"If a man sings of God and hears of Him, And lets love of God sprout within him, All his sorrows shall vanish, And in his mind, God will bestow abiding peace." --Sikhism
"A Muslim is one who surrenders to the will of Allah and is an establisher of peace (while Islam means establishment of peace, Muslim means one who establishes peace through his actions and conduct)."--Islam
"The Lord lives in the heart of every creature. He turns them round and round upon the wheel of Maya. Take refuge utterly in Him. By his grace you will find supreme peace, and the state which is beyond all change." --Hinduism
"The whole of the Torah is for the purpose of promoting peace." --Judaism
"All things exist for world peace." --Perfect Liberty Kyodan "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God." --Christianity
"Peace ... comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their openness, with the universe and all its powers and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us."--From The Sacred Pipe, by Black Elk, Lakota Sioux Medicine Man
This paper is about different spiritual and religious traditions in the world and how they have or could in the future contribute to the creation of a global culture of peace. As the above quotations indicate, almost all of the world's religions, in their own sacred writings and scriptures, say that they support "peace". Yet it is a known fact that war and violence have often been undertaken historically, as well as at present, in the name of religion (as is discussed further below). Yet religions profess to want peace. So what is 'peace'? And how have religions historically helped to promote peace, and how might they help create a more peaceful world in the 21st century? These are a few of the questions that this paper will attempt to explore.
Traditionally many people focus on how wars and conflicts are seemingly undertaken
for religious reasons, or at least undertaken in the name of religion. Indeed,
it is not difficult to find data and statistics in support of this hypothesis.
Quincy Wright, in his monumental study, A Study of War , documents numerous
wars and armed conflicts that involve a direct or indirect religious component,
(Wright, 1941) as does Lewis Richardson in his statistical treatise, Statistics
of Deadly Quarrels. (Richardson, 1960)
As the Cold War has ended and inter-ethnic conflicts have re-emerged in many parts of the world, it has indeed been a popular thesis of different writers to argue that these inter-ethnic conflicts often have a religious component. A few examples of such recent writing include: Samuel Huntington's, "The Clash of Civilizations," Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993); Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics; and R. Scott Appleby, Religious Fundamentalisms and Global Conflict.
Following UNESCO's lead in holding two conferences on "The Contributions of Religions to a Culture of Peace" (both held in Barcelona, Spain, in April 1993 and December 1994), and other interfaith dialogues between different religions that are occurring in a serious way around the planet--including the World Parliament of Religions, in Chicago, August 1993; 1and the ongoing work of the World Council on Religion and Peace--this paper will focus instead on how religious and spiritual traditions can contribute to creating a more peaceful world via an exploration of the foundations for both inner and outer peace in the twenty first-century. The paper will have four parts:
Part I begins by providing a framework for looking at all the world's religions as having a potential spectrum of perspectives, including: the external, socially-learned, cultural or exoteric part --including different religious organizations, rituals, and beliefs, which are passed down from one generation to the next, and the internal, mystical, direct spiritual experience or esoteric part. In considering the external aspects of religion, principles from the field of intercultural communication are used to explore the creation of tolerance, understanding and valuing of diversity concerning different aspects of socially learned behavior or culture, including religion.
Fundamentalism or religious extremism or fanaticism--when religions claim their version of religion is the only one--are seen as an extreme form of the socially-learned aspect of religion and one not conducive to creating world peace. In considering the internal or esoteric aspects of religion, it is noted that all the world's religions began with someone who had a mystical enlightenment or revelatory experience, which they then tried to share with others, leading often to the formation of new religions--even though this was not the intention of the original founder. Parallels between new scientific paradigms and ancient mystical traditions from the world's religions are then noted to illustrate how contemporary dynamic, interconnected, whole systems ways of experiencing and viewing reality can be seen as providing necessary conditions "within the individual" for creating an external global culture of peace in the world.
Part II continues the exploration of the inner and outer aspects of religion and culture. Here, three different topical areas are explored: first, the work of Pitirim Sorokin on the alternation historically within Western cultures between ideational/spiritual/inner values and sensate/materialistic/outer values; second, the evolution or change historically from female to mixed to male aspects of divinity within different religions and cultures, as this relates to changing values and worldviews; and third, the work of Joseph Campbell and the universal theme of "the hero's journey" (or search for inner meaning) in the myths of all cultures--even though the outer form of the journey can vary from one culture to the next.
Part III traces the evolution of the concept of "peace" within Western peace research, including the recent development of more holistic definitions of peace that are consistent with the ideas explored in Part I of this paper. The conceptual shift involved in moving from peace as absence of war through peace as absence of large scale physical and structural violence (negative and positive peace respectively) to more holistic definitions of peace that apply across all levels and include both an inner and an outer dimension, represents a substantial broadening of the peace concept in Western peace research. Part III then uses the above evolution in the concept of peace as a framework to explore different dimensions of "a culture of peace," as well as different dimensions of "nonviolence." Gandhian, spiritually-based nonviolence is seen as a link between inner and outer forms of peace.
Part IV argues that Western peace research has focused almost entirely on outer peace, but that in future it needs to deal with both inner and outer aspects of peace in a more balanced way. In order to do this, it is suggested that peace research elaborate on the different dimensions and levels of inner peace, just as it has done for outer peace, and that it expand its methodology to include other ways of knowing besides social scientific methods only. Finally, peace research needs to redress the inbalance between negative and positive images of peace by exploring not only what it wants to eliminate, for example war and starvation, but also what it wants to create in a positive sense.
Please note that this paper is an ongoing project that will become a book. At present, some sections of the paper are developed more than others, but the basic framework is here. Please contact the writers in the future for later elaborations of this writing. We offer this version of the paper with humility, aware that further revisions and elaborations are necessary.
Before considering the external and internal aspects of religion, it is important to note that within any religion, there is a potential spectrum of possible perspectives on the teachings of that particular religion or spiritual tradition, including how those teachings relate to world peace. First, there is religion as socially-learned behavior, i.e., as part of culture--what can be called "organized religion." Here religious beliefs, rituals, and institutions are learned and passed down from one generation to the next, and religious institutions are an integral part of the social structure and fabric of culture.
When religious beliefs take the form of rigid dogma, and the believers' beliefs and behavior are known to be right, while those of non believers, or other religions--or even different variants within one's own religion--are known to be wrong, this leads into what has been variously called "fundamentalism" or "fanaticism" or "extremism"--a global trend in almost all of the world's religions today.
At the other extreme are mystical traditions which are based on direct inner spiritual experiences. Here, such mystical, revelatory, or enlightenment experiences (rather than socially learned behavior and beliefs) constitute an important part of one's spiritual life. Such spiritual experiences have also occurred in mystics from all the world's religions throughout the ages. Indeed, the founders of the world's religions were themselves usually mystics, i.e., people who had revelatory or enlightenment experiences which they then tried to share, as best they could, with others--even though they were often not trying to establish a new religion at the time (which was often left to their followers to do).Given these considerations, it is possible to look at any religion as having a potential spectrum of different forms within it, each discussed separately in the paper, as follows:
MYSTICAL/SPIRITUAL______ORGANIZED RELIGION______FUNDAMENTAL TRADITIONS AND BELIEFS OR EXTREMISM
|(direct inner experience)||(part of social learning and culture)||(my dogma/beliefs are right and yours are wrong; also social learning and culture)|
|Figure 1: Spectrum of Potential Perspectives
Within Any Religion
It is interesting that mystics of all religions can usually communicate with each other and appreciate the spiritual or God force operating within each other--no matter what religious tradition the other mystics come from. Organized religion is often tolerant of different religious traditions, as seen in ecumenical movements around the world, but there can be misunderstanding between religions based on differing beliefs and practices. These misunderstandings can be lessened by educational programs focusing on the appreciation and understanding of cultural and religious diversity. But fundamentalism often stresses how one particular interpretation--of religion, scripture, and religious practices--is right and other interpretations are wrong. This difficulty of fundamentalists, from any religion, in dealing with diversity in a tolerant manner presents a major problem for peaceful relations and understanding between religions and cultures and hinders the creation of a global culture of peace.
If the whole world were mystics--who tend to honor the mystical
experience in people from all the world's religions--world peace would be easier
to achieve than it is today. But mystics are a very small percentage of the
world's population and so misunderstandings, conflicts, and wars have often
resulted historically, in part at least, over different religious interpretations
of what constitutes proper beliefs, practices, rituals, and organizational forms,
i.e., over the socially- learned aspects of religion.
This section of the paper will look at exoteric or outer forms of religion, i.e., religion as part of our socially-learned behavior or culture--whether it takes the form of traditional organized religion or a more extremist or fundamentalist form, and how principles from intercultural communication and conflict resolution can help people deal constructively with cultural and religious diversity.
"Religion is man's inability to cope with the immensity of God." Arnold Toynbee
"Rain falling in different parts of the world flows through thousands of channels to reach the ocean...and so, too, religions and theologies, which all come from man's yearning for meaning, they too, flow in a thousand ways, fertilizing many fields, refreshing tired people, and at last reach the ocean." Sathya Sai Baba
One way of looking at religion is as part of culture through socially learned behavior. "Culture" can be defined as learned, shared, patterned behavior, as reflected in technology and tools; social organizations, including economic, political, religious, media, educational and family organizations; and ideas. In this way, religion is shared by a group of people, learned and passed down from one generation to the next, and is clearly reflected in both religious organizations and beliefs. "Socialization" is the process through which culture is learned, including our religious beliefs and practices. The agents or institutions of socialization include language, (a factor individuals are often least conscious of), politics, economics, religion, education, family, and media.
While Anthropologists have often studied one culture, including its institutions, in depth, others have undertaken cross-cultural, comparative studies. More recently the field of intercultural communication has emerged, (Groff, 1992) as witnessed in the emergence of specialist inter-cultural organizations, such as The Society for Intercultural Education, Training, and Research (SIETAR). While cross-cultural studies deal with comparing some aspect of life, such as religious institutions and beliefs, from one culture to another, intercultural communication deals with the dynamic interaction patterns that emerge when peoples from two or more different cultures, including religions, come together to interact, communicate, and dialogue or negotiate with each other. There are general principles of intercultural communication. There are also studies of particular cultures interacting, based on a belief that when persons from any two specific different cultures come together to interact with each other, that they will create their own dynamic interaction process, based on the underlying values of both groups, just as any two individuals will also create their own dynamic interaction process.
A significant problem with organized religion and belief, as this relates to peace and conflict, is individuals and groups often confuse the map (their socially-learned version of reality or culture or religion) with the territory (or ultimate reality), as elaborated below. Thus people believe that their personal or subjective version of reality or religion is valid, while other views are invalid. Instead it can be argued that the many maps are different, but possibly equally valid interpretations and attempts to understand the same underlying reality or territory.
Fundamentalism seems to be a trend in almost all the world's religions today. The term "fundamentalism" had its origins in "a late 19th and early 20th century transdenominational Protestant movement that opposed the accommodation of Christian doctrine to modern scientific theory and philosophy. With some differences among themselves, Christian fundamentalists insist on belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, the virgin birth and divinity of Jesus Christ, the vicarious and atoning character of his death, his bodily resurrection, and his second coming as the irreducible minimum of authentic Christianity." (Grolier, 1993) More recently the concept has been applied not only to conservative, evangelical Protestants, but also to any Christian group which adopts a literal interpretation of the Bible and to groups from other religious traditions who similarly base their religious views on a particular and exclusive, literal interpretation of their holy book. For example, radical Islamic groups, such as Islamic Jihad, are seen as examples of Islamic fundamentalism, although a different term is preferred. In the Islamic tradition the word fundamentalism, when translated into Arabic, has a completely different and positive meaning. In Arab countries the appropriate word for describing literal religious fanaticism is "extremism." (Al-Dajani, 1993) In this paper the term "fundamentalism" is used in the broad sense to portray any religious group or sect from any religious tradition, which adopts purely literal, as opposed to metaphorical or mythical, interpretations of their holy book, and which denies the validity of other interpretations or religious traditions, believing truth resides with their perspective only.
