The Bloggers4Peace monthly challenge is upon me, and it weighs most heavily.
When I saw Kozo’s challenge to create an advertisement for peace I must admit I felt my marrow freeze. Then I closed the window, which was open, encouraging icy tendrils to wander about the house, and snuggled under the blanket to think about options. Kozo has suggested that we construct an advertisement for peace by:
- creating a simple advertisement, like a slogan for peace; or
- writing a poem or a song that can become the “Imagine” for our generation; or
- creating a piece of art/photo that we can post on billboards that will promote peace; or
- writing a short story or screenplay for a short film that can be made and broadcast for peace
- And having fun
Well, to be honest my dears, I panicked. I am not an advertising person. I do consider myself somewhat creative, especially in the face of project meltdown, but my ideas for promotional material are generally met with derision. And now you want me to expose my inadequacy to the world for the sake of peace?
Well, if that’s the hardest thing I ever have to do, I’ll take it.
So, it’s project initiation, people. What advertising works? I suppose anyone who knows that can make a whole pile of money. I do not have a whole pile of money. Ergo, I have no idea what works. It’s not a promising start to the Peace Advert Campaign, nor for my claim to logical fluency.
Let’s not be downhearted! Dredge your extensive memory banks for adverts you enjoyed, EBL, and seek inspiration!
Let me see…there were those crazy mashed potato robots on the moon, and the dancing Guinness man. And the Coke advert, always the Coke advert. I quite liked Jack Dee walking on girders. Similarly who could forget the bald man in the photo booth or the Secret Lemonade Drinker? Clearly what works for me is an element of humour and/or a catchy tune (and frequently, alcohol).
Then there are those other adverts where the tune invades your brain like leprosy, until the cells begin to necrotise. I hesitate to refer directly to them in case the infection spreads. Already I hear some of them clamouring in the background, like zombies shuffling towards me to eat my soul. No, I don’t want to advertise Peace that way! You. Shall. Not. Pass.
Images of peace are in danger of presenting a cliché: meditating buddhas and flowers and sunsets. Beautiful, I enjoy them immensely; the world is so effortlessly amazing while we poor humans struggle to produce anything so fine and fail to recognise the beauty in each other. Can I also whisper it though – perhaps a little…boring? For me these images can also reinforce the stereotype of passivity. To quote a leaflet I picked up recently “Pacifism is not peace at any price, but love at all costs.” I’ll add I also find those juxtapositional things irritating too. EBL is easily irritated.
Nevertheless, I strained my brain to think of how to make “love at all costs” appealing. It sounds a bit sacrificial otherwise. Think about telling people what’s in it for them. Well, what is in it for them?
I believe inner peace enables us to do more, to achieve more, to be more. I thought about the feeling of winning. And I thought of how the universe seems to hold its breath as great moments happen, and for a fleeting moment everything becomes balanced and at peace.
I thought of the breath I might take before stepping out of a plane to do a parachute jump (for charitable rather than military objectives, of course!).
I thought of Johnny Wilkinson preparing to kick the winning conversion in the World Cup in 2003.
I thought of a skier about to propel themselves down the slope.
I thought of Blondin crossing Niagara Falls
I thought: are these images exciting and compelling enough to enable people to consider how inward peace leads to greatness; to learn that fear and rage and violence lead only to more of the same? As the wonderful Oscar Wilde said:
Perhaps when war and violence are seen as worse than vulgar, as actual blockages to getting what we want, we can move to that consummation devoutly to be wished, Peace.
Other bloggers working to promote peace include:
- Everydaygurus – who started it all
- Inspire the Idea
- Far Away in the Sunshine
- Breathing Space
With all my heart, to all of you, namaste.