Creating Peace & Addressing the Causes of Violence.
A Great Advance in Pursuit of Life Liberty and Harmony.
Criteria of Social Harmony
Mutual concern and respect for nature are essential attitudes for the establishment of standards that promote and secure; cleaner air, less-toxic food, cleaner water, decent shelter, adequate clothing, safer medicine and less violent social power relations. Safely fulfilling these basic needs depends on the strategies, commitments, and cooperation of society as a whole. 1
People’s behaviors are related to learned ethics, habits, and skills. Other variables include biological influences, sociological influences and individual predispositions or psychological states.
Problem of Ignorance Solution
The solution to the problems of ignorance resides in the measures of prevention, readiness and modes of response available in any given culture. Nonviolent education, good parenting and constructive social reinforcements provide individuals with opportunities to practice, develop, and mature with ethics, habits, and skills that do not restrict, limit, or harm potentials of self, society, or the natural world– upon which we depend.
Problem Statement of Behavior
There are many habitual or systemic events occurring in our modern world that jeopardize or harm life. Destructive behaviors are both the cause and consequence of ignorance and mental illnesses are evident in illogical anti-life behaviors such as the manufacture of toxic pollution. Problems systemic of ignorance are of critical concern because problems caused by ignorance often lower the quality of life and even impose violent impositions including interrupted or defective development. The spread of abnormal behaviors which perpetuates the cycle of destruction by the mode of conditional modeling or vicarious learning requires timely and forceful safety interventions be made to minimize harm and re-direct resources toward more positive and productive ends.
To some extent levels of social equality and the freedoms enjoyed are determined by the willingness to fulfill basic responsibilities. Unmet basic needs, for example; healthy food, water, shelter, medicine, or care and any abuse of power responsible for creating harsh conditions such as starvation, homelessness, or terror represent violations against life. Victims who struggle to survive or perish are indicators of social shortcomings and failures of systems that do not adequately support life. Do unfair distribution equations maintain the hierarchy of a class system that assigns or results in privilege and poverty? Poverty demonstrates the unintelligent abuse of natural resources. Poverty causes misery and immense physical and psychological devastation. Where ignorance and harmful prejudices inflict pain and suffering, justice and freedom stand abused. Nothing, not even material wealth arguments, can rationalize the gross trespasses against human rights committed by those who directly or indirectly maintain deprivation. In 1849, Fredrick Douglass wrote, "Find out what people will submit to and you have the exact amount of injustice and wrong that will be imposed upon them." 2 This point illustrates the complicity relationship needed for the toleration of abuses and also suggests the demise of the popular them versus us or enemy concepts that are often expressed by opposing parties. The important concept of self-determination and self-responsibility is also convincingly implied in his statement.
Argument for Reforms
Do some people violate life in compromises and transactions that feed the disease of greed and spread the flames of uncontrolled desire? Greed and gross material fixations are directly linked to counterproductive social and environmental trends in war and commerce. Environmental pressures such as natural limits to nonrenewable resources have helped to inspire some corrections in behaviors. Public education programs like recycling continue to encourage a positive modification of destructive or wasteful behaviors.
Personal Contributions to Progress
To focus on the betterment of the world, we need Positive Negative Input Output Analysis. If a person intentionally strives to reduce negatives and increase positives through behavior modification, habit elimination, adaptation (learning), rehabilitation, reinvention, or the solidification of a healthier self concept an improved condition and an increase in awareness will likely result. In consequence, self esteem and empathy levels may be positively impacted. The proposed procedure is to help the client list all positive associations and all negative associations they have with their own life. To reduce tension, it is important to indicate that the number of items on each side is not crucial. The goal is to empower the decision maker with skills so that they can independently take control over their use of time in a way that limits controllable negative influences and to increase, or maximize the exposure of positive experiences.
The degree of the persuasion of social forces or super ego (Frued) really depends on a persons personality and the level of empathy and the level of awareness the individual has developed. A narcisist may seek to appear favorable to others, whereas someone with an inferiority complex may project dominance as a compensation or coping mechanism and be less concerned about what others think about them. The explaination here attempts to give some insight into how and why mass madness exists and how it produces destructive behavior in hopes that we find ways to remedy or better address the human needs it implies.
Better Public Education
Today, less-toxic and even nonpolluting energy supplies are available. Sustainable production and fairer distribution methods are available to select from. Nonviolent practices that preserve and spread proportional representative democracy are available including better voting methods like range voting. These better options involve better social and economic systems and improved health care. However, implementation of many safer options has been difficult, in part because such changes require existing institutions, industry leaders, and consumers to alter their existing behaviors. In some cases, changes require some activities to be corrected or come to a halt altogether. Therefore, conversion incentives and educational opportunities are very important in combating ignorance and stimulating progressive development.
