We have war because we expect to have war. We live it every day, even when we’re not at war. It consumes half of our financial resources, much of our TV time, and a tremendous amount of our thought, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Human beings have progressed with the belief that if they want something they have to take it from someone else. There actually may be other ways. We also acknowledge that powerful people have a need to prove their power by manipulating many other people to get what they want. If they see the “necessity,” they’ll go to war to get it. The expenditure of lives may be regrettable, but is, historically, irrelevant to their motives.
Both psychologically and spiritually, we know that violence or threats of violence cannot produce peace. We’ve tried it from the dawn of humanity. Albert Einstein said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting change.
At what point do the “little people” gain enough of a critical mass to insist that solutions other than war be heard? And other actions taken? Can we do this without violence? What would it be like to live in peace? How do we explore non-violent means of living? What assumptions do we need in order to make peace? And to keep it?
I believe the answer is in spirituality – the realization that there is no defense. I repeat: THERE IS NO DEFENSE. I mean that. There is no perfect way to defend ourselves physically. There will always be espionage and other leaks. The only defense is spiritual: Our beliefs about God, ourselves, other people, and our planet. Our conviction that, in order to live the way we want to, we must be willing to allow others to live the way they want to, whether we approve or not. We need our trust in God to give us the confidence to build peace into our lives and into our personal faith systems. It’s already a part of most of the world’s religions. Until we’re willing to live peace every day, in every way – ourselves, individually – we’ll not have world peace. This would be true democracy. This is our strength: Listening to God and listening to each other.
When we live in fear, it distorts our values. We can’t help it. Our focus is to protect ourselves and our families above everything else. Fear is what we have taught our children and the world about America every day we fight a war, and especially when we start one.
Thoughtful people realize that there’s more to life than fear and defending ourselves. We sense that our only real strength is in our faith. We can gain the support we need by living in such a way that we feel internally supported. We teach our children that, if only by our example in the way we treat other people. However children have a way of looking at our total behavior. If they see us living with fear and assumptions that we need defending, they’ll grow up with that same paranoia.
It is paranoia, you know. If you want to challenge that premise, I suggest that you look at your own ideals about the way you treat the people you love. I seriously doubt that you behave the same way with them that you say you believe about national defense. But it is all the same. You see, democracy is its own defense when we really live it. We – you and I – are the nation.