People everywhere appear to be weary with the way things are in the world today. Presentday society is experiencing a profound breakdown and the minds of peoples of the world are in a state of utter confusion.
From the Black Sea to the Korean peninsula, from the Middle East to the China Seas, and from the Arctic to Indian oceans, our planet is manifesting the signs of an “angry beast”. There is so much violence and destruction everywhere. Age-old institutions are collapsing, traditional ways are being forgotten.
We are trapped within a matrix of our own creation, living in a world of anthropocentric fantasies and ignoring ecological realities. From polar vortex to la nina and el nino of the Pacific; earthquakes, floods, heat waves, excessive rainfall and droughts – such is the evidence of Mother Earth’s chastisement and fury. Sadly, no real lessons have been learnt from the Covid-19 pandemic – that the destinies of all who share the globe are intertwined. Let us be hopeful as another International Day of Peace has passed. Let all the memberstates of the United Nations take stock of the planet and make fresh commitments to build peace.
Humanity has the choice of reaching peace after unimaginable catastrophes or achieving it by an act of willingness. This would require “a complete reconceptualization of the relationships that sustain society”. The deepening environmental crisis, driven by a system that condones the pillage of natural resources to satisfy an insatiable thirst for more, suggests how entirely inadequate is the present conception of humanity’s relationship with nature. The deterioration of the home environment, with the accompanying rise in the systematic exploitation of women and children worldwide, makes clear how pervasive are the misbegotten notions that define relations within the family unit.
The persistence of despotism, on the one hand, and the increasing disregard for authority, on the other, reveal how unsatisfactory to a maturing humanity is the current relationship between the individual and the institutions of society.
The concentration of material wealth in the hands of a minority of the world’s population gives an indication of how fundamentally ill-conceived relationships between the many sectors of what is now an emerging global community are. Let us give peace a chance, let us project the peace within – the birthright of every woman, man, youth, and child – on to the world and facilitate the genuine participation of those traditionally excluded from conflict-resolution processes, whose voices are drowned by the din of war rhetoric and bomb explosions.
Let us move away from old ways of exercising power and authority to new forms of collective leadership, where even the last person in the social hierarchy would have an effective voice, where there would be no room for racism, casteism, communalism and everyone strives to exemplify the true spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, (the world is one family), and where the fruits of science and technology would complement the spiritual truths enshrined in the religious systems for the benefit the whole world.
Nations that develop such an ethos will prove to be the pillars of a world civilization – a civilization which will be the logical culmination of humanity’s society-building efforts over vast stretches of time and geography. Surely, every person has both the right and the responsibility to contribute to this historic and far-reaching, collective enterprise whose goal is nothing less than lasting peace, universal prosperity, and unity of humankind.
In his endorsement of such aspirations a former UN Secretary-General, wrote: “All of us who believe in fostering a culture of peace and non-violence have to spread the word among people who we know and to those who we have never met. We must multiply our efforts through social media. And we must be relentless in standing for our values – peace, human rights and respect for all people. We must connect the dots between climate change, water security, energy shortage, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.” What are some of the practical measures that we might undertake to foster peaceful living? Let us all endeavour to become peacemakers, use peaceful language, speak softly and gently. Look for the good in others.
If something they do hurts or annoys us, forgive them right away. Appreciate differences instead of making them a cause for prejudice or fighting. Other affirmative actions could include a conscious effort to feel and stay peaceful regardless of one’s circumstances.
It means practicing calmness, being grateful, cultivating a habit of prayer and meditation, doing Yoga. Sending peaceful vibrations would mean facing your fears and letting them go away; feeling the power of love, practicing justice, trusting that peaceful solutions exist. Avoiding junk food, alcohol and drugs, violent movies, and other vices, would strengthen our resolve for promoting peace.
In an age where all of us, most of the time, must fend for ourselves and are consumed by selfinterest, when social media and frivolous pursuits so easily sway the children and youth in the miasma of aggressive materialism, parents and teachers have a tremendous responsibility of assisting these youngsters in channelizing their energies for peaceful purposes.
When grown-ups practice peacefulness starting with peace in their homes and schools and workplaces a profound change in the society is inevitable. Peacefulness allows us to remain free of violence, free from prejudice, and safe from injustice. An immature person reacts impulsively but a mature adult behaves reflectively. When we are peaceful, all those who meet us are loved, respected, and treated fairly. Differences are viewed as benefits rather than as a cause for conflict.
The peace in our lives leads to peace in the world. Whenever a thought of hatred comes it would be overcome by a thought of love; when thoughts of war occur, these would be overcome by stronger thoughts of peace. World peace is not simply the responsibility of governments. Every inhabitant on the planet has a responsibility. No one ever really wins a war; peace is the way