Reasons for Hope

3 October 2006

In a previous post, I wrote about some of the reasons why I do not think that world peace is possible. But some days I have more hope about it.

For instance, I recently heard Amy Goodman speak on the KUOW radio program "Speaker's Forum". One of the things she said (which I think is correct) is that if people in the US really knew what was happening in Iraq, the war would soon be over. She also said that rather than being a silent minority, pacifists are actually a "silenced majority". Basically, she was implying that the news media are largely to blame for the non-peaceful situation we are in, by keeping the US public ignorant of what is really happening and making us feel isolated by not telling us what other people really think about it. So maybe the first step on the path to world peace lies in a media revolution, which actually seems a lot easier than changing US foreign policy and world religious teachings. Once the people understand what is happening, they will demand peace, and the leaders will have to deliver it.

Another ray of hope is the Non-Violent Communication movement. The basic premise is that by understanding that everyone has the same basic human needs and desires, and that everyone is subject to the same basic human emotions, we can learn to state ours and listen to others' in a simple and direct way, without violence or coercion. The movement teaches a method for such communication, which can be used for everything from talking with your friends and family to negotiating between governments. Learning about non-violent communication helps me believe that there is a viable alternative to war, which, after all, is just a very violent (and unproductive) way of communicating disagreement. So once we have all decided that we don't want war any more, there is a good tool out there to help us sit down at the table with our former enemies, and work out the terms of peace.