There is a great need for educating people about the sustainable options that exist, especially when and where unhealthy competitive ideas, strictly controlled or monopolized communications, and poorly managed public education are rampant. The implementation of sustainable choices depends on public opinions and personal actions. Why are viable options often unfairly stigmatized or marginalized, portrayed as too idealistic, labeled ineffective or criticized as being impractical? Are competitive practices always fair? If not, at what point does competition become unhealthy and require intervention? Would more severe penalties deter the production of harmful products and false information? Not unless the penalties are greater than the financial incentives that often come with and attempt to validate the acceptance of the dangers. Tobacco contains hazardous materials, but scientists were paid to say smoking was not bad for your health under misleading public representations (Howard Ris 2001). When cost analysis conclude it is less expensive to settle claims than it is to recall a product, the decision to recall or not, is both ethical and economic. In far to many instances serious risks are permitted to remain by considering the financial risks alone. The downside of the modern corporation legal definition is that it permits accountability to be limited to the assests of the company which is viewed as a person, thus once exectutives pay themselves and there is little left at risk to the company, other than to share-holders, the tendency is to not be as invested in the concern of legal liability. This impacts ethical decisions, often making them subject to analysis that looks to financial considerations only. The result is greater margins of error, more corruption, and much less accountability or care. The practice of a corporate shelter has corrupted the moral and contaminated the better attributes of what free market capitalism originally set out to accomplish which was the basic supply and demand with competition at the base to control quality and pricing. Laws that attempt to recognize a corporation as a person, instead of allowing liability to belong to the people driving a company versus sharholders who own it in part through shares, while giving them both protections unequal to what common citizens are granted is unconstitutional and should never have been granted in the halls of justice.
When biological conditions worsen, the need for a better way of life increases. People can become more informed about sustainable options and many eagerly embrace more intelligent ways to live when presented with such opportunities, especially if the incentives for doing so are clearly promoted. Many people want a less violent society, with less crime, less sickness and less suffering, but understandably most people are consumed by just tryingt o make ends meet and taking care fo their families.
Are people beginning to understand that the quality of life we enjoy greatly depends on the acceptance of relevant challenges, the identification and creation of what is needed, and the demise of less useful ideas and wasteful lifestyles? Our society once accepted segregation as normal, but times and attitudes have changed. For instance, ten years ago the ever-popular Marlboro Man stood for many as a, "cool" role model icon. Today, the image has been tarnished by warning signs, lawsuits and the announcement of the obvious link between smoking, cancer, and the less glamorous tragedies that result from the unhealthy risks of smoking. Yet many common carcinogenic materials are still produced and tolerated despite the fact that leading health researchers project one in three women and one half of all men in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of cancer at some point in their lives.3
Freedom to Choose
The options and choices that people select directly influence humanity’s course. That is one reason why choices and opinions are so valued. Like many valuable attributes in life, the freedom to choose is a central tenant of freedom, yet many choices are made for the common people when we are developing by both our caretakers and others such as elected leaders. The right to be free from impositions or oppression depends on identifying self-limiting and destructive behaviors and correcting them on an individual and social wide scale. Self-responsibility calls for using what you have to work with and doing your best for the greater good.
The resolute will power of determined and positively spirited persons makes contributions to the world that consistently demonstrates that the pathways to the sublime realities of peace and love are in fact still existent, even in the midst of such horrendous pain and suffering common to the human condition. The countless beneficial works of humanity far outweigh even the most horrible deeds, but relatively recent dangerous technological advances have produced harmful toxic arsenals and waste bi-products (whether used or not) that demand careful scrutiny and wise timely resolutions. Due to arguments made in medical and scientific communities, it is clear the problem of toxic waste production and nuclear power poses unresolved threats. These problems are of top concern because they represent the greatest harm in the short and long term to our world in terms of the number of life forms adversly being impacted and the severity of the impact.
Violence in America
It is understandable that the issues of security and safety are among leading concerns, but to often, people focus on treating problems after they have developed rather than preventing them. Discovery of the contributing factors of problems is essential in the solution process. The world watches, as violent crimes such as hate crime, gun violence, internal and external terrorism, drug-related crimes, and prison populations mount. There are a grossly disproportionate number of African American, Latino Americans, and Native American Indians serving time in U.S. correctional facilities. There is also evidence of a fast growing, increasingly violent incarcerated women and youth offender population. Nothing short of more realistic and fairer economic, industrial, and educational systems will halt the destructive trends that are within our control.
Even though crimes such as domestic violence and rape have been among the most prevalent forms of crime in the U.S., women, girls and potential perpetrators still suffer a lack of services and assistance to prevent and reduce such social problems.
The Implementation of Resolutions
Democratic forums, dialog, discourse and even dissent helps people identify needs and can help facilitate the implementation of resolutions. Bad habits that build disasters can often be prevented and reversed with adequate interventions. Some brave pioneers continue to develop alternatives, but ultimately it is up to each of us to use our available skills and knowledge to respond to and alleviate crisis or need. Sometimes that means listening to our intuition and following our instinct instead of following orders, trends, or traditions that contradict good intentions or common sense. There is no better form of justice than direct justice.
