Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Need for Peace and means to Peace

What are the root causes of conflict and war in the world? What causes conflict? Or what are the causes of conflict/conflicts? How conflict arises? How to prevent or pre-empt conflict? Can conflict resolution be permanent or temporary? Can wrong emotion be corrected by correct thinking? What is correct or right thinking? What are the fundamental and basic causes of evil in the world? Is evil metaphysical? Is there one concept of evil or many conceptions of evil? How to develop right thinking individually and collectively? In human life peace is natural. War is made. In human history, conflict and war has been there in human societies. Therefore, the logical question is: is conflict inevitable? Every normal human being longs for peace. All living beings are inter-connected and interdependent on one another. Thus, peace can greatly overweight against conflict and war. Quality education, prosperity and justice for all should be goal of every society. Right thinking should be part of the educational curriculum throughout the world. Teaching of ethics should be compulsory everywhere.
Spirituality should replace dogmatic religions. The moral values of all religions should be preserved. For the good of all, there should be mutual co-operation, mutual support and mutual respect. As all living beings have a common source, we all should endeavour to develop fraternal feeling for all. All the ancient wisdom from any corner of the world should be disseminated for the benefit of all human beings in the spirit of sharing and caring for one another. I may refer to the wisdom of ancient Indian thinkers who propagated the vital idea of the well-being of the total cosmos. According to these thinkers references have been made in the Vedas. The basic objective of human behaviour including that of any social organization and the political activities of the state should be directed towards the general good and general well-being of all living beings. This ideal of conduct and thought I quote as,
“Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free from disease, Let everyone experience the good and the noble; let no one meet with suffering”.
Let us begin by exploring the fundamental questions: What causes conflict? How does it arise? And can we prevent or pre-empt it? Conflict is an inherent part of human history, woven into the fabric of societies across time. But why? The root causes are multifaceted:
Resource Scarcity: Competition for limited resources ~ be it land, water, or energy ~ often fuels conflict. Scarce resources can trigger tensions between communities, regions, or nations.
Power Struggles: As humans, we seek power and influence. Political, economic, and social power imbalances can lead to conflict when one group seeks dominance over another.
Identity and Ethnicity: Differences in identity ~ whether ethnic, religious, or cultural ~ can create divisions. When these differences are exploited, conflict erupts.
Historical Grievances: The weight of history ~ unresolved grievances, colonial legacies, and past injustices ~ can ignite conflict.
Is conflict inevitable? While it may seem so, our collective longing for peace suggests otherwise. Conflict resolution is our pathway to a more harmonious world. But can it be permanent? The answer lies in our commitment to sustainable solutions:
Dialogue and Mediation: Open dialogue and skilled mediation can bridge divides. We must engage in conversations that seek common ground and mutual understanding.
Education and Awareness: Quality education is a powerful tool. By teaching conflict resolution skills, empathy, and tolerance, we empower future generations to choose peace over violence.
Ethics and Spirituality: Let us transcend dogmatic boundaries. Spirituality, devoid of rigid doctrines, can foster compassion, forgiveness, and interconnectedness.
Allow me to draw from the wisdom of ancient Indian and Chinese thinkers. Their vision transcended borders, emphasizing the well-being of the entire cosmos. The Vedas, ancient texts, echo their ideals:
“Let everyone be happy, let everyone be free from disease, Let everyone experience the good and the noble; let no one meet with suffering.”
According to ancient Chinese philosopher peace cannot be established and preserved by imposing an order or forced stability on diverse groups of people. But by respecting and giving proper attention to all diversities. In other words, from the Confucian perspective, an enduring peace can be attained not by imposition of an ideal order on society, but by being accommodative and tolerant to all types of people thereby everyone has something positive to contribute to the society and the world.
Peace is a state of flourishing and long term development constituted and contributed by multiple diverse and competing groups. As stewards of this planet, we share a common source of existence. Our actions ripple across borders, affecting all living beings. Therefore, let us:
Cooperate and Support: Mutual cooperation and support can replace conflict. Together, we can build a world where prosperity and justice are not mere aspirations but lived realities.
Preserve Moral Values: Regardless of faith, let us preserve the moral values embedded in our religions. These values guide us toward compassion, kindness, and justice.
Fraternal Feeling: Extend a fraternal feeling to all. Recognize our interconnectedness and work toward the well-being of every being.
In the pursuit of peace, we must be relentless. Let us disseminate ancient wisdom, embrace ethical education, and replace dogma with spirituality. As we strive for the general good and well-being, may our actions echo the timeless words of the Vedas: “Let everyone be happy”.
Xavier P Mao, Professor, Department of Philosophy, NEHU, Shillong-793022, India

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