So says Kozo:
Can you really? Because I find it really difficult and that is a depressing thought to start this month’s B4Peace Challenge. Kozo, in his infinite wisdom, has reminded us that we can dream peace if we choose to, and asked us to write about what that dream looks like.
Faced with the task of day-dreaming for a good cause I girded my neurons for the challenge and sat back expectantly. My brain stalled.
Describing a world at peace is like describing an alien spaceship; if one actually came along we probably wouldn’t recognise it and think it was a meteorite instead, or at least something within our experience. And there, my dears, is the rub. Within our experience.
When I was young and green in the spring time of the world I studied philosophy at university. My parents nearly died of shame but that is another story. I studied philosophy, which turned out to be rather less exciting than I had anticipated. However, one lecture I do recall was interesting, because the learned professor talked about Flash Gordon. The film was just out in the cinemas, and he had been to see it. Ah, happy memories of Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan, booming out his lines…
The point the learned professor was making, and he made it well if I can still recall it more than 30 years later, was that when we make up a “new” idea, that idea is actually two or more old ideas stuck together. Prince Vultan? A man and a bird. A unicorn? A horse and a rhino. His argument was that anything we invent is actually old stuff recycled.
So, back to the new idea of what the World at Peace would look like.
I might think of it as an old idea (eg the world) minus something (eg war). But that leaves me with a gap and so the idea is rather flat and dull. It also begs the question of “what is peace?”, and I would jump right back and say peace is not an absence, it is a presence.
Still with me? Good show!
Sometimes being at peace is calm and quiet and reflective, but sometimes it’s a moment of transcendence. This brings us into the territory of Jung, but fear not, fellow travellers, we shall overcome.
The world at peace will contain both kinds of experience on a continuinuinuum, or possibly a long line.
Sometimes we will dance and sing and fill the skies with our joyful noise, and sometimes we will sit and wait quietly in the certainty of calm. We will still have sadness, I am sorry to say, and loss and grief, but we will have the strength and capacity to manage them. When we lose a loved one, we will know that they and we have lived good lives. Our children will grow up being loved. They will be happy and confident. Those of us who love book-ish things will enjoy the creative explosion that peace will allow; those who love sports will enjoy the Olympic Spirit at every event, roaring their team on to win, full of excitement and drama, but without the shadow of hooliganism or violence, because it really is just a game. We’ll play and work and live and die to the fullest extent of our human condition because war is crippling and peace heals us all.
A world at peace, for my money, means we ditch those inconvenient and brutish emotions of fear and anger and disgust, and turn instead to positive and life affirming ones. Our children grow up secure and therefore confident. There may be mental illness or sickness, but we will know how to manage them, and support those who suffer, because suffering will not end so long as there are toes to stub and death to mourn.
There was an episode of the original Star Trek series where poor old Kirk fell through a wormhole of some description and ended up split into an aggressive and a passive version of himself. It was all enjoyable hokum, but even as a child I didn’t understand why the non-aggressive version had no drive or energy. I still don’t. I am motivated by more positive emotions too, by joy and a wish to do well, and by the desire to produce something beautiful, by art perhaps. There is a confusion between energy, or vitality, and aggression. We need to separate them out.
In a way the world will look much the same but inexplicabley different, like an image in the mirror, or a TV show dubbed into another language.
So, allons-y, mes braves, vers paix!