A musical map of peace, part 5

Let’s continue exploring and building our peace map, which is more and more turning into a peace handbook or manual.

It must be like that, because a mere map does not help. Yes, orientation IS important, especially when it comes to an area that we think we know but actually haven’t assessed in a really careful, open-minded way. But we also need to know the steps to take to reach peace; just looking around is not enough.

–And as you notice this is a map in progress, meaning that I am “discovering” it while I go on. It’s not something that was finished when I started writing. You can regard it as a stream of consciousness thing (which is often pretentious) — or a journey to which you are invited. Presenting finished ready-mades to readers is standard procedure, but I choose another road.

One important aspect of the map is the division into two halves, with a neutral area in the middle. And as with Yin and Yang both sides seem to contain traces of the other side.

One half deals with, works according to the Win-Lose model, the other with Win-Win. One could say that one is dualistic, binary, oppositional, while the other is more wholeistic and friendly, with no element of duel.


On the left side you have two teams (or individuals), on the right everybody is member of the same team. (In a way in sports you have the peaceful version as well, but only on one side, within the team [or within the contesting individual, who surely wants to be in harmony with himself].  In peace there are no sides, just one big team, one big orchestra if you will.)

We’re in this together.

A very important thing if we want to go from theory to practice, to really move from the left to the right side , is maintaining interest.

So much advertising has been done throughout history for the dynamic values, interest and excitement of sports, contests and battles. We have books, plays, movies, poems, symphonies, odes, statues, monuments, all (critically or positively) concerned with  war, battle and fighting.

Positive or negative does not much matter; all attention is “good” attention, as the moderns like to say.

So most everybody knows, feels and understands the left side.

If peace is to have a fair chance one must demonstrate that it too can be dynamic, interesting and exiting. Otherwise it will, in all frankness (and we badly need to stand on the terra firma of frankness) remain the concern of a small minority, a group of idealists who don’t “understand” that peace is not really possible, who are too stupid to see that if one wants peace “one should prepare for war”, etc.

Thus peace remains, in spite of all the grand things said about it, a pastime for a minority.

So what can we do?

We need to find  Win-Win without boredom, build peace that is not bland, create harmony that is not tasteless and wishy-washy. It is now my task to demonstrate and convince you of this. I daresay, a beautiful and wonderfully challenging task. May the Higher Powers guide my hand and thought in this endeavor.

Of course we cannot expect peace to be dynamic, interesting and exiting in the exact same way as war, sports and contest are. That would be no progress at all, we would remain in the same place, just renaming things. (And we already live in the age of Beautiful (but false) Euphemisms.)

So we need to actually move and travel and transition.

Now there is a very important and interesting transition / conversion from the excitement of war to the excitement of peace. A word for that transition is “refinement”.

I note that some people are afraid of that word.

However, they probably would not protest if invited to a Michelin restaurant where they could eat food the level of which, and the rarity of which, was up in the stratosphere compared with what they usually ate, and drink wine far far above their income.

That kind of refinement few people would protest against. Everybody would gives one’s taste buds a chance to try something truly sublime for a change.

Yes, I’ll have a bite of that.
That one also looks interesting…
Maybe that one, too, but not too much!
And surely we must have dessert!

If somebody invited us to listen to their million dollar stereo equipment to compare it with our 20 dollar MP3-player, we also would not protest.

Yes, let’s listen to some true HI-Fi sounds and see what they “taste” like.

Sounds good to me.

Again refinement is just fine.

And if we were offered a free sample of the most expensive and delicious spa treatment–aromatherapy, massage, pedicure, the works — we also probably would just accept and enjoy.

Looks good.
A caviar facial, yes.
And a 24k gold facial mask!
Let’s not forget the pedicure.

Again we would welcome refinement.

— So let’s remember how much refinement we would gladly accept — and have that insight as a springboard for moving on.

There are novel untasted joys around the corner, new sensations and experiences beyond the McDonald’s fast-food paradigm. Instead of preferring refinement here but not there, this way but not that, let’s open-mindedly explore new areas of dynamism, interest and excitation. And let’s abandon our foolish fear of a word that basically means more, higher, further.

Now that was a lengthy pep talk but I think we need it. A theory can be fabulously brilliant but if nobody feels an inclination to try it out it will remain academic.

Peace can be described in glowing terms but if war-like activities attract us more we will remain in the Talk-the-walk sector. And we clearly need to move into the Walk-the-talk area.

This is a big enough chunk for now. To be continued soon.

PS:  Somebody protests: “What you have described is not refinement but luxury.”

Yes, but luxury can be inspiration and invitation to refinement, to move and progress beyond cheap thrills, from eating to tasting, from hearing to listening, hopefully from war to peace.

Let me end (after all, this is supposed to be a musical map) with a piece of luxurious music.

Part 6

Aim for the stars (or at least the planets)

There is in paxology a certain fear of aiming high. A fear of sounding too idealistic, too naive,  too starry-eyed, etc.

Also, many people “know” that peace, world peace even more, is impossible. They have all kinds of more or less intelligent arguments  and theories for asserting this.

But people who “know” what is possible and impossible are, even though they might be well-meaning, not helping .  On the contrary, they are themselves unwitting obstacles to peace.

What we dare not think we surely will not attempt.

This is also important when it comes to definitions of peace.  “Well-managed social conflict” is not good enough.  Careful, conservative definitions that still contain elements of war (“war can never be really stopped”), and also definitions that are limited to a political kind of thinking, are working according to an inverted saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Aim below the mark to hit the mark.

Emerson actually said Aim ABOVE the mark to hit the mark.

So which accidental shall we use,  the sharp that raises?

Aim high. Aim at the sun, and you might have a good chance of at least hitting a planet. Why not Venus?

Or the lowering flat?

Be careful and conservative!

And your very carefulness (in many situations a virtue) will hinder you from even reaching the stratosphere.

The fear of sounding idealistic or even Utopian (not one of my fears) is weighing us down and ties us to the ground —  a ground where war, war seeds and the interest in and fascination for war-related things (much encouraged by mass media, for whom bad news are “good” news) has become the norm.

We need a peace norm, and for that we need to be more, not less, “starry eyed”. It would actually be naive NOT to aim high, considering how many obstacles there are to peace. Let’s not add weak faith to the list.

Only the bravest efforts and greatest idealism will succeed in getting us there. Careful pragmatism will only redecorate the room, keeping the same old furniture, the same old curtain, same old carpet.

We need a new room, a peace room.

Not good enough…