Because fundamentalists in any religion turn the beliefs of their religion into dogma, and also tend to interpret the scriptures of their religion in a literal way only, thus missing the many subtle levels of meaning as well as analogies with teachings from other world religions, they can end up stressing primarily how they are different from other world religions, and even from different interpretations within their own religion, rather than stressing any commonalities they might share with other world religions. This more limited interpretation of their scripture can then lead to dogmatic views that their interpretation of religion, and reality, is correct and everyone else is wrong.
An interesting and important question for peace research and future studies is why there is such an upsurge in fundamentalism in so many of the world's religions in so many different parts of the world today? Of the many possible explanations for this phenomena, two hypotheses will be explored here. The most obvious hypothesis would argue that people are overwhelmed by the increasing pace of change today, and are desperately seeking something that they can believe in as a mooring to help them through all this change in the outer world which is uprooting their lives and creating great insecurities in their lives. In the case of fundamentalism, this can involve returning to some over-idealized vision of their religious roots, which may never have existed in the idealized form that they remember, and trying to literally enforce that interpretation of reality on all the members of their group. In such situations, people may need time to try to go back to a stringently defined earlier way of life and see if they can make it work, and only when they see that the world has changed too much to return to the past will they then be ready to move forward into the future. This hypothesis is consistent with the view that any religious or spiritual tradition needs to be constantly adapted to the world in which it finds itself--if it wishes to remain a living, breathing, spiritual force that people experience in their lives, rather than become an outdated institution based on dogma or rules.
A second related hypothesis, to explain the rise of fundamentalism in the world today, relates to the dual trend towards both globalism, as well as localism. The globalization process of the last 50 years has led to a dramatic increase in global governance structures, including an expansion of the multi- faceted United Nations (UN) system, an increase in scope of regional economic and political organizations, such as the European Community (EC) and the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA), and the continuing proliferation and development of International Governmental Organizations (IGOs). The growth in IGOs and the increase in size and scope of United Nations activities, such as the expanded scope of United Nations Peace Keeping operations, has had a major impact on international relations.
A similar expansion of activities can be seen in the work of various international scientific, educational and cultural organizations, as indexed by the continued growth in International Non Governmental Organizations (INGOs). Millions of individuals are routinely engaged in the work of INGOs, whose activities span the whole range of human experience, including agriculture, art, communications, economics, education, environment, health, music, politics, religion, sport and transportation. Additionally, the world has witnessed the growth of an increasingly integrated global economy, as manifested in interdependent national economies and the evolution of multinational corporations (MNCs) and transnational corporations (TNCs) operating in just about every country worldwide. Many of these companies are economic giants, dwarfing all but a few of the world's national economies.
An apparently contradictory worldwide trend towards local identity and ethnicity has also emerged as a major factor shaping events in the world today. In the wake of the end of the old East-West Cold War confrontation, we are witnessing a worldwide increase in local ethnic conflict, sometimes nonviolent but too often violent and very bloody, and often involving a religious dimension. These "local conflicts" are often proving to be intense and intractable, embedded in centuries of mistrust and hatred, and too often crystallized around and sanctioned, implicitly or explicitly, by particular religious institutions.
This localization process is every bit as profound as the overarching trend towards globalization, and in fact it is perhaps best conceived as neither in opposition to, nor separate from, that process. Globalization and localization are so interconnected and interdependent that localization is best conceptualized as an essential complement of the globalization process. This view suggests that the integration of the big system, the creation of a new world order, requires a sense of meaning at the local level, requires human beings to experience coherence and balance within the local socio-cultural context. The rise of fundamentalism, it can be argued, is associated with this interdependence of the globalization and localization processes and the resulting pressures to achieve coherence at the local level in the face of the vast scope of the global supersystems.
The coherence in individuals' lives is, to a greater or lesser degree, associated with culturalization, with what the world means and how meaning in life and death is interpreted. Multicultural interpretations of the globalization - localization interdependency argue, as a consequence, that religion should not be the same in all societies, that it will and must have personal, local and global dimensions that manifest themselves in a rich variety of cultural forms and expressions.
This paper will subsequently further argue that the diversity of organized world religions--if also recognizing a deeper spiritual unity that connects this outer diversity--is a necessary requirement for the creation of a new culture of peace in the 21st century. If, as many believe, the underlying spiritual reality of the world's religions is the same, it can be argued that the cultural expression of that reality in the material world, the world's organized religions, must necessarily be different, in tune with the rich tapestry of our many global cultures, if we are to sustain the dynamic globalization-localization balance in a nonviolent, multicultural form.
"And the question for today is: 'What is Reality?"-- cartoon caption under a group of aliens or space beings [or people from different cultures or religions] sitting around a table.
"The message sent is often not the message received."-- Basic tenet from the field of Intercultural Communication
As noted above, intercultural communication deals with what happens when people from different cultures, including religions, come together to communicate, interact, and even negotiate with each other. Individuals each carry around some different version of "reality" or culture in their heads, based on socialization (or learning) by the different agents or institutions of socialization in their culture, including religion, and based on different individual and collective life experiences. This worldview provides a sense of values and meaning about life. The way that this reality is known is through one's perceptions of it. Unfortunately, perceptions based on evidence from one or more of the five senses are often distorted. Individuals also selectively perceive ideas and information, often accepting information which fits with their preconceived worldview and blocking out information which challenges that worldview--a worldview that they have spent a whole life time putting together.
It is often the case that in everyday interactions individuals, even from the same culture, can misperceive each other. When they come from totally different cultures, including different religious traditions and belief systems, the danger is even greater. It is thus a basic tenet of intercultural communication that "The message sent is often not the message received" It is understandable that individuals tend to expect others to behave the way they would in a given situation or say what they would say in that same situation. When they do not, there is a strong tendency to interpret the motivation or meaning behind the behavior of the other person in terms of what that behavior would mean in one's own culture rather than in terms of what that behavior actually means in the other person's culture, since the other's culture is not really understood. The next step can involve taking a mistaken interpretation of the other person's behavior and then evaluating or judging that behavior, often negatively. This process thus involves moving from a simple factual description of the behavior of someone from another culture, to an interpretation of the meaning of that behavior (often a misinterpretation, based on what that behavior would mean in the individual's own culture, not in the other person's culture.) A final step in this model involves a move to evaluation or judgment of that behavior, as good or bad, in turn often based on an incorrect interpretation. This description, interpretation, and evaluation sequence of events, which individuals do quite often without even realizing they are doing it, is often called DIE for short.
A related theory is Attribution Theory, which hypothesizes that individuals attribute meaning to the behavior of someone from another culture, often based on what it would mean in their own culture, rather than in the context of the other person's culture or religion. As long as an individual remains uninformed about another person's culture or religion, that individual remains vulnerable to repeating this problem over and over in their intercultural and inter-religious interactions. One important component of a solution to this problem is to become better informed about another person's culture and religion so that it is at least possible to interpret another's behavior and words in the proper cultural and religious context within which they occur. Such a strategy will also contribute to an appreciation of the rich cultural and religious diversity that exists in this world and help to counteract the tendencies to judge other's actions and words incorrectly and negatively.
In terms of conflict resolution, it can be argued that if an individual is not conscious of their own cultural or religious socialization or programming--which influences people to a much greater extent than most individuals realize, then their behavior will in many ways be preconditioned, and on automatic pilot: they will be acting out their cultural or religious programming, without being conscious that there are other cultures or religions or ways of experiencing reality. If an individual begins to become conscious of their own cultural or religious programming, often by exposing themselves to other cultures or religions, then they can for the first time come back to their own original culture or religion and begin to see it for the first time, since they now have some basis with which to compare it. Such an individual can begin to act consciously in the world and start to appreciate the rich diversity of the human experience, including the many different outward forms, rituals, and beliefs that have emerged in different religions as human beings have sought different paths for bringing a spiritual force into their lives.
A central problem in intercultural communication, including interactions between peoples from different world religions, is to confuse the map (one's own particular version of culture or religion) with the territory (an ultimate experience of "Reality" or "God" or "Spirit," as opposed to the relative or limited experiences of daily life). Becoming conscious of being socialized into different religions and cultures, coupled with an awareness that individuals as a consequence carry around different versions or maps of "reality" in their heads, can contribute to becoming more tolerant of the different maps or versions of reality that others also carry around in their heads, while also recognizing that something much more basic and essential underlies all the apparent outer diversity.
In looking at diversity, it should also be noted that it is a basic principle of systems theory that the more complex a system is, the more diversity there needs to be within the system for it to maintain itself. The discussion of globalization and localization in the first part of this paper suggests the evolution of a more complex global system with increasing diversity within it. It is a thesis of this paper that such diversity is ultimately a strength, not a weakness, but only if it is consciously dealt with. Otherwise, we will expect people from different cultures to think and behave the way we do, and when they do not, we will tend to misinterpret and then judge their beliefs or behavior negatively (the Description, Interpretation, Evaluation problem discussed above), thus creating misunderstanding and conflict between peoples. Nonetheless, cultural diversity in the global system, like ecological diversity within an ecosystem, is ultimately an asset, if it is valued and contributes to openness to learn from other groups and cultures. Another thesis of this paper is that every culture, just as every religion (or species), has something important to contribute to the world, and no culture has all the answers. Thus every culture has both strengths as well as weaknesses. There are thus important things that we can each learn from each other--if we are open (and humble enough) to do so.
"There are many paths to God." - Common mystical view.
"Look at every path closely and deliberately....Then ask yourself...one question...Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is no use." - Carlos Castaneda
"The Tao that can be named is not the Tao." - Lao Tsu
According to mystics, the mystical experience focuses on a direct inner experience of God or spirit, in which a person becomes one with the ultimate, invisible, creative force and divine intelligence at work in the universe or with the infinite void beyond creation. Via such an inner experience of enlightenment, God, oneness or spirit, one has an inner "knowing" that cannot be adequately described in words (indeed, "the Tao that can be named is not the Tao"). This experience totally transcends the world of outer beliefs--which we learn from our social and religious institutions. This inner knowing occurs on a much deeper level of one's being and is not vulnerable to all the distortions of our regular five senses, on which we depend for all our learning in the world.
It is interesting that almost every one of the great religions of the world originated with someone who had such a direct, inner revelatiory or enlightenment experience. Jesus who became the Christ, Buddha, Moses, Zoroaster, and various other evolved beings are obvious examples. After achieving enlightenment, such persons (who usually did not themselves intend to start a new religion) have always returned to society to minister, teach, and share their spiritual experiences and enlightenment as best they could with others. Eventually, the original teacher/ Master passed on and the followers were left to interpret, and later record, the original founder's teaching. But these followers have often not had the same enlightenment experiences themselves, and so with time, the original teachings became codified as beliefs, rituals, even dogmas. In this way, an original esoteric, mystical experience is changed over time into an exoteric form of organized religion. Nonetheless, since most people begin their spiritual path with some exoteric form of religion, it can be hoped that with time, at least some of these people will eventually turn inward to seek and experience the truth of God or spirit within.
