Although generally defined as the absence of conflict, ‘peace’ is a relative, comparative state—fluid, dynamic, and observer-dependent. Baruch Spinoza wrote that peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, and justice.
Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes the most serious threat to international peace and security. Extremists aim to deprive people of the opportunity to determine their own future and achieve lasting peace and stability. Our world is today divided between those who embrace peace and those who would destroy it; between those who look to human development and those who are locked in oppressive power relationships; and between those who open their arms and those who still clench their fists.
‘Peace hath her victories no less renowned than war,’ wrote poet John Milton to the Lord General Cromwell in 1652. Despite news media sensationalism, violence has decreased over time. This is because DNA, with slight modification in each successive generation, has created trial branches of human neurology. The experimental neural pathways with attendant less-aggressive behaviors have favored the survivability, replicative potential, and perpetuation of DNA.
Albert Einstein wrote that peace cannot be kept by force—it can only be achieved by understanding. Unless the root causes of a conflict are effectively addressed, peace will be temporary. Peace studies focus on conflict analysis, conflict management, conflict transformation, nonviolent sanctions, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, peace enforcement, social and economic justice, causes and conduct of war, and international and domestic security.
Conflict arises from ignorance, intolerance, and misunderstanding. Peace arises from wisdom, tolerance, and understanding. Translate your compassion into peaceful actions on behalf of others. Attempt to create and sustain cooperative, harmonious relationships in every aspect of your life.