Education and favorable biological conditions are the bedrock human development and survival. Big business and government drastically impact academic programs in funding processes, mandated curriculums, and the direction of research and training. By examining the financial grant histories, it is clear that both private and federal interests have encouraged growth and development is some areas of knowledge over others, at different periods throughout history. In affirming Gandhi’s statement that everything is political, it should be clarified that choices have consequences and understanding that choices are predetermined by the selection of one preference over another implies the removal or suppression of other choices. Thus, part of the empowerment process is to consider all available options and to refine an ability to pick the least harmful choice. That decision making process is consistent with nonviolent or responsible action and it places a greater emphasis on the whole versus individual desire.
Will humanity choose a great advance towards peace and justice or will we chose an unparalleled social decline? Will a dooms day scenerio prevail or will we revise the armagetton (archytype) myth and replace it with a new more hopeful and more promising one? Dr. Gordan and others before him remind us, "Those who don’t know their history are likely to repeat it." 4
Responding to What is Discovered to be Harmful
Death and decay are inevitable, but the continuation of life is only possible under supporting conditions. Although the tendencies to interpret, predict, and live out the prophecies of doom are conditioned in many people whom seem to be working ceaselessly to bring about terrible miserable realities, there are people on the planet asserting that life should be free from violent impositions and oppressive limitations. How should common people respond to behaviors and decisions that impact the planet or people in a harmful way?
War and toxic chemicals continue to pose the threat of increased mutation, disease and extinction. Likewise, the list of extinctions grows due to such impositions. The enforcement of needed environmental protections could significantly reduce the elimination of species. Many crises, such as the contamination of the biosphere, are directly related to self-limiting and correctable human behaviors.
Allowing substances or products into our marketplace that are known or that are found to cause ecological damages is murderous and suicidal.9 Contaminated environments reinforce wretched irresponsible behaviors because a) the prevalent existence of such environments makes the process of contamination appear normal, and b) weakened environments cause weakened genetic diversity and exhibit damages in existing life. As a result of contamination, genetically damaged offspring are known to be deformed to suffer from developmental disabilities and disorders that give way to other abnormal biological or mental health conditions. Dangerous habits such as the consumption of or overexposure to altered and cumulative harmful materials, substances and chemical gasses be they in air, food, or water is a common denominator in the leading causes of illness and death (i.e. cancer and accidents). Clearly, we have no choice but to accept the given circumstances, but that does not mean people must tolerate or condone ongoing abuses. The government is charged with regulating and even controlling the production and containment of toxic waste it licenses for military and industrial use, but it has utterly failed for a number of reasons. Thus, the safety and welfare of the world is being assulted to a degree that survival itself is a now commonly debated topic in scientific arenas. The task modern leaders face in correcting such problems to the extent the crises may be reduced is only a reasonable expectation if the people support our leaders and demand real changes!
Solution to the problem of illogical invention
Inventions can be measured by tests that reveal harmful results. Responsible and rigorous methods should ensure that inventions are not negatively limiting existing and future inventions. Threatening, dangerous, and hazardous inventions need to be deemed failures and be suppressed until remedies are found to neutralize or eliminate those harmful side effects or results. This idea is analogous to the recall of food products that are found to be harmful. Of course, in the scientific community there would be much debate over what inventions would be recalled and what the standard measure for success and failure would be, but that bridge is one that must be crossed steadily and cautiously. The fact is there needs to be more attention, intelligence, discretion and caution exercised. 10
With adequate education, people may understand that while we are unique individuals, we also share much in common and are connected to the biosphere as Dr. Lovelock’s Gaia hypotheses of 1979 convincingly suggests.11 People can recognize intricate relationships though there are distinct levels of development which have numerous variables that impact the degree of understanding attained.
Humanity has much work to do to earn the trust, respect, and honor befitting a noble civilization that demonstrates and lives up to the responsibilities of freedom. As long as the age old quest for progress persists in alert minds, people will continue to build pathways that aim to allow us to enjoy a greater degree of freedom and a greater understanding of ourselves.
1. Ghali, B.B. (1991-1997.) United Nations Sixth Secretary General. Inspired by his quote, "Peace in the largest sense can not be accomplished by the United Nations system alone. Nongovernmental organizations, parliamentarians, business and professional communities, the public at large must all be involved." United Nations:
2. Douglass, F. (1849). See http://www.phillyburbs.com/BHM/Douglass/index.shtml
3. American Cancer Society. (Aug 2nd 2000). Phone verification. 1-800-ACS-2345
4. Gordon, J. S. M.D. (1999). Annual Health Conference UCSF, San Francisco, CA.
5. King, M.L. Jr. (1929-1968). See Stanford University MLK Papers Project: http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/
6. Kripalani, K. (1988). All men are brothers. New York: Continuum.
7. King, M. L. Jr. (April 16th 1963). Why we can’t wait, Letter from Birmingham jail. New York: Harper & Row. See Stanford University MLK Papers Project http://www.stanford.edu/group/King/
8. Potter, V. R. (1971). BioEthics bridge to the future. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.
9. Inspired by Carson, R. (1962). Silent spring. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.
10. Potter, V. R. (1971). BioEthics bridge to the future. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc.
11. Lovelock, J.E. (1979). Gaia. New York: Oxford University Press.