The first piece of my Jigsaw: Peace.
I had cause to explore the concept of “Peace” recently and run an event on that theme. I ordered a peace-dove stamper, some CND bunting, a UN flag and I set off into the internet to find out all about Peace. I also looked into what the Bible had to say about Peace.
What do you think peace is?
There are two main types of peace, I think.
Firstly there is a kind of peace of omission – there is peace when there is an absence of war and conflict – be that at international or local or family level.
Secondly, there is a kind of sense or mood or feeling –that someone is at peace when they feel relaxed and unhurried – when nothing is pressing on them and they can be quiet and happy.
How can peace be achieved?
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
I like this quote. It suggests that humanity has the capacity to achieve peace, but our individual and collective selfishness and warped priorities preclude peace.
In this scenario, for there to be peace, peace needs to be willed on all sides; by putting ones own agenda/gripe/priorities to one side, peace can/could be achieved.
But should there be peace, if it requires putting one’s own agenda to the side?
Seventy years ago, Nazi Germany made an attempt to break into British airspace. If the fighter pilots of the Spitfires had just let the invasion happen, would there have been peace in Britain? No. The ideology of Nazism is/was such that for people to stand by and allow their own agendas to be hijacked would perhaps result in political peace – when peace is simply an absence of war – but there would have been no peace for individuals.
Still thinking about Lennon’s quote, the will to make peace has to involve everyone on all sides simultaneously – for the result to be peace for all. I think he was saying that if everyone wanted it, we could have it.
Looking at the world today, we can clearly see that plenty of people don’t want peace, and soldier on with their agendas, be they laudable or toxic. Plenty of people are willing to risk everything to find peace.
So we need a better basis for thinking about Peace that John Lennon and his television idea, much as I liked it.