Monday, October 10, 2016

The Path to Peace

"What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

"For we must come to see that peace is not merely the absence of some negative force, it is the presence of a positive force. True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice and brotherhood. " -Martin Luther King, Jr.

I think this says it all for our world, and wish it would trickle down into families and relationships.
Often "peace" is misconstrued as being "compliance." Peace is something won after a conflict...and in order to have a conflict, one party must not put themselves above another, but must acknowledge the humanity and equality and validity of the other. They must not hide behind choosing to believe in their own victimhood for not getting their way. See: racism. They must embrace their part, wholeheartedly.
We live in a world, in a country, that every day seeks to invalidate someone or a group...to put them in their place...to scapegoat them in every way. People who contribute to these instances are a dime a dozen.
It's easy to fabricate an enemy. It's a soothing anesthetic, a reassurance that the existence of your contrived evil means you are above reproach. It's a safe place to hide, a nice distraction from growing yourself. Or seeing this world outside that needs more love. It's so easy to be entitled. It's nice and cushy.
A negative peace is a shallow, superficial peace. It is like putting up pretty wallpaper over moldy walls. It reflects no inner work, no brotherhood, no equality, and certainly no justice. It serves the oppressor, since it does not require any personal responsibility from them or acknowledgement of harm. And certainly no acknowledgement that their target's viewpoint is valid.
It's the easy way out, a total cop-out.
Positive peace is hard-won after a truthful, direct conflict. Positive peace involves the oppressor being pressured to acknowledge the humanity of the one(s) they scapegoat and rejecting any previous aversion to conflict. It is the harder way, but it is the loving way, and it is the more truthful way.
Oppressors rarely realize the benefits of raising someone up. They don't realize that increasing integrity has to do with personal responsibility and good will towards others. It means no longer having the need to make an enemy out of someone to avoid yourself. It means having grown, secure, and confident enough to take personal responsibility for your actions, which involves receiving input from others about the negative impact you've had. This increases your sense of self-worth and connection to others. Entering into a conflict where the goal is positive peace gives the oppressed the chance to be heard, and the oppressor the chance to do good in the world by empowering others. The benefits of empowering others are well-documented.
Justice and brotherhood...it all starts with our mindsets around self, family, and friends. If we can model how to work out our personal conflicts through repair and positive peace, we can certainly change the world.

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