When we well know that the most important scientific inventions, philosophical breakthroughs and musical or literary masterpieces have all come from individuals – from a Leonardo, Einstein, Beethoven, Goethe – why then do we believe that peace, one of the most difficult things on Earth, is going to be created by committee?
My reason for saying this: I have been domain-traveling throughout my life. My starting point was and is music, a wonderful domain, much more valuable and precious then most of us understand.
Then philosophy, a so-so domain. After that politics, a real stiff one.
And now paxology, peace work, peace research. I’ve been at it now for around three years and what I see makes me confused, disappointed and frankly scared. There is so much muddiness in this domain, so much surface — empty phrases, gestures, cliches and thinking inside the box.
Much feel-good, not much think-good. As somebody put it: peace is about releasing captive white doves by political leaders.
There is also an underlying premise that peace is the job of groups, committees and organizations. Not individuals.
I don’t know where this view comes from and frankly don’t much care. What I do know is that this goes against the insight that breakthroughs and masterpieces never come from groups or organizations. Always from solitary, isolated, not seldom ridiculed individuals. Why should the situation be different when it comes to peace?
In this most difficult of tasks, Groups — until now inert, square and predictable — (supposedly) suddenly bloom and reach genius level, become innovative and find brand new paths. Do we really believe that?
If not, why don’t we look in new, fresh directions?
The peace domain is like Wikipedia that says “No thanks!” to original research.
Of course I am talking about my own work here, no denying it. I have in my relatively short time in the peace domain contributed valuable, innovative material – that nobody seems to be interested in. I guess it feels… unaccustomed and different.
— “War seeds”, musical peace map, Agon and antagonism… what IS all that about? It’s not our usual fare. Vive la similarité.
Meanwhile, many other domains, like the business sphere for example, are SCREAMING for innovation! Yes, much of it is lip-service; what one really wants is a new look or vogue, a new viral term, a hip new costume — but at least one is screaming. It’s a start.
I wish there was more screaming, shouting and excitement in the peace domain. As it is, it reminds me of this picture.
Am I saying that peace should be conducted as business? Not really. Maybe as its opposite, as WAR.
War is a by and large a very efficient affair. In spite of obvious blunders it aims at precision; logistics are of prime importance; goals and targets are well defined. Language is highly efficient in order to avoid mistakes, semantic clarity is essential to avoid ambiguities which can have fatal consequences, Roger that!
War hires (and pays) the best brains; just look at the Manhattan project where more than a dozen Nobel prize winners were involved. (How many Nobel prize winners are working on building peace…?) There are huge amounts of money in war and innovation is constant; always there are new and more streamlined ways of killing our fellow man.
All this is the opposite of the peace domain, where vagueness is okay, where we don’t even need a definition. It’s not really important to pinpoint it, everybody knows what peace is anyway… Perhaps. Until they are asked to define it.
On the other hand, even a small child in the street can basically tell you what “war” is! Imagine the military reasoning in the same vague way.
Ready guys? Let’s fire off some of these old rockets in about THAT direction, give and take a few miles, in the next day or two. We THINK the bad guys are somewhere around that corner. God willing we might actually hit some of them, and hopefully not as many of our own people as last time.
That would be a bad joke, but that is what happens in the peace domain. No precision, no hardcore thinking, no innovation. Just a predictable collection of second-hand phrases and goals that are inherited from other eras, other peace organizations.
Maybe I am too harsh, but we do need more harsh now, and less cuddly feel-good. Peace needs precision. Clarity is a precursor of peace.
We need blueprints like this.
Laser guided peace, anyone?
All of this has to do with another big, unacknowledged problem. Namely that very few people (I mean individuals) get truly excited about peace.
–Yes, peace is something fine, lofty and very IMPORTANT; but right now we want to watch that cool YouTube video and an action movie. But we DO wish the peace organizations all the luck!
This distanced, lukewarm, not my table-attitude is not helpful. If war, at least in its sublimated forms (sports, contests, competition, debates, etc.) is SO MUCH MORE interesting and exciting (and fun) than peace, then of course peace is going to remain dutiful committee work, nothing for individuals to be excited about and engage themselves in.
This is the reason I talk about a specific variant of peace, namely Venusian Peace.
Peace that is not just absence (of war, conflict, poverty, killing) but has actual positive content. Namely the qualities associated with Venus: art, beauty, harmony, music, balance, love.
None of that is boring, none of that is created by committees. Sometimes by composers.