Concerning peace philosophy

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    Jun 14, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    Do you believe that peace among the world's nations is something that can be achieved purely through non-violent means? Or do you think some degree of violence is necessary in order to attain a greater peace?

    I consider myself to be a very non-aggressive individual, very diplomatic and patient and willing to take the necessary time and energy to discuss and come to a consensus with a belligerent party. However, I understand that there are people in the world who are irrational. These irrational people, who have no regard for the value of human life and reject the ideals of humanitarianism and tolerance (if not acceptance), proactively seek to destroy peaceful society and innocent life. You may try to offer the olive branch of peace, but these people would kill you anyway. To that end, we must fight in our self-defense. Even beyond self-defense, is it any other nation's responsibility to intervene when two countries are at war and innocent lives are being lost?

    (On that note, while I do find myself to be leaning towards anti-war rhetoric, I am nonetheless proud and supportive of my American troops who endure much misery and see some very ugly things in their service. I cannot imagine the conditions, the pain. And so I create music to heal their hearts, soothe their minds, and inspire morale and determination.) [Wow, that last line was pretty gay sounding...icon_redface.gif]
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    Jun 14, 2011 9:49 PM GMT
    cold saidYou assume that peace is achievable...


    You make a point. Peace may NOT be achievable. ...Does that mean there's no point in trying?
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:12 PM GMT
    Szchatt89 said And so I create music to heal their hearts, soothe their minds, and inspire morale and determination.) [Wow, that last line was pretty gay sounding...icon_redface.gif]


    I like the sound of this, and it is not necessarily "gay sounding" --- it more the sound of higher consciousness.

    My only comment is the non-violent approach worked for Gandhi, but it did not come without pain. I think violence never works in the long run. Self defense is another matter.

    I like this post and wish more postings like this were the norm on RJ.
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:19 PM GMT
    This has been tried before. It was called Chess. It didn't work.

    I'm all for a non-violent way of handling things whenever possible, but sometimes it's just not possible.
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:35 PM GMT
    i think self defense is necessary, which can at times be almost violent. if someone tried to punch me, i don't think to punch them, i think to stop them. stopping them might mean knocking them the fuck out though.
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:46 PM GMT
    Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity...

    or drinking for sobriety...

    or.. you get the idea
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    Jun 14, 2011 10:47 PM GMT
    vincent7 said
    Szchatt89 said And so I create music to heal their hearts, soothe their minds, and inspire morale and determination.) [Wow, that last line was pretty gay sounding...icon_redface.gif]


    I like the sound of this, and it is not necessarily "gay sounding" --- it more the sound of higher consciousness.

    My only comment is the non-violent approach worked for Gandhi, but it did not come without pain. I think violence never works in the long run. Self defense is another matter.

    I like this post and wish more postings like this were the norm on RJ.


    Problem is Gandhi did not really attain is goal.. he was left with Hindustan split into several countries, massacres and masses of refugees, being assassinated by one of the people he fought to free, and many people still hating him in India to this day...
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    Jun 14, 2011 11:22 PM GMT
    Szchatt89 saidDo you believe that peace among the world's nations is something that can be achieved purely through non-violent means? Or do you think some degree of violence is necessary in order to attain a greater peace?


    Among the world's nations? Hell no.

    Among the world's people? Of course.

    The nation state was built and evolved through war. We are in the era of 'globalization' where the nation-state is evolving into a continental apparatus, and simultaneously into a 'globalized' apparatus. This too, is a very violent and war mongering transition.

    Institutionalized power breeds institutionalized hate.

    You say you adhere to "anti-war rhetoric" but then say you support all the wars your country is plundering the earth in. So I'm confused, are you saying you're a hypocrite? That you say one thing and believe another?

    Do you even know how many wars America has been engaged in over the past decade and some?

