrifice, we go deeply within to learn how to limit the worst of the dangers of our own demons, and to train our more creative powers to work for the common good as well as our own. Anyone who has spent any significant effort on that path knows it is a fight in many very real senses of the word.

There is no potential end to the levels at which such effort must be expended.

So in this sense, of putting in a lot of time and effort at multiple levels, it is definitely a fight; and it is one that has all agents survive the contest, and all be changed by it. That is the only sort of peace that actually seems to work in reality, and there does not seem to be any end to the journey – reality and possibility do in fact seem to be that complex.

And of course there are other senses of peace that some apply to the process; the work to create an inner sense of acceptance of all that is. That one I find a bit problematic, as if taken too far it becomes self terminating as it is no longer able to respond appropriately to changes of context. And there is certainly a sense in which one must accept what is, even as one strives to create what might become (and that applies at all levels). That distinction does seem to be important.

So in this recursive sense the ancients seemed to be onto something in their notion of the virtue of the mean; where virtue lies in a context sensitive “space” between the vices of excess and deficiency. In this sense, any attribute can be virtue or vice, depending upon how much of it is present in any particular context. Like all tools, the tool itself is neutral, it is what we do with it in each specific context that matters. This seems to apply at all levels from the physical, to behaviours, to more intellectual abstractions, to the deepest realms of strategy. In this sense, peace cannot ever be a static thing, but is an ever changing and contextually sensitive art of balance in all things by all agents.

In this sense it is probably relevant to consider the biblical phrase “the meek shall inherit the earth”. The word translated from Greek to English as “meek” had the meaning of a fully armed and trained soldier who kept his weapons sheathed in all but the most extreme of situations. That is a rather different definition from how “meek” is understood by most today. That sense of meek, of internal control of powers honed by deep effort, is not one commonly understood or practiced today. It is one that is essential to any sort of stable peace, at any level.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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