Sunday, September 20, 2009

World Peace Day


Whether world peace is achievable or not depends on what exactly we mean by it.

The utopian ideal of conflict-free interaction between all humans (or even all sentient beings) seems quite improbable to achieve, most basically because of the wide ranges of behaviour and personal circumstances there exist. Some people, acting in some manner, in some circumstances, are likely to get into a conflict over one thing or another. Indeed, the case can be made that if we did not conflict in any way with others, we would either be totally independent from them (rendering the issue moot) or we would have none of the individuality that makes us human.

Most interpretations of the concept are not so extreme, however. For one thing, there are many kinds of conflicts. If we only include armed conflicts, world peace may simply entail the resolution of all minor conflicts through nonviolent means (and possibly, the strong guarantee that this will always remain so�whatever is required for that). If, on the other hand, we interpret world peace as the total absence of things like trade conflicts or border disputes, achieving it becomes quite a bit more difficult.

Even if world peace (in whatever sense it is taken) is unachievable, this doesn't imply that striving for it is not a worthy (personal) goal. In this sense (and others), it is much like perfection.

Some historians identify a long-term trend where nation-states stop fighting and become united. For example, old Europe with wars culminating in World War I and World War II, compared with the European Union; warring Chinese states compared with the modern Chinese nation. Some historians theorize that the world will eventually follow this pattern as well.

Dr. Frank Laubach, an American missionary to the Philippines in 1935 saw poverty, injustice and illiteracy as impediments to world peace. He developed the "Each One Teach One" literacy program which taught about 60 million people to read in their own language.

World peace is often claimed to be the inevitable result of some political ideology. Thus, communist thinkers such as Leon Trotsky assumed that the world revolution would lead to a communist world peace, and neoliberal thinkers such as Francis Fukuyama assumed that the rise of Western democracy will inevitably lead to the "end of history".

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