While all religions usually began with someone who became enlightened, it is also interesting that mystical traditions continue to be dominant in Eastern religions, but were often overshadowed, though not lost, in Western religions by a focus more on organized religion and learned beliefs and principles to live by in the world. Nonetheless, there has been an interesting recent revival of interest in mystical/spiritual traditions in the West, along ironically with equally strong or stronger fundamentalist movements. Perhaps this indicates the great desire in people to find some deeper meaning to their lives, amidst all the changes in their external lives and in the world, although by sometimes very different paths. Such a hypothesis would be consistent with the globalization-localization hypothesis discussed earlier.
It is also interesting that while the traditional, exoteric religious path requires learning about different practices and beliefs, the mystical, esoteric path often involves unlearning or using various meditative techniques to clear the mind of thoughts about the external world, so that it is possible to come to a place of inner stillness or emptiness of the external world--what Zen Buddhists call "No Mind." This still, inner state enables individuals to experience the godforce, spirit, or pregnant void within, without the distortions of everyday needs, beliefs, and limited consciousness intervening, and thus to go beyond the limited self or ego so that spirit can make itself manifest in their lives. Thus many mystical traditions focus on ways to quiet the overactive mind in meditation, and thus bring one's inner self to a state of peace.
In such spiritual traditions, only true inner peace within the hearts of people can bring about true outer peace in the world, because if individuals are plagued by inner conflicts, doubts, fears, and insecurities, they will tend to project them outwardly onto others, blaming others for their problems, without even realizing what they are doing. It is thus necessary for all of us as individuals to 'wake up' and become increasingly conscious of our own thoughts and feelings, and how these are creating certain results or consequences in the world, so that we may each become increasingly responsible for the type of world that we are creating--including whether this world is a peaceful one or not.
"Religion without science is blind. Science without religion is lame." -- Albert Einstein
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science." -- Albert Einstein
There are a number of new paradigms, or overarching worldviews, under which scientists conduct their research, in science today. These paradigms can be seen as differing versions of a dynamic, interdependent, whole systems worldview, which various writers have suggested parallels the mystical, spiritual experience of mystics from different religions around the world. (Capra, 1991; Capra, 1982; Chopra, 1990; Davies, 1992) In effect, mystics experience this dynamic, interdependent, whole systems worldview on the inner planes, while scientists have used scientific methods and analysis of the external world to arrive at related conclusions. It can be argued that the scientific and the spiritual paths are just two different ways of trying to study or know the same ultimate reality; that one can go infinitely outward scientifically into space and infinitely inward spiritually in meditation, and that ultimately these two paths converge with parallel worldviews. Nonetheless, it needs to be pointed out that physics or science can only study or measure reality within the space-time framework of the created, physical universe. Science itself cannot provide the mystical experience of the mystery or ultimate beyond space & time, which may be one reason why the greatest scientists all eventually became mystics themselves, including DeBroglie, Einstein, Eddington, Heisenberg, Jeans, Plank, Pauli and Schrodinger. (Watson, 1988; Davies, 1992)
The old, Newtonian paradigm in physics saw reality as a clockwork universe made up of separate parts, existing within a static or equilibrium model of reality, which operated by fixed laws that could in theory predict how A effected B. This paradigm sought the ultimate physical building blocs of matter and was based upon the assumption that science, in principle, could arrive at total truth or understanding of reality within its' materialistic, reductionist, mechanistic worldview. In contrast, the New Physics has a totally new worldview, based on Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity and then later his General Theory of Relativity, followed by Quantum or Subatomic physics. With regard to quantum physics, however, it is interesting that Einstein himself could not totally accept Heisenberg's "uncertainty principle," expressed in Einstein's famous saying: "God does not play dice with the universe" or allow unpredictability. Thus Einstein himself only accepted part of what has come to be called "the New Physics."
Before noting further characteristics of the new paradigm view of reality in the New Physics, it should be noted that this new paradigm does not negate the Old Physics paradigm. Instead it says that the old Newtonian worldview works within certain parameters, and is thus still valid within those parameters, but beyond those parameters a new paradigm is necessary. Likewise, with the other new scientific paradigms (discussed further below), there is a tendency at times to conclude that they make the older scientific paradigms totally obsolete, but this is seldom the case and needs to be stressed. The old paradigms still work within certain parameters and under certain conditions, while the new paradigms work beyond those parameters, when the underlying conditions change. Recognition of this fact is part of creating a balance between different world views, and knowing when each is appropriate, that is a primary thesis of this whole paper.
The characteristics of this new paradigm--which in physics exists especially on the very macro level of the whole universe and on the very micro subatomic levels--are as follows. The New Physics (according to Capra, Davies and others) includes a dynamic, interdependent, whole systems worldview, where matter is concentrated energy and there are no ultimate building blocs of matter to find. In addition, one cannot predict an absolute relationship between A and B, and one cannot predict ahead of time whether something will, for example, be a particle or a wave. Unlike the old paradigm where the scientist was a pure, theoretically objective, outside observer, the new paradigm admits that the scientists' presence in the situation, in making a scientific measurement, can affect the outcome of the measurement, and thus there is no such thing as a purely detached objective, scientific observer anymore, instead one's mere presence in a situation can effect the outcome. The new paradigm is thus holistic, dynamic, and interdependent; there are no separate parts, only relationships; and reality is not totally predictable, except in terms of statistical probabilities. The old paradigm focuses on analysis of separate parts and either/or thinking (beginning with Aristotle), while the new paradigm focuses on synthesis and dynamic interrelationships, as well as both/and thinking.
In addition to the New Physics, there are other new scientific paradigms in science that also exhibit this dynamic, interdependent, whole systems worldview, as opposed to the old paradigm view of reality as a static, equilibrium model, which saw reality as made up of separate, unconnected parts, in a mechanistic, reductionist worldview. (See Figure 2) Some of these other new scientific paradigms follow below.
Whole, dynamic systems and living systems paradigms are illustrated in the work of the Society for General Systems Research. Evolutionary paradigms--such as those of Teilhard de Chardin, Peter Russell, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Erich Jantsch, John Platt, Erwin Lazlo, and Stephen Jay Gould's Puctuated Equilibrium Theory in biology--see change within a system as sometimes taking quantum jumps. Ilya Prigogine's Nobel Prize winning Theory of Dissipative Structures--which reconciles the entropy of physics with the increasing order and complexity of biology--shows how open systems can change via perturbations or new energy of some kind within a system, which can cause that system to break down, releasing the energy of that system to be reorganized at a higher level of order and complexity.
Rupert Sheldrake's Hypothesis of Formative Causation, or Theory of Morphogenetic Fields, hypothesizes that the universe operates more by habits, that build up over time, than by fixed laws. Under this theory, the first time a member of a species does something new is the hardest, but each successive time this new behavior becomes easier, until finally a critical mass is reached, and then suddenly everyone in the species knows how to do that new behavior. James Gleick's Chaos Theory hypothesizes that everything in the universe is interconnected--a butterfly flapping its wings in one hemisphere can effect the climate in another hemisphere, for example--and there is always order emerging out of chaos and chaos emerging out of order in the universe.
It is significant is that all of these new paradigms and scientific theories are versions of a dynamic, interdependent, whole systems worldview, just as the New Physics is. In medicine and health care, new notions of health, healing and treating the whole person are fast gaining ground. (Chopra, 1992) In environmental science, the Gaia hypothesis presents a new paradigm where the Earth as a whole is seen as a living entity, a self-regulating system of which we humans are a part. (Lovelock, 1991) In the life sciences, new thinking is challenging traditional notions of biological evolution and developing new interdependent conceptions of what constitutes a person and a society. (Watson, 1988) In each of these cases, as well as in many other examples of the development of new thinking in areas such as management and economics, (Wheatley, 1992; Hawley, 1993) the relationship and interaction between parts and the whole has been reconceptualized. Holistic paradigms, where the overall pattern of interaction between the parts is as important as the parts themselves, have emerged across a broad spectrum of disciplines and issues.
"Everything has changed except our way of thinking." --Einstein
"Oh, Great Spirit, let us greet the dawn of each new day, when all can live as one and peace reigns everywhere." --Native American Quote
The relevance of "new thinking" or a shift in consciousness--as seen in the dynamic interdependent, whole systems views in the new scientific paradigms and experiences of mystics from different religious traditions--to world peace can be seen as follows. Once our consciousness shifts from seeing the world as divided up into separate, unrelated parts (whether individuals, groups, nation-states or whatever), where the goal is to win for one's own self or group or nation, without adequate concern for others, to a new more dynamic interdependent, whole systems worldview, where everything is interconnected, and whatever happens in any part of the system effects all the other parts of the system--it becomes apparent that the only way that individuals or separate parts of the whole can "win" is if other peoples and parts of the whole also win. A fundamental shift from win-lose to win-win thinking then ensues, which seems a fundamental prerequisite and framework for creating a global culture of peace.
The previous section of this paper described some of the new paradigms, which are emerging in a range of areas. It can be argued that it is no accident that these holistic paradigms have developed at this time. Indeed, one of the founding fathers of peace research, Pitirim Sorokin, suggested some 60 years ago that this would be the case. (Sorokin, 1933) Sorokin, in his classic text, Social and Cultural Dynamics, elaborated a theory of socio/cultural evolution that can be summarized as follows.
In any society or social system, there are four ways in which integration can occur. Two of these are for our purposes here quite trivial, namely spatial integration (when entities simply occupy the same space and nothing more) and external integration (when two or more entities are linked to each other through some other entity, for example grass and flowers may grow together at the same rate because of the external factors of sun, soil and rain). The third, functional integration, is far from trivial. This, for Sorokin, describes the interlocking interdependencies we now recognize as crucial in complex systems. Indeed for many scientists "functional integration," or its modern cybernetic equivalent "syntegration," (Beer, 1993)--the dynamic interdependence of entities that are in symbiotic interaction with each other--is of the utmost importance. Whole societies, whole systems, are held together by their mutually interdependent functional interactions and, following Wright's model, any changes in one will need changes elsewhere in the system to restore dynamic equilibrium.
Sorokin also proposed a fourth level of integration, which, in his view, was the highest form of integration. He called it "logico meaningful integration," to try to describe the underlying idea that things are held together because of what they mean, because of deep values in the culture. Sorokin argued that this level of integration not only provides coherence in life to individuals through the underlying meanings in their culture, but also results in these deep values being manifest in all aspects of a culture, from science to religion. For Sorokin, a culture at its peak will be integrated in both functional and logico-meaningful ways. He approached the problem of meaning in the following way.
Sorokin argued that the macro cultures in Western Civilization evolved through stages that could be understood in terms of their central meanings. At one end of a continuum, these underlying meanings were essentially sensate, that is reality was defined entirely in terms of the physical world and the truth of the senses. At the other end, reality was "ideational," by which Sorokin meant spiritual in the sense that the eternal infinite spiritual reality is real, while the material world is an illusion. In this case truth of faith is the only truth. Halfway along this continuum was the "idealistic" point, where truth of faith and truth of senses were balanced through "truth of reason." Sorokin identified seven types of culture mentality on the sensate-ideational continuum. Table 1 gives the main elements of the sensate, ideational and idealistic forms.
Table 1: Three Types of Culture Mentality (Sorokin):
Active Sensate, Ascetic Ideational, and Idealistic (Combining Both)
Sensate, material, empirical
Non-sensate, eternal transcendental
Both equally represented
Main needs and ends
Manifold and richly sensate
Both equally represented
Extent of satisfaction
Great, but balanced
Method of satisfaction
Modify external environment
Note: Sorokin elaborated seven types of culture mentality. The three listed above are the two extremes--Active Sensate and Ascetic Ideational, as well as a middle point, the Idealistic culture type.
