We need to make peace.
How can we make peace?
Today is Peace Day 2012. As a result, we will hear lots of people say the above phrases, or something very like them. But, to my mind, there is something fundamentally wrong with those little sentences. One word does not belong. That word is make.
History is presented to us as a series of battles. They may be fought with politics, with money, with will or with weapons. But we are told that these are the events that have shaped human history and brought us to where we are today. This narrative is, in my opinion, a lie.
Look at the world now. For the vast majority of people, the vast majority of the time, peace is their natural state of affairs. However much war and death, horror and sadness we may see in the world (or, more accurately, on our screens), most people live in peace most of the time.
It has always been this way too. Though, as a species, we are certainly prone to violence, we are more inclined to peace. So it seems to me that we don’t need to make peace at all. We just need to stop getting in its way.
We simply need to allow peace.
We need to stop doing the things that stop peace from happening. What we need to make then, is space for peace to happen. We need to create a world where we can bring ourselves to get out of the way of peace happening. Because it is us humans that make non-peace. We make war. We make hatred. We make poverty and inequality. We make injustice. We make ecocide.
What we need to do is unmake these things and, amazingly, we will find that peace springs forth in the space we create for it.
Of course, how to unmake those things is a vexed question indeed. But if we are ever going to find the answers we seek, we should at least start with the right question.