In my first text about a peace map I wrote basically this:
Between a “black” region of war and a “white” region of peace we have a grey area that needs to be explored better.
We can regard the whole thing as a garden with flowers in bloom and seeds not yet in bloom. (These seeds might never bloom, just remain inactive.)
What is usually called war I call “war in bloom”. As to peace in bloom, let us for the time being regard it as an unknown quantity/ quality.
Let’s focus in the middle, grey region. What do we have there?
That is no easy question. What is the middle point between war and peace? Is there even such a point? Is this perhaps mainly and abstract, semantic question?
My aim is to speak in as practical terms as possible. Quite obviously this map needs to be a map of human impulses and tendencies. We must address the question “what impulses lie behind war?”.
One could say that war is an activity while peace is a state. That would make peace a passive, thus potentially uninteresting and boring phenomenon. This passive aspect of peace I believe is an important reason for the disinterest (to be perfectly honest) many people hold for peace.
“If peace is when nothing much happens, why should we work for it, why concern ourselves with “nothing much”…?
But it need not be that way. Peace can be just as much activity as war. However, we don’t have as good understanding of peace-as-action as war-as-action.
WAR ————–AGON—————– PEACE
What is agon then? A greek word for contest and competition. In ancient Greece, agons were contests held during public festivals. Our modern Olympics are modeled on these contests.
I will use the word basically as meaning competition/ struggle, and regard is as a neutral point. (Obviously it is relevant to sports.)
Let us now build the left part of our map. What other stations can we find between agon and war (in bloom)?
I suggest the next step be antagonism: anti (against) plus agōnizesthai (to struggle, from agōn). In antagonism we don’t just compete in a match, we are opponents, adversaries, even enemies. We are one step closer to war in bloom.
Our map (left side) now looks like this:
WAR—- ANTAGONISM — AGON —–
I suggest we insert one more phase before war, namely agony. Agony already hurts, already bleeds. We are moving more and more into the red area. Just as with a clipping microphone distortion sets in.
I am for now content with the left side of the map, which looks like this:
WAR (in bloom) — AGONY — ANTAGONISM—AGON
So, from the neutral central point of agon, found in sports, we move into more and more hostile, combative, belligerent energies.
In part 3 we will look more closely at these three stations. I believe important insights about peace and peace work can be discovered there.