It’s Not Peace We Want (right now)…

In today’s climate, with war raging and tensions rising in the middle-east, the Ukraine, South Sudan, Iran, Syria, Korea, Iraq (to name a few), we have a heard a great deal about what is needed for peace. These conversations bother me even when I believe the political strategy is correct. It is not peace we are talking about. Sure, it is our ultimate utopian goal, but peace is not a current option. In fact, I have not read a single analysis that strives for peace. The writers may use that word, but it is not at all what they mean. In all of the current world conflicts, the best we can hope for in the near future is a cessation of violence.

But, peace is not the absence of war or violence.* Peace is not the absence of conflict and tension. Rather, peace is a state of being. It is a way of being in relationship with another (group or individual). It is ongoing communication, compromise, understanding, and health. One has disagreements in peace. One is angry in peace. But, peace is its own entity. It is the presence of something. It cannot and is not defined by the absence of something bad.

It is through this lens I negotiate between disparate and conflicted parties. I am not interested in a solution to a particular conflict (though this is the first step). Rather, I am interested in giving an organization the tools to manage healthy relationships between different parties and stakeholders. I am interested in Peace. I know how to create peace in an institution, business and community.

I only wish someone could figure it out for the world.

* This is a paraphrase of Benedict Spinoza based on Robert Harvey Monro Elwes’s translation of  “Benedict de Spinoza, The Chief Works of Benedict de Spinoza vol 1 (Tractatus-Theologico-Politicus, Tractatus Politicus) [1670]
The full text is: “Of a commonwealth, whose subjects are but hindered by terror from taking arms, it should rather be said, that it is free from war, than that it has peace. For peace is not mere absence of war, but is a virtue that springs from force of character: for obedience (Chap. II. Sec. 19) is the constant will to execute what, by the general decree of the commonwealth, ought to be done. Besides that commonwealth, whose peace depends on the sluggishness of its subjects, that are led about like sheep, to learn but slavery, may more properly be called a desert than a commonwealth.”

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