Table 2: Three Types of Culture Mentality (Sorokin):
Weltanschauung, Power and Object of Control, and Activity
Weltanschauung(or World View)
Transient values, full blooded sense of life, joy and grief; dynamism and endless readjustment ; progress, evolution
Being: Lasting value; indifference to transient values; imperturbability; statism
Both equally represented
Power and Object of Control
Control of the Sensate Reality
Self Control, repression of the sensual person and of "self"
Both equally represented
Both equally represented
Table 2 outlines the logico meaningful consequences of the three types of culture mentality for weltanschauung (or worldview), power and object of control, and activity. For Sorokin, the "logical satellites" are aspects of the culture that follow logically from the central integrating principle of the culture. In Sorokin's words, "each of them (the logical satellites) is connected logically with the dominant attitude toward the nature of ultimate reality." Thus the active sensate culture is based on "becoming", based on a full-blooded sense of life and continual change. Ideas such as progress and evolution are central to such a viewpoint. In addition, the dominant ideas on control stress control of the external sensate reality and hence activity in the outer world. In contrast, the ideational culture is based on "being", stressing lasting value. In addition, self-control and repression of the sensual person and of self lead to a focus on the inner life. Idealistic culture for Sorokin is an attempt to balance both worldviews, to live in both the inner and outer worlds, and balance being and becoming, control of the external environment and control of self.
Table 3: Three Types of Culture Mentality (Sorokin):
Self and Knowledge
Highly integrated, sensate, dissolved in immediate physical reality; materializes self and all spiritual phenomenon; cares for integrity of body and its sensual interest (sensual liberty, sensual egotism)
Highly integrated, spiritual, dissolved in the ultimate reality; aware of the sensual world as illusion; anti-materialistic
Both equally represented
Develops science of natural phenomena and technical inventions; concentrates on these; leads to arts of technology, medicine, hygiene, sanitation and modification of peoples' physical environment
Develops insights into and cognition of the spiritual, psychical, and immaterial phenomena and experiences; concentrates on these exclusively; leads to arts of education and modification of inner life
Both equally represented
Table 3 details how each culture mentality affects what is meant by "self" and what is defined as knowledge in each type of culture mentality. Both the sensate and ideational types are highly integrated around completely different reality definitions. The sensate culture is associated with a view of the self as a material entity dissolved (or living totally) in the immediate physical reality. Under this view the material world provides the basis for everything, and materialistic models of reality are likely to be dominant in all compartments of culture. Mechanistic models of the universe and materialistic biochemical models of health are typical examples of the sensate view of reality, a view that stresses caring for the physical body, sensual liberty (for example, sexual freedom) and sensual egotism (for example, cultivating the body beautiful). Such a worldview will naturally develop physical and biological sciences that study and manipulate the external world, and in so doing will develop technology for this purpose. In contrast, the ideational culture type searches for the inner self, which is experienced as dissolved (or existing totally) in the ultimate spiritual reality. The external material world is seen as an illusion, and knowledge of the spiritual, psychical and immaterial reality becomes the basis for knowledge. Using meditation and other self exploration approaches, knowledge of the inner self, including inner peace, becomes central. As in the case of Table 2, the idealistic culture mentality attempts to balance both approaches.
Table 4: Three Types of Culture Mentality (Sorokin): Truth, and Moral Values and Systems
|Truth: its categories, criteria, and methods of arriving at||
Based on observation of, measurement of, experimentation with, exterior phenomena through exterior organs of senses, inductive logic
Based on inner experience, "mystic way," concentrated mediation, intuition, revelation, or prophecy
Both equally represented (scholasticism)
|Moral values and systems||
Relativistic and sensate; hedonistic, utilitarian; seeking maximum sensate happiness for largest number of human beings; morals of rightly understood egotism
Absolute, transcendental, categoric, imperative, everlasting, and unchangeable
Both equally emphasized
Table 4 illustrates the approaches to truth and to moral values in the three culture mentalities. Thus the active sensate culture is based on "truth of the senses," where truth is validated through observation of, and experimentation with, the external environment. The five human senses are ultimately the basis for establishing truth, and inductive logic is used to relate the evidence from the senses to models of reality. The moral value system of the sensate culture is relativistic and utilitarian, based on maximum sensate happiness. In contrast, the ideational worldview is based on "truth of faith," whereby the inner experience of the ultimate reality, the mystical experience discussed above, is achieved through concentrated meditation, intuition, revelation, or prophecy. This ideational culture mentality is based on absolute, transcendental values, values that are God-given, imperative, everlasting and unchangeable. The idealistic culture mentality stresses both "truth of the senses" and "truth of faith" in a truth system that Sorokin calls "truth of reason." Greek culture around the 4th and 5th centuries BC and European culture around the 12th to14th centuries AD are seen by Sorokin as examples of this balanced cultural form. Idealistic culture similarly includes a both/and approach to moral values, incorporating both perspectives in its value system.
Table 5 illustrates the characteristics of the three culture mentalities as these relate to aesthetic values and social values. In the sensate culture, art and aesthetic values are based on increasing the joys and beauties of a rich sensate life, while social and practical values give joy of life to self and partly to others. In particular, they stress the value of monetary wealth and physical comfort. Prestige in society is in large measure based on these factors. In conflicts, physical might is more important than being right in the moral sense. The ideational culture type sees aesthetic values as being servants to the main inner values, which are essentially religious and non-sensate. For social values, only those which serve the ultimate inner spiritual reality are of value, while materialistic values, such as economic wealth, are seen as ultimately worthless. The principle of sacrifice is an integral part of the ideational social value system. As in the above cases, idealistic culture attempts to balance sensate and spiritual concerns.
Table 5: Three Types of Culture Mentality (Sorokin)
|Aesthetic Values and Systems||
Sensate, secular, created to increase joys and beauties of a rich, sensate life
Ideational, subservient to the main inner values, religious, non-sensate
Both equally emphasized
|Social and Practical Values||
Everything that gives joy of life to self and partly to others: particularly wealth, comfort, etc.; prestige is based on the above; wealth, money, physical might become "rights" and basis of all value: principle of sound egotism
Those which are lasting and lead to the ultimate reality: only such persons are leaders, only such things and events are positive, all others are valueless or of negative values, particularly wealth, earthly comfort, etc.; principle of sacrifice
Both equally emphasized; live and let live
Sorokin and his helpers collected and coded huge amounts of information on various aspects of Western macro culture, including indicators of sensate and ideational worldviews, in art, science, mathematics, architecture, discoveries and inventions, philosophy, ethics and jurisprudence. Using this data, he argued that there was a tendency, over long periods of time, for Western macro culture to swing from one end of the continuum to the other in their central meanings, and that these changes in central meanings are manifest in all aspects of an integrated culture. A crude summary of his findings are presented in Table 6.
The still evolving Western civilization, in Sorokin's view, had achieved overripe sensate status (with too much stress on materialism and an almost complete disregard for spiritual values) and was now in crisis, swinging back towards the ideational pole. Such a swing would inevitably manifest itself in the emergence of "new holistic paradigms" in many different areas, as illustrated above, as well as in the re-emergence of ideational, religious or spiritual worldviews. It will also, in Sorokin's view, lead to a period of turmoil, crisis and catharsis, from which the new ideational or idealistic culture will emerge.
Table 6: Fluctuation of Truth Systems in Graeco-Roman
and Western Civilization (Sorokin)
|Up to the 5th Century B.C.||Ideational|
|5th and 4th Centuries B.C.||Idealistic|
|3rd to the 1st Century B.C.||Sensate|
|1st to end of 4th Century A.D.||Transition & Crisis|
|5th to 12th Centuries A.D.||Ideational|
|12th to 14th Centuries A.D.||Idealistic|
|End of 14th Century to 15th Century A.D.||Transition & Crisis|
|16th through 20th Century A.D.||Sensate (Active, then passive, now cynical, entering transition)|
Every model of reality--including Sorokin's--is a simplification of reality to some extent. In various ways, the global situation today is more complicated than Sorokin's model suggests, since the world is also more complex than when he wrote. There are, for example, multiple interactions between different cultures occurring in the world today, which are not in Sorokin's model. Despite this fact, it is nonetheless interesting that a number of new, holistic scientific paradigms and worldviews are emerging today in a number of different areas--just as Sorokin predicted 65 years ago would happen as part of a return to more spiritual values in Western cultures today. There is, however, within the scientific community itself, some difference of opinion over whether the new, holistic scientific paradigms deal only with the physical world, or whether they also parallel holistic spiritual values and experiences of reality. The latter view was the thesis of Fritjov Capra's book, The Tao of Physics, for example, but not all physicists agree with Capra.
Similarly, the Gaia Hypothesis is interpreted by some in a purely "functional" integration sense (K. Boulding, 1990) and by others within a spiritual framework, suggesting "intentionality" and an "intelligence" behind the way Gaia operates. (Ruether, 1992; Badiner, 1990) James Davies, who has written various books popularizing the New Physics, also asks: "Why are the laws of nature mathematical?" and why can nature everywhere be explained by mathematics, thereby allowing science to understand nature? To Davies, the fact that we can study and understand the universe at all, and that science is even possible at all, implies that the universe is not a random event, but rather that intentionality and purpose are behind its creation and design. (Davies, 1992) Other scientists also note the extremely low statistical probability of life--including self-conscious, self-aware, intelligent life (as represented by humans)--evolving on earth, which to some scientists implies an intentionality or purpose behind our physical universe, its creation and the design of its evolution. The fact that life itself seems to evolve towards ever more intelligent self awareness--whether in human form on earth or other possible forms elsewhere in the universe--implies a designer behind the design to some scientists. In summary, new holistic, scientific paradigms are emerging across a variety of fields, and increasing numbers of people are seeing connections between the spiritual and material aspects of these paradigms.
In looking at Sorokin's two opposite types of cultures--sensate/materialistically-based cultures, and ideational/spiritually-based cultures--and his thesis that Western history has alternated back and forth between these two extreme cultural types, with periods of balance between them during certain transitional times, several interesting questions and observations arise in regard to how these two opposite cultural types, and the transitions between them, relate to the contemporary world and to the world of the 21st century?
(1) First, it is amazing how Sorokin's two polar opposite cultural types--sensate and ideational cultures--which alternated in Western history, seem to perfectly describe what we commonly think of (at least in a generalized, archetypal way) as characteristics of Western cultures (sensate/materialistic) and Eastern cultures (ideational/spiritual).
(2) However, if we now think of Western cultures as predominantly materialistic, but note that Western culture has also had non-materialistic, spiritual periods in its history, then perhaps Eastern cultures, which we tend to think of as more spiritual, have also had periods of materialism and a predominance of sensate values at certain periods in its history as well? Sorokin's work focused primarily on Western cultures, so further research needs to be done by others today on this question. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the work that Sorokin did do on Eastern cultures tended to describe them predominantly as ideational/spiritually-based cultures. As Sorokin himself concluded: (Sorokin, 1957, p. 43)
....the Ascetic Ideational culture mentality comprises not an island but several of the largest continents in the world of culture. The systems of mentality of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Sufism, early Christianity, and of many ascetic and mystical sects, groups, and movements (i.e., the Cynics, Stoics, Gnostics, and the devotees of Orphism) have been predominantly Ideational, Ascetic Ideational at the highest level, Active Ideational on a lower, and Idealistic and Mixed on the lowest.
