Modern society, as we can observe, is inundated in chaos, quarrel, and confusion. Every time we turn on the TV, we see people killing each other, fighting over position and power, trying to dominate others through fear and intimidation, people starving, people running away from their countries to save their lives, people stealing from others, cheating others and causing pain and suffering. The list goes on. We wonder, looking at all of this, what can we, one small person, possibly do to help in bringing peace to the world?
Yes, our society has made major advancements in science and technology — particularly in the last few decades — yet it has fallen even further into chaos, failing to deliver any semblance of global peace and happiness. As Martin Luther King Jr. once wisely said:
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men. Click To Tweet
Party Spirit Blindness
Put simply, it’s our inability to accept our differences that lies at the core of our division. According to our society’s norm, if someone is not ‘with’ you or your group, then they are (nearly) always taken as someone who is ‘against’ you. We call this way of thinking “party spirit”. The idea that you belong to a certain caste, creed, color, designation, group, country, sexuality or belief is what’s causing us to fight amongst ourselves.
The specific designations and labels that we have accepted as our identity have led us into thinking that those who have different labels are our adversaries — that we are ‘right’ and they are ‘wrong’. Incredibly, this entrenched manner of viewing the world actually leads some of us to believe that people who oppose our beliefs, culture, and certain practices or rituals are not worthy of living. Quite a primitive way of thinking for a so-called ‘advanced’ civilization.
And this party blindness is not conducive to only hate and fear. In many cases, it is also at the core of what we call ‘love‘. And it leads to all kinds of trouble. All the way from terrible (and sometimes tragic) personal relationships to guru worship, this inability to appreciate and learn from our differences causes continual suffering.
Learning to ‘See’ Again
It is integral to remember that, regardless of the (often vast) differences in our beliefs, we are all human beings sharing one home. At our essence, we are not black, white, Asian, American, Hispanic or African. Let us all try to understand that we are brothers and sisters and that any conflict between interests can be resolved by accepting that which is given to us according to nature’s arrangement.
We may not be able to agree with everyone, and everyone may not be able to agree with us, but that is something which we simply, in so many cases, cannot control. If we try to change that fact, then we are trying to control others, and once this starts we end up coming full circle to all of the strife and misery mentioned at the beginning of this article.
By insisting on what we want and imposing it onto others, we continue to feed the fire that has engulfed our society for so long. And while we’ve survived so far, it should be obvious to anyone paying attention that we are now coming dangerously close to the edge.
So it’s time for a different tactic. A more mature one. If we cannot change the world, we must change how we see it.
Let Go or Be Dragged
As much as we may like to think we are in control, it is ultimately a fallacy. Time, nature — often even our own experiences — are things we are merely subject to. Understanding this very significant truth is the beginning of knowledge and the path to a peaceful life.
There are times when we try everything our mind tells us in an effort to get things to go according to our plan. Yet so often things still fall out of place. Sometimes people who are very kind, generous, and welcoming are visited by tragedy, leaving us to ask ‘why did it have to be them? Why not this fellow over there? Why do bad things happen to good people and sometimes good things happen to bad people?’
There is no knowing. Maybe these things happen for a reason. Maybe they don’t. Either way, if we do not learn to accept them, in one way or another, we will suffer.
Growing Up — By Helping Ourselves
It’s obvious that continuing on the path that our species is on will only lead to further chaos. Each of us should carefully consider changing the way we live and the way we think. What are we doing that we know we shouldn’t be doing? What are we not doing that we know we should be doing? It’s only us that can answer these questions for ourselves. Material progress and technological advancement are not bad — they are neutral, just like money is, but it’s the outcome of their use that dictates our maturity as a global society.
If we can learn to accept (and even appreciate) our differences, yet agree on a few core things — say, the health of the planet and one another — then we can get our goals straight and learn how to harness our technology in order to achieve those goals.
Thus, the one thing each of us can do to bring peace to the world is to work on ourselves. If we can learn to change our own ways, we become and agent for change.
Live your life and be an example to everyone around you. For us to convince others we, within ourselves, must first be convinced.