Thursday, November 28, 2013

Give Peace A Chance

This is the final entry in a six part series in which I'm going to try to assume various personas, some of which I understand, and some of which I don't, in order to write from that point of view. Today I'll be playing the part of a pacifist writing an op-ed in his college paper.
(Dreaming of a better world)
The world frustrates me.  No...that's not exactly right - the world itself is a beautiful place.  The sunrises, the waterfalls, the sheer majesty of its splendor...its awesome power can captivate the soul.  Rather than the world, what frustrates me are the people that are in it and the violence most seem to revel in.

I've never understood the proclivity for conflict.  Okay, sure - I see where it occurred in our more primitive past when survival was understood as the hoarding of resources, but as we began to cooperate, this should have fallen to the wayside.  The taking of resources now is counterproductive as it eliminates a whole host of expertise that could contribute to the greater good.

We kill each other at record rates, from the micro level of single person homicides to the macro level of national war.  Quickly prone to anger, we have so much trouble settling our differences without violence at a personal level.  The slightest perceived wrong can set off a fight, and that can soon turn to murder.  On a global scale, nations compete to see who has a bigger set of genitals and don't mind throwing away countless innocent lives on things that don't matter in the cosmic scale of time.  Think about it - can anyone here tell me the benefits gains following the 30 Year War in Europe a few centuries ago?

It's this waste as to why I cannot understand why someone would willingly sign up to shed blood or die for their country.  I see these machismo Soldiers strutting around and wonder what they get out of it.  Does the taking of life make them feel good?  Does sacrificing themselves for nebulous and soon forgotten national interests somehow help them feel fulfilled?

I haven't been in a fight since I was six.  That's not to say I haven't been mad or that no one has ever confronted me, but I've chosen to walk away rather than escalate the conflict.  Yes, some may call me a wimp, but they're the ones who are truly weak.  It takes strength to walk away from violence and not indulge in the anger that rises so quickly.  I've taken my share of sucker punches, but I believe in turning the other cheek, because I know that giving in to violence only begets more violence.  When I refuse to engage, the other person soon loses interest, and the conflict ends.

We should have advanced beyond this by now.  Our intellect and compassion have evolved beyond the primitive instincts that used to rule us.  When we ignore our new status in the world, we hold mankind back from coming together.  Sure, we will always have differences, but we have to learn to tame our violent impulses and find compromise, even accepting sometimes that we can't always get our way.

When someone confronts you, walk away.  De-escalate the situation any way you can, even if that means foregoing your pride, for each time we succumb to violence, we contribute to the debasement of humanity and the abandonment of mercy and compassion in this world.  What's wrong with getting along, and what's wrong with walking away when faced with a fight?  Only when we accept this new way of thinking about our place in the world can we bring peace to everyone and move forward as one.

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