Thursday, April 30, 2009
Peace is a term that most commonly refers to an absence of aggression, violence or hostility, but which also represents a larger concept wherein there are healthy or newly-healed interpersonal or international relationships, safety in matters of social or economic welfare, the acknowledgment of equality and fairness in political relationships and, in world matters, peacetime; a state of being absent of any war or conflict. Reflection on the nature of peace is also bound up with considerations of the causes for its absence or loss. Among these potential causes are: insecurity, social injustice, economic inequality, political and religious radicalism, and acute nationalism.
One meaning of peace refers to inner peace, a state of mind, body and mostly soul, a peace within ourselves. People that experience inner peace say that the feeling is not dependent on time, people, place, or any external object or situation, asserting that an individual may experience inner peace even in the midst of war. One of the oldest writings on this subject is the Bhagavad Gita, a part of India's Vedic scriptures.
Sevi Regis describes inner peace as, "the state or condition of restfulness, harmony, balance, equilibrium, longevity, justice, resolution, timelessness, contentment, freedom, and fulfillment, either individually or simultaneously present, in such a way that it overcomes, demolishes, banishes, and/or replaces everything that opposes it."
Mahatma Gandhi's conception of peace was not as an end, but as a means: "There is no way to peace; peace is the way." Gandhi envisioned nonviolence as a way to make a political statement. Judeo-Christian tradition declares "Thou shalt not kill," although there is no consensus on the most accurate interpretation.
Followers of some religions, such as Jainism, go to great lengths to avoid harming any living creatures, including insects. Pacifists, such as Christian anarchists, perceive any incarnation of violence as self-perpetuating. Other groups take a wide variety of stances, many maintaining a Just War theory.