(3) If we tend today (in our common images and stereotypes) to think of Western cultures as primarily sensate/materialistic, and Eastern cultures as primarily ideational/spiritual, then it needs to be noted that the actual world of today is more complex than this. Indeed, there are powerful forces of change sweeping the planet today. In many ways, Eastern cultures (represented especially by Asian countries) are undergoing rapid economic development, technological growth, and increasing materialism as a result. This has led many thoughtful people to be concerned that the whole world is perhaps becoming Westernized and materialistic. But an equally strong counter current is also occurring within Western cultures today, where the achievement of a certain level of material comfort often leads people to seek other values in life, especially spiritual values, in an effort to find meaning. Spiritual and religious movements of various kinds are thus having a comeback--especially in cultures and countries that have undergone the greatest degree of material development, i.e., North America, Europe, and Japan. This is no accident. Indeed, it can be argued that both Western and Eastern cultures, in their pure or extreme forms (to the extent that they did actually at times represent one of Sorokin's two opposite cultural types), have traditionally both been out of balance, and that today, for the first time our increasingly interdependent world is providing the conditions for both Eastern and Western cultures to become more in balance, in terms of honoring both spiritual and material values, inner peace as well as outer peace values, and group as well as individualistic concerns and perspectives, and that this is indeed the most promising development occurring in the world today, in regard to creating the foundations for a global culture of peace--for both East and West--in the 21st century.
(4) Nonetheless, it needs to be pointed out that periods of transition--when the underlying values on which a culture and civilization have been based are undergoing rapid change and being challenged--are very disruptive to people's lives and to the effective functioning of one's societal institutions. And indeed, we see that this is happening today. Crime and violence are on an increase everywhere. Fanatics of the left and right--including religious cults promoting violence in the name of God or spirit (a total contradiction in terms)--are multiplying. The transition period does not guarantee an easy ride. But change is inevitable, and it must be dealt with as constructively and consciously as possible, so that we can get through this transition period with as little real catastrophes and violence as possible.
(5) Then, assuming that such a new, balanced culture of peace can be created in the world in the 21st century (a big assumption, we grant you), how long could such a balanced inner-outer, spiritual-materialistic, female-male balanced culture be able to endure? Sorokin's work suggests--at least based on his analysis of the alternations in Western cultures historically--that such balanced Idealistic periods usually lasted about 200-300 years. In non-Western cultures, Sorokin saw Confuscianism and much of Ancient Egyptian culture (which lasted 3,000 years) as good examples of the balanced, Ideational form. As Eastern and Western cultures increasingly come together and interact with each other, now and in the future, perhaps such a balanced period could last for a long time--drawing on both Eastern and Western cultural values for its maintenance and sustenance. If that were to become possible, then the so-called "Golden Age" (prophesied in various religious and spiritual traditions) could indeed become a reality.
(6) A less desirable alternative to this balanced scenario would be if Western cultures move increasingly towards an ideational, spiritual value system, while Eastern cultures move increasingly towards a sensate, materialist value system, with East and West, in effect, changing places! This might be more likely if both Eastern and Western cultures could continue to develop in isolation from each other, but in our increasingly interdependent world, this seems unlikely. The more preferable, balanced scenario, however, would be for the East to increasingly develop economically--as it no doubt will do, with many economic observers having called the 21st century the "Pacific Century--while still maintaining and preserving its rich spiritual traditions and values, and for the West to increasingly further an interest in spiritual, inner peace questions, while still maintaining a decent materialistic lifestyle and concern with social justice issues in the outer world.
(7) We will no doubt have to wait and see what we all individually and collectively decide to create. The transition period of getting there may indeed be rocky. But a peaceful world, based on attention paid to both inner peace and outer peace, including social justice questions, is indeed one possibility for the 21st century.
At different times in history, and in different cultures, divinity or the sacred or spiritual has been represented in different ways: sometimes as nature spirits (such as Shintoism in Japan, American Indian traditions, as well as other indigenous people's spiritual traditions, such as the Aborigines in Australia); sometimes as goddesses, often associated with fertility and the earth (seen in the ancient temples in Malta or the Old Europe documented by Marija Gimbutis); sometimes as a balance between male and female gods and goddesses, each representing different aspects or attributes of the one God, (as in Ancient Egypt and Hinduism); and sometimes as a monotheistic, all powerful God who is often portrayed as God the Father or male (in Western monotheistic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam).
There are a number of books that have been written in recent years--many by feminists who are trying to recapture the spiritual and societal role of women historically--about the factors leading to the above transition from female goddess to male God. (Please consult the Bibliography for a few of these recommended sources, such as Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, Elise Boulding, Riane Eisler, Marija Gimbutas, David Leeming and Jake Page, Shirley Nicholson, and Merlin Stone. ) There is not space here to explore this subject in greater depth. The important point here is just to note that divinity has been portrayed and experienced differently, at different times in history and in different cultures. Underneath this diversity, however, was a common search for some kind of spiritual meaning in life--whatever the form that this took, which one could argue was at least partly a reflection of the dominant cultural values that existed at the time.
It is not the purpose of this paper to argue that one symbol system
for spirit or divinity is correct and others are wrong. All sought to honor
spirit in some way. If God or spirit is beyond all dualities, however--which
the mystical traditions of all religions seem to suggest--then clearly God or
spirit or divinity is also beyond our human attempts to categorize it as either
all male, or all female, at the exclusion of the other. As Lao Tsu said, "the
Tao that can be named is not the Tao." Yet in our limited consciousness,
and in our effort to create a personal relationship with what is essentially
beyond form, infinite, and partaking of the great mystery, we tend to personify
god or spirit--in different ways at different times and places historically.
One of the themes of this paper is that if we want to create peace in the world, then we need to find a way to include all the parts of the whole, or the world, in this process. It would thus seem in keeping with this theme that divinity or spirit should be seen to be the unity that transcends all opposites or dualities, however they are represented. In support of this idea, Figure 3 cites examples of spiritual symbols from a number of different religions in the world, which are all based on this idea of recognizing that the spiritual path involves balancing and transcending polar opposites, or dualities. Indeed, the mystical or esoteric path in all religions is based on this simple truth: unitive consciousness transcends duality.
Ancient Egyptian Ankh: Represents the unity of opposites, which are symbolized by the two halves of the Ankh: the top, circular part representing the female principle; the bottom straight part representing the male principle. The Ankh also symbolized eternal life and immortality (with the balancing and transcending of opposites--represented by the male and female principles--being the way to get there), as well as the union of Upper and Lower Egypt (the upper half representing the Delta region of Lower Egypt and the bottom half representing the rest of the Nile River that flowed through Upper Egypt, in the South, to the Delta in the North).
(Please Note: if the reader is aware of additional symbols, from different religious traditions, illustrating this idea of the unity of opposites, the writers would appreciate hearing from you about this. Thank you.)
Celtic Cross: The Celtic Cross is an interesting Christian cross in that it combines the traditional symbol of the cross (representing Christ on the cross, who died to the physical life and was resurrected into eternal life with the Father--more a representation of the male principle) with the circle around it (representing the female principle).* [*In this regard, it should be noted that the ancient temples in Malta to the goddess were all made in circular shapes representing the female figure.]
Vesica Pisces (Pre-Christian, Celtic Symbol): This pre-Christian, Celtic symbol also represents the unity (outer circle) of opposites--the two inner circles, which are also seen to be overlapping or interdependent. The area in the middle, where these two circles overlap, is also the shape of a fish, which later became one of the dominant symbols for Christianity. This symbol can be found on the ancient well at Glastonbury, England, which some call the mythical "Isle of Avalon" of King Arthur legends. This well has provided healing waters at a constant temperature for 5,000 years, according to tradition. This overlapping and interdependence of opposites also represents, in the Celtic tradition, the interdependence of spiritual and material life; it is not a choice of one or the other, but of both together.
Yin Yang: This is the famous Yin-Yang symbol from Taoism, which also represents the idea of the unity, balance, and interdependence of opposites--as the basis for a balanced and healthy life, including a spiritual life. What is most interesting here is that there is always a small amount of the opposite characteristic in each half of the symbol (Yin or Female in Yang or Male, and Yang or Male in Yin or Female). The meaning of this is clear. If you try to totally eliminate your opposite, and create a pure Yin, or pure Yang (half of the whole), it will have the opposite effect of what you intended, i.e., the state of total Yin, or Yang, will be so out of balance that it will cause the situation to begin to move in its opposite direction--towards what you were trying to eliminate. Thus the lesson is clear: if you want to maintain a current situation, always keep a little of its opposite present, so that the situation will be partially balanced and thus maintainable. This basic philosophical principle is also embedded in the I Ching, or Chinese Book of Changes.
Hinduism: Male-Female Embrace: Another version of the balance of male and female principles or opposites as a symbol of the path to attain spiritual union with God can be seen in the Hindu symbol of a male and female in an often voluptuous embrace. Westerners sometimes misinterpret the meaning of this symbol. What it really means is that the spiritual, mystical path requires the balancing and transcending of opposites, not the elimination of opposites.
Spirals (Coming Into Form, Going Out of Form): These ancient spirals--moving in two opposite circular directions--can be found on the ancient temples to the goddess in Malta, on ancient stone circles in England and Europe, and even in the Andes, as well as other places. These symbols have been interpreted to mean the spiral of coming into life and the spiral of going out of life as a continuous and interconnected process, thus indicating a belief in reincarnation by the people drawing these symbols.
Jewish Menorah: Apparently the Jewish Menorah is an outgrowth
of one of these spirals which was cut in half. Further research follows re:
its symbolic meaning.
In conclusion, if a symbol can represent a whole philosophy, as well as an approach, to the mystical path of enlightenment, then perhaps these symbols--from a number of different religious traditions--are a simple, visual way to do so. These symbols are also archetypal and thus communicate in deeper archetypal ways to our psyche or consciousness. One might also note that many, if not most religions, are based not only on the idea of the unity or interconnectedness of opposites; they are also based on the trinity principle in which two opposites come together and create something new.
This section will look at the role of mythology--especially as interpreted in the works of Joseph Campbell, and later Jean Houston--in showing a way to bridge one's outer life in the world with the inner life of the spirit. It will also look at universal aspects of the "hero's journey" (the journey to our inner selves) in the myths of all cultures; the stages of the hero's journey; and East-West cultural and historical differences in the hero's journey.
While some people living in our demythified Western world tend to think of only facts as true, and therefore myths as untrue or illusory, those who study myths note that they have a deeper type of truth to them, which attracts people in almost all cultures to them. Indeed, mythology can be seen as a link between our outer lives in the world and the search for deeper, archetypal levels of meaning and purpose in life, which then leads to the inner life of the spirit. Therefore myths do not speak to us in factual terms, but in archetypal, metaphorical language. Joseph Campbell himself said that "myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human manifestation." Thus myths provide maps for the inner spiritual journey. Myths can also help people realize how their everyday life can take on extraordinary or heroic dimensions via the way they choose to deal with these events, as often inspired by other heroic figures from mythology.
Joseph Campbell's most famous study is probably The Hero With a Thousand Faces, originally published in 1947. In this he posits the idea of a "monomyth"--the one great story which underlies much mythology" from different cultures around the world. It is basically the story of any human being who sets out on a journey to discover whom he/she really is. While the outer forms can vary from one culture to another, the deeper aspects of the journey are universal and transcend different cultures. Besides The Hero With a Thousand Faces , Joseph Campbell also wrote a number of other books. His ideas gained a great following and popularity in the United States through the six part television series, "The Power of Myth," in which Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell for public television. In this series, as in other writing, Campbell encouraged people to "follow your bliss," meaning to listen to your own inner voices and follow your own dream, which will take you on your own hero's journey of self discovery and transformation.
