Shut up! or Let’s talk
An interview with Peace of Cake
(Peace of Cake is an underground peace gorilla, I mean peace guerrilla organization that rang me up to get the perspective of the Venusian Peace Project.)
Peace of Cake: Hello. What would you like to say to people who really want peace in the world today?
LH: Don’t underestimate the task. Creating peace is not an easy, feel-good kind of thing. Peace has powerful enemies.
I know, the military industrial complex.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg. You must look much farther if you want to know what you are up against. First, you have an inner enemy in this respect. We all have war seeds within us that do NOT want peace.
Then, we have the collective sphere around us. Few people will say that they desire war, but they probably want to hang on to their war seeds, war games. In order to really work for peace, you need to understand yourself, war and peace within yourself. Not just outside, which is often a simple game of finger-pointing. Finger-pointing is what keeps war going.
Are you talking about inner peace here?
Another term that we don’t really know what it is. What is inner peace?
I guess.. it is when you feel harmony between you and the outer world and maybe also within you.
Maybe there are too many maybe’s here. I suspect that outer peace (national, international peace) and inner peace are only related semantically. Same word means different things. Because how long does your inner peace stay? An hour, two days…?
Well, if I had inner peace for two days, that would be great!
So it comes and goes. Usually that is the case. We feel peace for a while, then it goes away and a new actor comes on stage. Maybe hunger, excitement, irritation or boredom. Bye bye, inner peace!
And another thing: Where does inner peace come from?
Hard to say. Things just manage to flow, everything is in the right place at the right time.
Have you created this flow?
No, I cannot claim that.
So it comes and goes by itself?
More or less so, yes.
A very popular saying or cliche is “Peace starts with the individual”. But where does it end? Well, maybe it just ends, somewhere.
We cannot talk about inner and outer peace as somehow equivalent. Imagine a country where you have war for an hour or two, then you get bored and hungry, maybe watch some TV, then war breaks out again for a day or two. Also, nobody really knows why war breaks out, what causes it to start or stop. This is not an acceptable situation in a country, village, family, company. You need more structure and stability than that.
Also in this strange country where war comes and goes according to weird winds, individuals might feel inner peace now and then, also without knowing why and where it comes from.
This to me is is a picture of some kind of insanity or mental instability, not peace.
OK, I see that we perhaps need to look at our terms a little closer.
Why not much closer? Peace is not rocket science, but it wouldn’t hurt if we got our thinking act together a bit more.
So if the military industrial complex is the tip of the iceberg, what’s underneath the waters then?
Good question! Such questions lead forward. There is a very very basic thing to consider when it comes to peace, wanting peace, desiring and working for peace, namely the difference between outer and inner. Are we mainly or only (very common) outer directed — or also inner directed?
In many if not most instances we are just happy to be outer directed.
What exactly do you mean by outer directed?
Looking at YOU! What you / him / her / they are doing. Observing, studying, criticizing others, from our secure position behind a screen, a shelter or trench.
And inner directed?
You look at yourself, your own hands, your face in the mirror. You measure your own acts against some kind of standard or yardstick. This is not that hard, often we just forget to do it. Or the very idea is so far from us and our culture that it never happens. This has a name: introspection, to look in the inner mirror.
And this is not something abstract or “philosophical”. It means remembering that you want peace, that peace is more important than war, and that it has a price.
Among other things we need to PAY attention. Attention can uncover for us that if we see something wrong or bad in another, answering in kind is not going to create peace. Just a circle of more mutual criticism.
Whenever WE are attacked or criticized we naturally want to defend ourselves. But we often do this by striking back, perhaps even harder than we got hit. That will make our opponent angry, so next time he might strike us even harder. And so, as the song goes, the beat goes on. The reflexes keep kicking.
This is so traditional, common and habitual that we hardly reflect on it. We believe we can reach harmony by being just as bad.
Can you give an example.
“Hate hate!” That’s is so silly and counterproductive.
Give me a practical advice, not just theories.
Take pen and paper and write a list. Think about your actions in everyday life. Ask yourself: what situations and people “light my war fire”? Or: when can I not resist the invitation to fight, the word taken in a broad sense? Know thyself, know your war seeds.
That was practical.
One more thing. Note when you are invited in a conversation, and when you are not. Two different modes. There are even specific words that I call Shut-up words. Their function is to stop further thinking, maybe make you ashamed.
“Racist”, “sexist”. Also such an innocuous term as “structure” has become Shut-up! As in “the structural oppression of the patriarchy”, a phrase that we are supposed to accept as gospel truth, not as a viewpoint or ideological formula.
The implication is that we all know what such words mean, and we all know they are bad. Thus, no need for thinking more about them. Just feel ashamed! Or make somebody else ashamed with them. Whatever you do, don’t listen!
Listening is the other mode. I call it “Let’s talk”. Which also means, let’s listen .-)
Shut-up! and Let’s talk. I will try to be more aware of these modes. Thank you.
Thank you for asking, conversing and listening.