    - Congo (1996 - ?) - roughly 4-6 million innocent people died as a result
    - Afghanistan (2001 - ?)
    - Iraq (2003 - ?) - over 1 million innocent Iraqis killed
    - Lebanon (2006)
    - Somalia (2007 - ?)
    - Pakistan (2008 - ?) - largely a secret war, but now an open secret
    - Yemen (2009 - ?) - also largely a covert war, with some US bombings of civilians
    - Libya (2011 - ?)

    and that's just the more known ones. There are, in fact, dozens of nations in which there are other covert intelligence and special forces and destabilization operations being undertaken; not to mention, the several coups the US has supported or participated in over the last several years as well, including: Haiti (2004), and Honduras (2009), both of which were to eliminate a democracy in favour of a local oligarchy, and there were several other "attempted" coups that were less successful.

    Everywhere America ventures with its military, intelligence, "democracy-promotion" organizations, 'diplomacy', foundations, NGOs, and corporate conglomerates, the aim is not to spread "democracy", "freedom", or "peace." The aim is to destroy and prevent democracy, destroy and prevent freedom, and to destroy and prevent peace, with the aim of maintaining global hegemony over the world's strategic resources. America is an empire, and empire is never benevolent, even though it is often sold under a "humanitarian" guise.

    The hypocrisy is quite blatant. Take Libya, for example, sold to the public on the basis of being a "humanitarian intervention," but was in reality a means of removing a not-so-trustworthy despot (who has NOT been a staunch western ally, unlike the despots in Egypt, Tunisia, and almost everywhere else)... and at the SAME time, America gave Saudi Arabia the green light to move in and brutally repress and crush a democratic uprising in Bahrain, home to America's Fifth Fleet in the Gulf, run by a brutal dictatorship intensely loyal to America. There, it's okay to crush an uprising, murder innocent civilians, and even engage in organ harvesting... because they threaten American interests. The Saudis were well equipped for this because they recently were the recipients to the largest arms deal in world history, with American giving the Saudis $60 billion in military aid (largely to counter Iran, America's principal target nation in the region).

    George Carlin said it best, perhaps, when he stated: "Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity."

    But comedy aside, take one of history's more notable war-mongers, Hermann Goering, Hitler's 2nd in command. At the Nuremberg trials, Goering stated:

    "Naturally the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

    So... "concerning peace philosophy", perhaps you should seek to understand "war philosophy." It's kind of like saying that you have an antidote to something you have not yet diagnosed. So no wonder you are unsure of the plausibility of such an antidote working. Make the right diagnosis first. You need to ask yourself some real questions: what is war? What is the purpose of war? Why is there war? Who makes war? Who suffers in war?
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    Jun 14, 2011 11:22 PM GMT

    Having said that, there is a great abundance of wonderful literature and philosophy in anarchism that is very much peace-oriented. It seems to me that the main thing anarchists understand is that people, in general, want peace. For the average person, war is not a desirable outcome for them or their community. So long as we allow our societies to be governed by inhumane institutions with power-mad ideologies - whether it is the Church, the State, the Corporation, the foundation, the think tank, the university, the media, etc etc, - we will not be free from war. War is institutionalized in our system and in our thinking. If we want peace, we must first change our thinking, and then change the system into one that facilitates such an advancement of humanity.

    I am not a utopian, I do not believe humanity will live conflict-free, conflict is inevitable and a part of the human experience. From conflict, we grow, individually and collectively. The point, however, is not to repeat the same mistakes but learn from them. Thus, we must stop constructing and legitimizing a society which does not represent the psycho-social needs of human growth. We live in a society which institutionalizes and emphasizes all the dark, depraved, and destructive aspects of human nature, while simultaneously stifling, suffocating and suppressing all the wonderful, progressive, and empowering aspects of human nature. Our environment to an enormous degree shapes our psychological nature. Our global social environment breeds this knee-jerk war mongering approach to dealing with issues, when history tells us time and time again that this is not the correct approach. Unlike the mouse in the cage, we do not learn to stop returning to the electrified piece of cheese. Those who run our societies are aware that we are largely mindless sheep and will listen to what they say, thus, they get away with saying anything... and the sheep get into line, being led... lambs to the slaughter.