Jean Houston, who works with mythology in the tradition of Joseph Campbell, talks about "sacred psychology" where our "deepest fulfillment comes from experiencing union with the divine and bringing a sense of the sacred into our everyday lives"--especially in Western society which has become increasingly disconnected from the deeper "waters of life." Jean believes that we humans are multilevel beings, living in three realms, and that the middle realm (of mythology and archetypes) helps us connect our everyday outer lives with our inner spiritual selves. These three realms include:
(i) The "THIS IS ME" realm of our everyday self, the space-and-time bound personality that is heavily influenced by habit, social conditioning and cultural patterns.
(ii) The "WE ARE" realm housing "the myths and guiding archetypes that connect the personal self with its spiritual source. This realm also serves as a cultural template, providing the primal patterns that take form as works of art, architecture, literature and drama."
(iii) The "I AM" realm described by mystics throughout
the ages as the realm of limitless Being, boundless love and pure potency. This
is the realm that was revealed to Moses in the wilderness, for example.
Jean Houston believes that jumping from the time bound, socially conditioned life of the THIS IS ME realm directly into the "boundless unconditioned state of I AM ness" is too much for most people. They need the intermediate WE ARE realm of mythology and archetypal stories as a bridging place to prepare for the life of the spirit and to learn how to navigate through the various stages of the hero's journey. (Houston, 1994)
The hero's journey is basically a road map that shows any human being a pathway from the outer world of our everyday lives inward towards deeper spiritual dimensions. There are various versions of these stages. Campbell himself said: "A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man." (Campbell, 1949) In one version of the hero's journey, there are three key stages: separation (from one's everyday life); initiation (where one is tested); and return (to one's everyday life, to share with others what one has learned and experienced).
Another more detailed version of the hero's journey has five stages, borrowing on ideas of both Joseph Campbell first, and then Jean Houston, in each stage as follows:
(i) Nothing Holding You to Current Situation: you are open for the adventure of the hero's journey because there is nothing holding you to your current situation and you are, in effect, seeking some deeper meaning or purpose in your life. Another version of this stage is that you hear an inner call to adventure, which you can either accept or reject.
(ii) Find a Mentor or Teacher: Often a mentor or teacher must be found who can act as a guide on the journey. Another version of this stage is that once the call is accepted, you will find allies to help you on the journey. "These secret allies represent undeveloped potentials and skills that will be evoked" on the journey.
(iii) Jumping off Place Into the Unknown: There is a particular point or place where you must leave all the things of your old, familiar life behind you, and jump off into the unknown. Another version of this stage is that you must get past the guardians at the threshold, who represent the limitations of conventional thinking, which one must outwit if one is to be allowed to enter the realms of the creative and mysterious depths, where one will be tested.
(iv) You Must Be Tested-Both Externally, in the World, and Internally: The hero's journey involves real testing, where you will be confronted with demons and dangers, which will require that you confront your own inner demons and fears and limitations, if you are to develop mastery in the situation; this part of the hero's journey is the real "initiation". If you survive it, you will grow and be changed in the process, and you will be able to return to your society a changed or transformed person--whether your hero's journey was an adventure (as Odysseus), a spiritual initiation (as Christ, Buddha, Moses, and others), or the development of authentic mastery in some artistic tradition.
(v) Return to Society, to Share the Wisdom and Mastery that You have Learned: If you survive the initiation and testing, and develop internal, as well as external mastery, then you will be able to return to your society able to share your wisdom and mastery with others. You will have received great boons, i.e., new powers and perceptual abilities which can help others.
While there are, according to Campbell and Houston, universal aspects of the hero's journey in the myths of all cultures (as noted above), Campbell and others also noted that there are important distinctions in the nature of the hero's journey--at different stages of history, as well as in Eastern and Western cultures. While we cannot go into these differences in any depth here, it should be noted that Campbell believed that there were four major mythological periods:
(i) The Way of the Animal Powers, i.e., the way of shamanistic hunter-gatherers in Paleolithic times, where "the individual has an inner experience which calls him or her to the role of shaman;"
(ii) The Way of the Seeded Earth, i.e., when settled agricultural communities emerged and there was a cycle of birth, death (or ritual sacrifice), and rebirth;
(iii) The Way of the Celestial Lights, with the emergence of the high civilizations, where priests and priestesses were ordained by institutions (rather than from an inner calling); writing and higher mathematics were invented; mythological systems were based on the movements of the planets, moon and sun; and large bureaucracies and monumental architecture emerged; and
(iv) The Way of Man, focusing on the modern world, where rationalism
replaces the older role of mythology, and philosophy replaces theology, and
art and culture are individually expressed, rather than products of society
as a whole.
Campbell and others have also noted important differences in the hero's journey as it is lived in Eastern and Western cultures. In the East, where a group identity and culture are more dominant, one must follow the path set before by one's guru, spiritual teacher or master, in an unbroken lineage passed down from master to apprentice, while in the West, where individual identity and culture are more dominant, the hero must embark on the hero's journey at a place and time of his own choosing. In short, the hero cannot follow a path set by others, but must find his own path. Campbell believed that the best illustration of the hero's journey in Western culture was King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, where each of the knights, in their search for the Holy Grail (which search is basically that of the hero's journey) had to enter the forest (the unknown) at a point of their own choosing.
Campbell also believed that the hero's journey--if it is to impact people's lives-- must be adapted to the times and the culture in which this mythological story appears. Ancient myths or stories must thus be reset in new contexts and environments if they are to relate to people's lives today. In this context, it is interesting that the Star Wars Trilogy was George Lucas' attempt to take the idea of the hero's journey and adapt it to a space age environment, which may be one of the reasons for the film's great popularity. If one looks at the five stages of the hero's journey (outlined under Section 4 above), one can see how closely the Star Wars story followed Campbell's five stages:
(i) Nothing Holding you to Current Situation: Here Luke Skywalker (who lived with his aunt and uncle who were farmers and were suddenly found murdered) had already been yearning to explore new horizons and now had nothing holding him to his old life anymore.
(ii) Find a Mentor or Teacher: Luke finds Obiwan Kinobe, who becomes his teacher in the ways of "the force".
(iii) Jumping Off Place Into the Unknown: There is a famous bar scene, filled with strange looking alien creatures, which symbolically represents Luke's jumping off place into the world of the unknown, which he does in the company of his mentor, Obiwan Kinobe.
(iv) You Must Be Tested--Both Externally in the World and Internally: Once in the unknown, Luke must receive further training in the ways of the force--by Obiwan Kinobe and later by Yoda; he must undergo many adventures; and then he must finally be tested, in the form of confronting Darth Vader--the symbol of evil itself. Only after he has passed this test, does the adventure come to an end.
(v) Return to Society, to Share the Wisdom and Mastery that You have Learned: Here victory over the dark side is celebrated and the trilogy ends.
While Star Wars was a great success, it still glorified fighting and violence (against evil), and as such is still not the best archetypal model we can find for creating a peaceful, nonviolent world in the future. Indeed, society seems more violent than ever. In looking at the role of the warrior image in mythology, such as Star Wars, a few observations need to be made:
First, it is important to point out that the hero's journey--even for the warrior archetype-- need not be violent. With the destructive power of modern technology, clearly our future survival requires that we find alternative ways to resolve our conflicts short of violence. As Elise Boulding has noted, we can take the adventuresome energy of the warrior hero archetype and channel it (consciously) into nonviolent action in the world.
Second, it is clear that we also need to find new types of hero figures, besides the warrior archetype today. Various books have been written exploring alternative types of archetypes, and this type of research needs to continue. Women, who identify less as a whole with the warrior archetype than men, are looking for such alternative archetypal images, which could provide models with which they could identify as women. In addition, alternative, non-warrior archetypes also need to be found for men.
Third and lastly, we need to remember that when we go to do battle in the world--the warrior archetype--that the real battle is really within oneself. Indeed, the external battle in the world is really a reflection or mirror of the inner battle within--to master one's own fears, limitations, insecurities and demons. Once we can consciously recognize this, then 'perhaps' we will realize that we can focus our primary energies there, on developing internal mastery and balance, which can then be expressed in nonviolent ways in the world, and then we will not have to act out the warrior need to do battle in the external world in what has too often been a violent way. Or if we must do battle in the world, we can do it against poverty, injustice, ignorance, prejudice, intolerance, etc. Certainly there are plenty of admirable battles that need to be addressed and they do not require violence as a means to engage in such efforts.
In conclusion, this section has explored the possible role of mythology as a bridge between our outer lives in the world--what is comparable to the exoteric aspect of religion, with the development of an inner life of the spirit--what is comparable to the esoteric aspects of religion. If mythology and archetypal figures can help us to embark on the hero's journey to discover and encounter the deeper aspects of our being, then perhaps nonviolent, archetypal models can also be found for our actions in the world that are appropriate to our technologically sophisticated and interdependent world for our actions in the world.
If, for the sake of brevity, we oversimplify peace thinking, then it is possible to identify at least six broad categories of peace thinking which, in large measure, also correspond to the evolution of peace thinking in Western peace research. This is not to say that all scholars once thought one way and now think another, nor is it to say that the majority of peace researchers now adopt holistic paradigms. Rather it is to argue that overall there has been a trend in peace research away from the traditional idea that peace is simply the absence of war towards a more holistic view, as seen in Figure 4:
Figure 4 summarizes six perspectives on peace in terms of the levels of analysis and theoretical focus that each includes. The first perspective, peace as the absence of war, is applied to violent conflict between and within states--war and civil war. This view of peace is still widely held among general populations and politicians. In certain situations, it can be argued, this is still a legitimate objective, at least until the killing stops and it is possible to ask for more out of life than avoiding death in war. Furthermore, all six definitions of peace discussed here require absence of war as a necessary precondition for peace.
Quincy Wright (1941) modified this absence of war idea to suggest that peace was a dynamic balance involving political, social, cultural and technological factors, and that war occurred when this balance broke down. Wright argued that this balance of forces occurred in the international system--defined in terms of the overall pattern of relationships between states and International Governmental Organizations (IGOs)--as well as between and within states. Wright also discussed the role of domestic public opinion within a state--which involves the community level of analysis. His model assumed that any significant change in one of the factors involved in the peace balance would require corresponding changes in other factors to restore the balance. For example, Robert Oppenheimer, the much misunderstood "father of the atomic bomb," adopted Wright's view when he insisted on continuing to develop the bomb so that a global political institution, the United Nations, would have to be created to help control the new global military technology.
Galtung (1969) further modified Wright's view, using the categories "negative peace" and "positive peace" that Wright had first put forward some 28 years earlier. Galtung developed a third position and argued that negative peace was the absence of war and that positive peace was the absence of "structural violence", a concept defined in terms of the numbers of avoidable deaths caused simply by the way social, economic and other structures were organized. Thus if people starve to death when there is food to feed them somewhere in the world, or die from sickness when there is medicine to cure them, then structural violence exists since alternative structures could, in theory, prevent such deaths. Peace under this rubric involves both positive peace and negative peace being present. Galtung's model (in addition to the community, within states, between states, and international levels of analysis) includes the global level of analysis, such as the global economy which is influenced by non-state actors, such as MNCs.
