Tuesday, 23 March 2010

For the sake of peace and progress...

    I have been sat here for a good portion of the day staring at a blank sheet of paper with only a topic scribed upon it, wondering how to begin… We could talk about the meaning of the word peace; typically thought to be the absence of war or other hostilities, freedom from quarrels and disagreement or public security and order. [http://www.answers.com/topic/peace]. Progress is commonly defined as movement (advancement) as toward a goal; development or growth [http://www.answers.com/topic/progress]. In order for there to be growth in the human race, children have to be born through the trauma (struggle) of childbirth. Consider the metamorphosis of a butterfly; they are by nature unique in that they go through the process of metamorphosis; a distinct transformation process from egg to larva then pupa to adulthood. [http://www.bonsaigardener.org/bonsai_176.html]. When the butterfly comes forth from its cocoon in the final stage of metamorphosis before it becomes an adult, it has to fight its way out ‘for peace (liberty) and progress’! The reason for this is that the butterfly needs to go through this period of struggle in order to become strong enough to fly and survive. The same is true for progress to take place and be sustainable.

So what then can we say about the need for peace and progress? I believe that there is certainly a climate in which we can experience peace and progress however it may not be in line with popular thinking on the subject. As we have not known a state of genuine peace since the times of the Garden of Eden, this definition of peace seems somewhat fallacious.  To think of a world with no quarrels of any kind, where we are all in harmonious agreement always, no physical or verbal ‘cold’ wars, no family disputes and dramas… Surely such a utopian existence can only exist in heaven? The reality is that the world as we know it has never been in a state of true peace as the definition above suggests. 

Peace is a progressive development from one state to another, fighting through each stage to gain a new experience of a version of it as we evolve through life. Peace is therefore very much dependent on perspective and what you as an individual deem is possible to gain from any one state in life.
A more progressive position to the norm is one where peace is viewed as the result of victory though a struggle than to think of peace being devoid of war or disharmony. Therefore, ‘ for the sake of peace and progress’, one would compromise on one part and fight their corner on the other. That is; a workable balance of needs resulting in a semblance of peace. One which is driven by the understanding that to have all your own way is to leave the other at a disadvantage which results in strife and disunity that is counterproductive in the pursuit of peace.

Therefore, peace could be re-defined as a state of overcoming in times of struggle or finding a place of victory in difficult times / situations. Peace indeed is characterised by struggle; an internal battle to swallow one’s pride, set aside one’s own choices, views and sometimes even beliefs. It is also an external struggle to ‘keep the peace’ whilst not losing your stance, finding a way not to rock the proverbial boat without selling your soul... It is a constant work of frustration by my reckoning and very much unlike the thoughts of harmonious tranquil utopian existence one ponders upon when they think of it…

The greatest progress we can make as people is to accept that our original thoughts on the matter are flawed and instead of consistently reaching out for this utopian place called peace, for the sake of peace and progress, let us recognise that peace is a journey, not a destination and that it is with each daily decision, each battle, each struggle, that we can find ourselves progressing towards it, heavenward…


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