All living things must seek resources to survive. When an organism consumes the resource of another, it is able to survive and reproduce. The deprived and frustrated organism either reluctantly yields the resource, aggressively reclaims it, or begins to defend it. These dynamics are metaphor for war.
The roots of human aggression lie in DNA, which programs both competitive and cooperative behaviors. Both behaviors enhance increased probability of transmission of DNA to successive generations. Human peace or conflict seems to be the result of DNA’s slight modification in each generation. To perpetuate itself, DNA creates trial branches of human neurology, which result in trial branches of human behavior. Although tyrants and criminals continue to grasp for power and control by any means necessary, there is promising evidence that violence is gradually declining over time.
Can we actively create a more just, less violent world? Conflict prevention could begin with a look at human personality development:
· We seek attention, self-promotion, visibility, and personal power. Let us demonstrate our humanity by pursuing the rights and well-being of others.
· We deem others inferior, thus we abuse, neglect, and exploit them. Let us gain and express maturity, responsibility, accountability, and respect for others.
· We use fear and coercion to influence others and to gather followers. Let us initiate and encourage compassion and empathy.
· We act with reckless impulsivity and impunity despite harm to others. Let us condemn the immorality of violence.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated, ‘More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars.’ In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated, ‘Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need is for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence.’
War is never the best solution. Its very destructiveness to all belligerents has rendered it useless as a method of settling disputes. We must apply logic and reason to evolve peaceful alternatives to war. Conflict can be prevented if its root causes are identified and eliminated. Changes in attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors will elevate humanity. Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time.
The world is now our nation. All humankind is now our family. It is time for us to reject revenge, aggression and retaliation. It is time for us to embrace a philosophy of truth, justice, cooperation, and nonviolence.