During the 1970's and 80's, a fourth perspective was ushered in by feminist peace researchers, who extended both negative peace and positive peace to include violence and structural violence down to the individual level. (Brock-Utne, 1989) The new definition of peace then included not only the abolition of macro level organized violence, such as war, but also doing away with micro level unorganized violence, such as rape in war or in the home. In addition, the concept of structural violence was similarly expanded to include personal, micro- and macro-level structures that harm or discriminate against particular individuals or groups. This feminist peace model came to include all types of violence, broadly defined, against people, from the individual to the global level, arguing that this is a necessary condition for a peaceful planet.
The 1990's has seen the emergence of two types of holistic peace thinking. (Dreher, 1991; Macy,1991; Smoker, 1991) Here, as with the feminist model, peace between people applies across all levels of analysis--from the family and individual level to the global level. In addition, Gaia-peace theory places a very high value on the relationship of humans to bioenvironmental systems --the environmental level of analysis. Peace with the environment is seen as central for this type of holistic peace theory, where human beings are seen as one of many species inhabiting the earth, and the fate of the planet is seen as the most important goal. This type of holistic peace thinking does not have a spiritual dimension, peace being defined in terms of all forms of physical violence against people and the environment.
This sixth view of peace sees inner, esoteric (spiritual) aspects of peace as essential. Spiritually based peace theory stresses the interactive relationships, the mutual co-arising, between all things and the centrality of inner peace. In addition to the relationships of human beings with each other and the world--including the environment-- a spiritual dimension is added to Gaia-peace theory. This dimension is expressed in different ways by peace researchers, depending on their cultural context. As in the Tao of Physics, where new paradigms in physics resonate with worldviews found in Eastern mysticism, this new paradigm in peace research resonates with much thinking in world spiritual and religions traditions. Peace has truly become indivisible.
Two important issues in the evolution of the Western peace concept concern the various interpretations of "positive peace" (which, following Galtung, was expressed in terms of absence of structural violence) and "nonviolence" (the verbal construction of which suggests an "absence of violence" framework, i.e. nonviolence--somewhat parallel to the peace as absence of war perspective). In this section of the paper, we would like to consider the evolution from negative to positive views of peace, including the evolution of the "positive peace" concept itself.
Schmidt, in his critical Marxist analysis, "Politics and Peace Research," (1968) argued that value positive concepts of peace were doomed to failure within peace research, because it would not be possible for peace researchers to achieve a consensus on what constituted a positive view of peace. He put forward the view that peace researchers could only agree on what they were against--for example war, starvation, and poverty. Schmidt's article was arguably the main stimulus to Galtung's 1969 rejoinder, in which he redefined Quincy Wright's concept "positive peace" to mean the absence of "structural violence"--harmful social, political and economic structures that are responsible for avoidable human deaths through preventable starvation or treatable illness. Galtung's positive peace concept --the absence of structural violence, like his negative peace concept --the absence of war, did not include an inner or spiritual dimension. Peace of both sorts took place in the outer world and positive peace was a function of human social structures.
Feminist theory, the fourth perspective defined above, broadened
the positive peace concept to include micro structures, such as the family,
as well as Galtung's macro structures, but for the most part it still emphasized
elimination of the undesirable--such as war and wife beating. At the same time,
however, there was an increasing emphasis on value positive thinking (stressing
desirable alternatives, such as visualizing alternative futures as a part of
the process of moving towards those futures--the work on imaging positive futures
by Elise Boulding in the peace research community being an excellent example).
An earlier paper (Smoker, 1981) discussed the extent to which peace research--as reflected in the pages of a defining journal, such as the Journal of Peace Research--had focused almost entirely on negative concerns, such as how to avoid or control war, aggression, physical violence and structural violence. Since that article--which was part of a special issue of the Journal of Peace Research on peace--the situation has not changed significantly. Within the last six months, the Editors of the Journal of Peace Research have revisited the idea of peace in the positive sense--as opposed to positive peace in the Galtung sense--and are considering including a section on the topic (not a whole issue) at some future time. However, a decision has not yet been made. There is little doubt that positive images of peace have been the exception, rather than the rule, in Western peace research.
This has not been true in Futures Studies, where a focus on alternative futures has contributed towards the development of both negative and positive conceptualizations. There is a sizable group of people within the Western futures community--but by no means all futurists--whose visioning of positive alternative futures is based, in part at least, on a spiritual, holistic, perspective. The works of Barbara Marx Hubbard, Marilyn Ferguson, and Jean Houston--an outstanding group of women futurists--are particularly notable examples.
The emergence of holistic peace paradigms in peace research--whether spiritual and/or environmental--has included an increasing emphasis on positive conceptions of peace. In part this is because of our realization that, whatever our nationality, culture or religious tradition, we are all interconnected and interdependent. Viewed from space, planet Earth is a blue-green sphere, we cannot see national boundaries, but we can see the land and the water, ice caps, deserts and forests. The Earth is clearly a whole complex system, a living being perhaps, but we as individuals and groups are but a part of the planet as the planet itself is a part of the solar system, galaxy and universe. The new thinking, it can be argued, represents a return to wholeness, not in the sense of uniformity, but in the sense of complexity dynamically balanced in interaction, the whole as integrated synergy, syntigration. This mindset enables an appreciation of the interdependence of species in the global ecosystem, of particular cultural meanings in the context of the total global cultural system, and of particular faiths in the rich diversity of global religions. The whole is more than the sum of the parts, and the greater the variety of the parts, the richer the expression of the global whole.
Whereas "peace as absence of war" typifies the conceptual framework for most popular "peace thinking," there are other aspects to peace. The answer to the question " if you think about peace, how would you define it?" might, in the majority of cases, very well be "absence of war" or "absence of violence". But the answer to the question "when you are at peace, what does it feel like?" will almost certainly describe some form of inner peace experience involving "being at one with," or being "peaceful" or "calm". This is because the actual experiences of peace that most, if not all, of us have as human beings--in Western or Eastern culture--are related to inner peace. Inner peace also involves an inner knowing or intuitive dimension--beyond the feeling dimension--where one suddenly understands patterns and relationships between things which were not understood before. This is the classic "aha" type experience which is the basis for creativity, and tapping this source would do much to enrich peace researchers visions of a positive future world at peace.
Holistic peace paradigms that include spiritual and/or environmental concerns resonate with our positive peace experiences and, as a result, are better able to add value positive images to their intellectual frameworks. Positive peace can therefore be seen as an evolving concept, a concept that does not yet exist in the initial "peace as absence of war" definition, but a concept that subsequently takes on different meanings as the peace concept expands.
The term a "culture of peace" has recently become an important focus for UNESCO--both in academic terms, as witnessed by the 1993 Barcelona conference on "Contributions of the World's Religions to a Culture of Peace," and in practical terms, as evidenced by the launching of UNESCO field projects in the South around this concept. An important theoretical question concerns the possible meanings of the term "culture of peace", particularly since the previous section of this paper illustrated the broad range of interpretations given to the word peace, and the ramifications this has for peace action. The difficulties of understanding what might be meant by "culture of peace" are further magnified by the fact that "culture," like "peace," can and has been defined in many ways. Therefore this section of the paper is best seen as a contribution to a preliminary discussion of the culture of peace concept, a discussion that is likely to continue for some time.
Earlier in this paper, we noted that culture can be defined as learned, shared, patterned behavior, as reflected in technology and tools; social organizations, including economics, politics, religion, media, education, and the family; and ideas. Under this view, socialization is the process through which culture is learned, including our religious beliefs and practices, and the agents of socialization include language, politics, economics, religion, education, family, and media. Culture under this view provides the medium through which we interpret the world, the context of meanings, small and large, that makes coherence possible. A culture of peace, therefore, would be a culture that made peace possible, and, as we have seen in the previous section, what is meant by a culture of peace will almost certainly vary according to the concept of peace that is used.
If peace is just the absence of war between and within states, then a culture of peace would be a culture that made war between or within states increasingly unlikely, until eventually interstate and intrastate war would cease. Such a culture of peace has long been established in certain parts of the world and between certain states, for example, between Canada and the United States, the U.K. and France, or Australia and New Zealand. It has been argued elsewhere that there has been a worldwide trend towards such a culture of peace for some centuries. (Smoker, 1984) The steadily decreasing frequency of interstate warfare in Europe, for example, has taken place over a period of some hundreds of years, such that there is now this sort of culture of peace between all members of the European Community. Similarly, worldwide there has been a clear trend away from interstate warfare being the dominant mode, as was the case before 1938; through intrastate armed conflict with foreign military intervention being the dominant mode, for example the Vietnam or Afghanistan wars, as was the case up to the middle 1980's; to the present situation, where intrastate armed conflict--usually between nations (as distinct from states) or culturally distinct ethic groups--without armed foreign military intervention, is the dominant form of violent conflict, for example, in the former Yugoslavia, Myanmar and Rwanda.
So while at one level, that is between states, much progress towards a culture of peace (as absence of war) has been made, the same is not true within states, particularly where culturally distinct nations or ethnic groups are concerned. A consideration of culture of peace as balance of forces in the international system is necessary to explore this problem.
The establishment of a balance of forces culture of peace has been explained by various theorists in terms of increased economic, social and political interdependencies between states in the international system, making violent conflict between states less likely. Thus the idea of a war between France and Germany is now unthinkable to either side, despite the fact that just 50 years ago these two states provided a battlefield for the bloodiest war in human history. The same is probably not true for India and Pakistan, Argentina and Chile, or North and South Korea, although integration theorists would, and do, argue that the danger of war between any of these states has in most cases lessened and will certainly diminish in future with increased economic, social and political interdependencies. This functional integration argument, which is closely related to the balance of forces point of view, suggests that if peace is seen as a balance of forces in the international system that enables change to be dealt with nonviolently at the state level, then the globalization process, in line with the integrationist arguments detailed above, should strengthen the culture of peace. This is particularly true for the period since the Second World War, following the establishment of the United Nations and the dramatic expansion in International Governmental Organizations (IGOs), International Non Governmental Organizations (INGOs) and multinational (MNCs) and transnational corporations (TNCs). During this period, a "balance of forces" culture of peace has grown substantially, as indexed by the dramatic fall in cross-border wars between states. A culture of peace in this sense refers to the structures, norms and customs that have grown up in the international system, and within states, and that are increasingly accepted as appropriate, if not yet required, conditions to be an accepted member of the "community of states."
Theorists such as Kenneth Boulding have argued that the development of zones of peace, in the peace as absence of war sense, has in part resulted from the "movement for peace". For Boudling the movement for peace is an indirect consequence of increased economic and social interdependencies between two states in the international system, while the "peace movement" is represented by individuals and groups who actively campaign against war, nuclear weapons and other undesirable features of the international system. Zones of peace are areas in which war between, or within, states has become increasingly unlikely, because of the multiple interdependencies between both states and nations within the zone.
If we turn to a culture of peace in the Galtungian framework, and we focus on the issue of structural violence, then the world picture is less positive, but by no means entirely negative. At the non-governmental level, large numbers of international citizen's groups have emerged who struggle to create the economic, social and political context to overcome the harshest manifestations of structural violence, namely poverty, starvation and preventable disease. In addition, many governments contribute to humanitarian missions worldwide as a matter of duty, accepting some measure of shared responsibility for the human tragedies that daily appear on our television screens. While it can, with some legitimacy, be argued that the global economic and political structures of the world continue to contribute substantially to global structural violence through the activities of multinational and transnational corporations and the inevitable consequences of the current international economic system, it has to be recognized that a number of multimillion dollar private enterprises, and thousands of similar smaller groups, work to overcome "structural violence" using economic, social and political approaches. While this interpretation of the culture of peace has not yet succeeded in changing values or economic, political, and social structures sufficiently to create a world in which structural violence becomes progressively less likely, there is strong evidence to suggest the emergence of a culture of peace of this sort. The actions of citizens and governments in humanitarian aid, while often inadequate, are nevertheless an established part of international relations--they are the norm, rather than the exception.
