The first day of classes were always both exciting
(no homework!) and filled with annoying repetition. The professors wanted you to introduce yourself to the class, giving your name, major, and an “interesting” tidbit that would set you apart from the person next to you. Every once in a while the professor would add a question like, “And why are you here?” hoping to get a response besides, “Because I need this class to fulfill my gen eds, duh!”
But there was one first class that always seemed to cross my mind, leaving all the others behind. It was the first day of my Justice & Peace course. We had to write out our name, preferred name, phone number, and email just like any other class. But, then she wrote a question on the board and asked us to give our honest opinion on that same paper.
The question was, “Do you think we will ever have world peace?”
I can’t remember if we voiced our answers to this question, but I’m pretty sure she wanted to base some of our discussions around what we wrote. I’m sure she knew that most of the class was skeptical about the idea of world peace. And in her lectures I could see that she was trying to convince us of its possibilities. It was obvious that she believed in the concept, but even after I completed her course, I couldn’t say the same.
How does one define “peace” anyway? Well, based on Merriam-Webster, the first definition is:
- a state of tranquility or quiet: as
a : freedom from civil disturbance
b : a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom
Even though there’s a definition in the dictionary for peace, I believe the term is subjective. Some people may see peace as a paradise where no one ever fights or gets into arguments, while others might think of it as simply no more wars or senseless killing. It differs from person to person.
Heck, for all we know, Hitler could have wanted
his definition of peace by striving for a world of blonde haired, blue eyed people.
The idea of world peace is an escalation of one’s personal idea of peace. That same person who sees peace as “no more wars or senseless killing” is no longer talking about the streets of Baltimore, for instance, but the entire world.
In my mind, world peace would be countries (and people, as a whole) working together in harmony, without war or conflict, to come to agreements. I see it as a world where, despite our individual thoughts and ideals, we are connected in the fact that we are completely opposed to violent actions against our fellow man. Disagreements would be solved without bloodshed and everyone would have happiness.
With all that being said, I can’t imagine us ever getting to that point. Why? Because history has shown us that the pursuit of peace creates violence. And violence creates more violence.
Peace is like a crisp, clean ocean and violence is like the oil that pollutes it. It’s hard to get to peace once violence corrupts it.
Just think, most wars are the result of people wanting some form of peace. Whether it’s peace from the people threatening to seize and conquer their land or peace from the financial crisis that their country is facing.
The sad thing is, there are plenty of people who advocate peaceful methods of solving problems, but it doesn’t take much to turn it into violence. I’ll use Martin Luther King, Jr. as an example. Despite, his dreams of brotherhood and peace between races, he was still shot to death for it. Now that’s not to say that he didn’t bring about change through his peaceful methods. Quite the contrary, actually. It just shows that there will always be people out there who’d rather resort to violence than strive for peace.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”-Martin Luther King, Jr.
Those people who the average person deems crazy, evil, and corrupt aren’t going to just disappear from existence. And neither will those people who can rationalize the violent acts they’re responsible for like killing their wife (because they thinks “she’s turning the children against him”) or starting a war (“for the sake of their religion”).
Now, here’s some questions for you:
What is your definition of world peace? Do you think it’s obtainable? And if you do, do you think it will last?
*All Images from Google