    As Bertrand Russell wrote in his 1952 book, "The Impact of Science on Society":

    "It is to be expected that advances in physiology and psychology will give governments much more control over individual mentality than they now have even in totalitarian countries. Fichte laid it down that education should aim at destroying free will, so that, after pupils have left school, they shall be incapable, throughout the rest of their lives, of thinking or acting otherwise than as their schoolmasters would have wished... Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves to be happy, because the government will tell them that they are so... A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organised insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton."

    So again, "concerning peace philosophy", you cannot simply identify "peace" as some abstract concept and ask: is it possible within the confines of the present system and society we know and live in? That answer is obvious. If it wasn't obvious, we would be at peace. So, "concerning philosophy", you must ask yourself and others further questions. That is a good starting point, but you opened the window then shut the door: "Is peace possible?" Not really. "I like the 'sound' of anti-war, but I support all our wars." You have to ask more questions:

    If peace is not possible in our society, why?

    What drives war in our society?

    If war is "human nature", what shapes that "nature"?

    If that nature is shaped, can it be re-shaped?

    If so, how?

    Are humans violent, or is human society violent?

    Is it a violent society that creates violent people, or is it violent people that create a violent society?

    What is the nature of power?

    What is the nature of peace?

    What is the nature of freedom/oppression?

    And the questions go on and on... so if you really want an answer to your specific question, I'd say, "ask more questions." Your question is quite misleading with what I think the actual intent was. Would you ask a mafioso if he could possibly do better business if he took the "crime" element out of his methods and operations? Asking if "nations" of the world can have peace is opposed to the very idea of peace. Nations are institutions of war. Would you ask the military if it could be non-violent? If you want a peaceful society, institutions like the military, and the nation-state would have to be abolished, among a great many other institutions.
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    Jun 14, 2011 11:57 PM GMT
    I guess it goes back to the question of the definition of a "nation". Perhaps I was a bit unclear. I meant it not in the sense of a nation-state, that is, an established sovereign government, but rather in the sense of a group of people united in language and culture.

    You make a good point that nation-states are, by definition, established through war. But that's not entirely the point of an established government. In reality, it all goes back to providing policy. Mainly, to prevent violence amongst its own citizenry. In this regard, such law is necessary. An anarchist society has very few ways to prevent violent crimes or protect the people. Perhaps a police force of some kind that's not affiliated with a nation-state could be established, unfortunately, it would likely be a capitalist system (it's a business, and they won't help you unless you can pay them). And perhaps then, what if the hunger for power emerges? The police are physically stronger than the ordinary citizens, and they establish their own rule as martial law. There could be social implications used to mitigate violence in a given culture (shunning), but not much else could be done.

    When I speak of anti-war rhetoric, and yet I claim to ultimately support it (or perhaps I might better say, I simply tolerate its existence), it's through the understanding that, as I believe, war is an inevitability and it can never be avoided. Sovereign nation-states may be altered in due time, yes, but no society may ever have the capacity to endure for centuries as an anarchy.
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    Jun 15, 2011 12:31 AM GMT
    You should read some actual anarchist thought and philosophy, because I think you have confused 'anarchy' with 'chaos', which is understandable, considering that they are often used interchangeably; but, in fact, I would argue that anarchism is the most MISunderstood philosophy there is, and it has hardly anything to do with chaos, and even less to do with violence, though there are those who employ violence in the 'name' of anarchism, just as there are those who use violence and war in the name of 'democracy,' 'freedom' and 'peace'.

    Also, I would be careful about stating unequivocally that 'policy' and 'law' were designed to "protect the people," when they were more often designed to "protect the powerful" from the people. The legal system has very little to do with justice. Anarchism has very little to do with chaos.

    Anarchism is simply anti-authority in all its many forms. As such, it is not simply confined to the physical-material world, or, perhaps more accurately, the political world, but is even more concerned with the moral, philosophical, mental and intellectual worlds. It is fundamentally about freeing both mind and body from the institutions and ideas that ensnare humanity and chain it down to the powers that be.

