Peace – a scary concept?

OSLO, NORWAY - DECEMBER 10:  A plaque depictin...
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The (supposedly) most powerful man in the world has been acknowledged for his intentions to bring peace to the world. It was a surprising choice.  Many people around the world have the desire for peace on top of their agenda and were celebrating.

Yet the American press is very critical and many of his political opponents are ridiculing him. I have seen more cynical and hateful comments over the last days than during the heated election campaign. The feelings and opinions of these critics are valid and part of the discussion. Tuning them out will only cause more anger and frustration.

I feel that this was more of a Nobel PEACE Prize than maybe any other award in that category before. Our world is full of fighting on many levels: countries fighting each other, civil wars, gang fights, drug wars, economic wars all the way down to many forms of domestic violence.

The honoree is a man with a very strong voice that asks us to leave traditional patterns behind. He challenges us to take a different perspective on our relationships among each other and our relationship with our planet.  At this point I am asking myself many questions and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

  • I am wondering who is benefitting from the status quo and why so many people are afraid to let go?
  • What is our perception of peace?
  • Is it scary to some of us because it feels like heading to the unknown?
  • Is it something that most of us think of as a fairy tale?
    In that case we might actually be off to a good start. Fairy tales are based on archetypes and allow us to look deeper.
  • What is it that makes conflict between humans something that we so widely accept?
  • Is this how we bring out the wild part of our personalities that can’t always be caged up?
  • Are we maybe at a crossroads and get to decide which direction we are taking for a long time to come?
  • Nuclear weapons are a curse to the world. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see a world peace conference where everyone signs off and we simply let go? Someone might cheat and keep their bomb. What’s the risk of that? Some lunatic killing us all?
  • Imagine no one fighting any more and you being the last one walking around in full armor. Wouldn’t that feel embarrassing?  I believe that people wouldn’t be scared of that person but rather feel sorry for him or her.
  • To some extend we’d make ourselves vulnerable by letting go of weapons. How many of us have ever looked at vulnerability as strength?
  • Have you ever looked at the power you have over someone who is standing in front of you fully armed? Who do you think is more scared on a deeper level? Who is stronger?
    Take a look at Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” for some more insight on that subject.

Many of us have lived under some form of oppression or dominance. Countries have claimed dominance over certain regions. Dictatorships dominate the countries they rule.  There are many other forms of dominance: Race related, gender related, money related etc..

  • Has dominance ever created sustainable peace?
  • Doesn’t dominance also create fear? If I’d dominate I’d always be afraid to lose my status quo. I might trigger a reaction in whomever I try to dominate. It might put me in a position where I have to defend myself.
  • How well does my dominance really serve me?

Some of us might not like the man who won the Nobel Peace Prize. But maybe we can look beyond that and see for what this selection stands? What is the risk of allowing yourself to dream a little?

I think the question of peace is tied into the feeling of hope. If we think of the cup being half empty it will be hard to believe that we can change and have a more peaceful world.

What is the risk of extending a hand versus waiting for others to make the first step? That might very well apply to my neighbor and me. With a peace symbol tattooed on my back I really don’t have a choice in that matter ;-)

NOTE:
This post is really not about daily politics. I hope it does not spike another political discussion where it doesn’t belong. It might feel trivial or naive to some. In order to find answers to these questions that will breathe new life into the discussion we might all need to leave some traditional thinking behind and think a bit more out of the box…

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