    An anarchist society, as many of its philosophers have posited, would require no political or violent revolution, but rather an intellectual, personal revolution. As such, the development of this type of society, which I don't think was historically possible at any time in the past (and which I believe to now be in the emerging stages of plausibility), would not be a regression to old political forms and methods of organization; instead, it would be a collective lesson from the good and bad aspects of human social history, a true step forward. It would be moving forward simply because the fundamental nature of such a society would not be the changing 'political' institutions, but the changing 'intellectual' and moral institutions and concepts. In such a society, there is no need for a government to protect the people from themselves, or more accurately, the powerful from the people; such a society would not be violent in the first place.

    Humanity is still in its infantile stage... perhaps even adolescent. Regardless, it is time for humanity to "grow up" and start taking charge of its own direction, autonomy, freedom, responsibility, and mature with the collective wisdom of past millennia. How can we expect to move forward if we simply accelerate the trends that brought us to our current dismal state?

    A couple recommendations:

    "Anarchism" - Daniel Guerin
    "The Great Anarchists" - Paul Eltzbacher
    "Anarchism and Other Essays" - Emma Goldman
    "Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism" - Peter Marshall
    "No Gods, No Monsters: An Anthology of Anarchism" - Daniel Guerin
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    Jun 15, 2011 12:49 AM GMT
    To be an anarchist requires belligerent naivete....or just pretentiousness. I believe the OP was asking a question that no anarchist could answer. What would have been the anarchist solution to the the brutish expansion of the Third Reich across Europe? or ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.....or genocide in Darfur province...etc.

    There will always be abuse of power which involves any decent group of people in its intervention.
  • ShanksE

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    Jun 15, 2011 1:20 AM GMT
    Greenhopper said
    vincent7 said
    Szchatt89 said And so I create music to heal their hearts, soothe their minds, and inspire morale and determination.) [Wow, that last line was pretty gay sounding...icon_redface.gif]


    I like the sound of this, and it is not necessarily "gay sounding" --- it more the sound of higher consciousness.

    My only comment is the non-violent approach worked for Gandhi, but it did not come without pain. I think violence never works in the long run. Self defense is another matter.

    I like this post and wish more postings like this were the norm on RJ.


    Problem is Gandhi did not really attain is goal.. he was left with Hindustan split into several countries, massacres and masses of refugees, being assassinated by one of the people he fought to free, and many people still hating him in India to this day...


    It would be incorrect to state that Gandhiji did not attain his goal. Freedom came to us through non-violent means albeit at a great cost. Imagine if a country as diverse and large as India were born out of violent means! Imagine an India that had agitations like the ones witnessed in Egypt and imagine such a large nation being ruled by the military! The geography of Asia and the history of the world would have been markedly different if the Indian freedom struggle were not based on non-violence.
    India remains one of the largest democracies and is turning into an economic superpower because the non-violent agitation helped reinforce people's belief in peace and the democratic process. This is notable when you consider the fact that most of India's neighbours are still struggling to be democratic.
    Finally, it is true that "some" people hate Gandhiji. But that is because they do not understand his philosophy nor have they studied history well enough to appreciate what changes he has brought about in the country.


    To the OP - (At the risk of sounding philosophical) Peace can never be achieved till desire is conquered. Every nation desires more than it has - land, wealth, resources, power. In fact every individual desires more than she or he has. Every individual covets things that they do not possess and in order to gain it they exhibit aggression. The concept of non-violence (as Gandhiji described it) is not passivism. The philosophy of non-violence is to make the aggressor aware of the error of their ways. Non-violence is an appeal to their human spirit and is a means to make the aggressor willingly give up her or his violent means. Non-violence is not just a 'farewell to arms', but includes non-violence in speech, thought and action. Do you think it is easy to practice this? It requires enormous tolerance, patience and discipline. Can nations as a whole do this? They can strive for it, hoping that one day all of humankind will achieve that ideal.