If the concept culture of peace is interpreted in the feminist framework, then the cultural conditions necessary for peace do not exist in any country. Physical and structural violence at the micro level, in the community and family, on the streets and in the schools, are widespread, and the cultural, social, political and economic changes required to create a feminist culture of peace represent a major challenge to every national society on Earth, as well as in most, if not all, institutions, including many religious institutions. While the three previously discussed models of peace have stressed peace at macro levels of analysis, the feminist models are firmly rooted in personal experience, and are based around how peace feels to individuals. The evolution of the peace concept towards holistic peace, which includes both inner and outer aspects, required this shift, which, it can be argued, represented the biggest single contribution of feminist peace theory. Whereas the three previous models tended to conceptualize peace using abstract, general concepts applied towards the more global level, the feminist models turned these conceptions upside down and clearly defined peace from the personal, experiential level. Feminist notions of "structure" stress circular complex patterns as opposed to the complex, hierarchical notions associated with Galtungian definitions of structural violence. In this regard, the feminist theories also represent a shift towards value positive perceptions of peace, which stress holistic, non-hierarchical interaction between human beings.
This is not to say that global problems cannot be addressed using such a perspective: they can, as the following example illustrates. A recent article in the Los Angeles Times, entitled "Asia's Response to AIDS Marked by Fear, Denial" (Los Angeles Times, 1994) describes how, in 1993, more than one third of the estimated 1.4 million new AIDS cases worldwide were women and how, by the end of the century, we might expect equal numbers of new cases from women and men each year. The article, reporting on an August 1994 global gathering of AIDS experts in Japan, pointed out that "women are subject to the whims of fathers, brothers, husbands and pimps, with no divorce or inheritance rights of their own. Men often feel no responsibility to the women--whom they view as little better than disposable property--and thus are immune to exhortations to use condoms and adopt other safe sex practices." The Los Angeles Times quotes Dr. Jonathan Mann of Harvard University, who was the first head of the World Health Organization's Programme on AIDS, as saying that "even if all the envisaged educational and control programs were implemented in developing countries, they would fail to halt the impending catastrophe because they do not take into account human rights issues, especially the rights of women." This sentiment is further elaborated by the current Director of WHO's AIDS Programme, Dr. Michael Merson, who is quoted as saying: "Disempowered people are vulnerable, consider the untold numbers of women who fear infection from their partner, but do not have the power to insist on condom use or the economic power to leave the relationship." Dr. Mann further argues that "No matter how hard we try, traditional public health programs cannot make up for the negative impact of this difference in societal status and realization of rights. A group of women lawyers in Uganda has convinced me that the first step in fighting AIDS must be to rewrite the divorce and inheritance statutes."
A feminist culture of peace, based on personal, experiential analyses, requires fundamental changes in societal values, in the North as well as the South, if the conditions conducive to the creation of peace, in the feminist sense, are to be achieved. The AIDS issue highlights the centrality of culture in overcoming micro-level structural violence. Likewise, issues such as domestic violence and child abuse, which have been highlighted by feminist scholars, will require similar fundamental changes in cultural values. While much feminist scholarship has stressed micro violence--such as wife beating--there has also been a focus on macro structural questions--such as the pervasive effects of patriarchal structures. As a consequence, feminist conceptions of a culture of peace will also require societal wide changes in personal cultural values.
A holistic Gaia-peace interpretation of a culture of peace presents an even broader set of concerns that must be brought into play. Whereas the environment was, until fairly recently in Western Civilization, seen as a resource to exploit, that was separate from human beings, it is now seen as connected to us. The extension of outer peace to include peace with the environment represents an important and necessary evolution of the peace concept, whether the environment is seen as just a tightly integrated biochemical system, or as the Goddess Gaia, a living being, a whole system integrated both in functional and meaningful (logico meaningful) terms. The shift in values towards a concern for peace with the environment has not yet led to widespread, radical changes in cultural values, but perhaps that process has begun. In a period of less than twenty years, there has been a shift towards environmentalism in most societies on the planet, green peace has become more than the name of an important environmental pressure group, and there is now widespread verbal recognition of the need to live in harmony with the environment--a need that for some may be purely functional, but which for many if not most, is based on a vision of planet earth as sacred.
For Western peace research, this represents a shift from secular towards spiritual peace paradigms, a realization that inner peace and outer peace-- spiritual and material--are interconnected and interdependent. It is here that the contributions of the world's religious and spiritual traditions can help us better understand holistic peace. For example, the idea that the collective external world of outer peace is in some way a representation or image of the collective inner world of spiritual peace, may be of particular importance in the creation of a holistic, inner and outer global culture of peace. The variety and diversity of humanity's religious life, as celebrated in the ecumenical tradition, would then provide a dynamic link between the inner and outer worlds, such that inner-outer peace would be manifest in all aspects of a culture of peace--including macro and micro social and economic institutions, local and global values, art, literature, music, technology, meditation and prayer. The resulting culture of peace would display a Gaia-like global pattern, where the interacting local cultures are manifestations of the inner unity and outer diversity principle spread throughout the whole system. Definitions of reality would be fundamentally different under such a paradigm. Whereas "reality" in Western Peace Theory has previously been defined in terms of aspects of the material world, leading to a concentration on economic, military and political questions, "reality" under a holistic peace paradigm includes both material and spiritual components. A holistic culture of peace (balancing inner and outer, feminine and masculine, material and spiritual in a both/and framework) will lead to a completely different outcome to peace theories that concentrate on changing the outer world, but do not balance such concerns with a parallel and interdependent exploration of the inner.
The previous sections describe various interpretations of the culture of peace concept ranging from a narrow view that stresses the creation of cultural conditions that make war between states impossible, to a broad view that requires the transformation of every culture to a state that makes holistic inner-outer peace achievable. If we use this framework then there are, in practical terms, at least three strategies that can be followed to create global cultures of peace. The first strategy would emphasize the importance of the international system in creating global cultures of peace. In the short term, the existing trends towards an international society in which war between states is no longer seen as acceptable can be strengthened which, in the longer term, would make it possible to work for local cultural conditions to support broader definitions of peace, such as feminist ideas that include eliminating micro level physical and structural violence against individuals as well as against nations and states. The second strategy would stress the bottom up approach to creating global cultures of peace, arguing that we should, as individuals, work in the short term in our own cultural communities and contexts to transform our own local cultures into cultures of peace, and in this way, in the long term, build a global culture of peace. The third strategy would combine both global and local initiatives, working with international, national and local organizations and groups to create appropriate cultural conditions for peace. At the global level, peace might be more appropriately defined, at least to begin with, in terms of eliminating large scale physical and structural violence. At the local level peace might initially be defined more in terms of eliminating individual or small scale physical and structural violence, as well as in terms of creating inner and outer aspects of peace.
The concept "nonviolence", like the concept "peace",
has various meanings in different cultural and political contexts. In this section
of the paper, we would like to briefly describe six different interpretations
of nonviolence, using the peace theories framework developed above.
During the period of the Cold War, the theory of nuclear deterrence adopted by the United States and Soviet Union required each side to develop and maintain substantial military forces--including nuclear weapons arsenals capable of destroying the world several times over. Strategists on both sides argued that the nuclear deterrent kept the peace in Europe and prevented a nuclear or conventional war between the then two military superpowers. Peace can be defined as a state of non-war, as we have discussed above, and actions that maintain such a peace can similarly be defined as nonviolent--even when they involve threatening to use military force. So nuclear deterrence is an example of nonviolent action under this view of peace. The United States' Strategic Air Command--which helped the US implement nuclear deterrence through their state of constant readiness to launch a massive nuclear attack against the Soviet Union--adopted this view of nonviolent action, as illustrated in their motto: "Peace is Our Profession". (The movie "Dr. Strangelove" was a spoof of this interpretation of peace. Nonetheless, many people in the military and politics in both countries and their allies--given the dynamics of the Cold War--sincerely believed that nuclear weapons were a necessary deterrent to war.)
For Quincy Wright's "balance of forces" perspective, where public opinion at the "within states" level is also seen as important, the idea of nonviolence as "war without weapons,"(Boserup and Mack, 1975) based on Gene Sharp's functional interpretation of nonviolence, (Sharp, 1973) becomes appropriate for maintaining and adjusting the balance of forces. Sharp's model of fragile power--as opposed to the monolith model of power assumed in nuclear deterrence--argues that power is fragile because the balance of social forces that maintain it can be changed by concerted, group nonviolent action. Wright similarly assumed peace involved a dynamic balance between various social, economic, political and technological forces, although he placed more emphasis on the international system level of analysis, and Sharp focused more on the community level of analysis.
Galtung's structural view added the idea that certain structures, both in the international system and in the community, can be either violent or nonviolent, and that changing such structures was a fundamental task for peace research. Nonviolence under this rubric expands beyond Gene Sharp's original conception, as Sharp himself did in his study of social power and political freedom, (1980) to include not only group actions, but also the social, economic and political structures within which they occur. For example, the international system, which prior to Galtung's theory had been viewed by most peace researchers as a positive contribution to peace, was the focus of intense criticism from peace researchers after the theory was published in 1969. Previously it had been seen as evidence of increased cooperation between states, but after 1969 it was redefined as an oppressive, violent, macro structure that caused the deaths of millions of people per year through the starvation and inequalities it caused. For example, even though there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, millions die from starvation every year because of the structure of the international economic system. A nonviolent international (or domestic) economic system would ensure that no one would starve as long as there was enough food in the world (or country) to feed them.
The feminist perspective further extended the concept of nonviolence, in keeping with its extension of the concept of peace, to include nonviolent relationships and structures on all levels of human society, both macro and micro. Feminist nonviolence is not limited to the behavior of states or the structure of the international system; it includes nonviolent behavior in the community and the home, and nonviolent political, economic and social structures at all levels of society. The feminist critique of patriarchy provides a good illustration of the extension of the idea of nonviolence to include all levels and institutions of society. Patriarchy is seen as a pervasive violent structure that acts against women in all of society's major institutions--including marriage, business institutions, churches, community organizations, and even peace movements. Feminist nonviolence also involves peaceful behavior between individuals, as well as between states.
The Gaia Peace view of nonviolence is a natural extension of the original feminist position. Indeed, many feminists (following Rachel Carson's lead) have expanded their original ideas into ecofeminism, where a peaceful relationship with the environment is seen as paramount, embodying, as it does, the central feminist principle of "power with" rather than "power over." This view of nonviolence includes nonviolent actions at every level, nonviolent structures at every level, and nonviolent processes and relationships between all living beings. Nonviolence of this sort is clearly visible in the West, where environmentalism, vegetarianism, and animal welfare issues are becoming increasingly popular.
Holistic definitions of nonviolence have of course been present in the Western literature for a considerable time, with Eastern traditions in general, and Gandhi in particular, having made the greatest contribution to our understanding of this spiritually-based type of nonviolence. The distinction between nonviolent action as a technique of struggle versus nonviolence as a philosophy and way of life has provided the basis for discussing nonviolence in the West, thanks to the work of Gene Sharp in the West and Mahatma Gandhi in the East and their respective perspectives. Whereas Sharp has stressed the functionality of nonviolent action and its value as a technique for waging conflicts--a technique he believes to be superior in pragmatic terms to violence--the Gandhian nonviolence as a way of life school has always adopted a deeper view of nonviolence, based on a centuries-old Eastern tradition that stresses an inner, spiritual peace component
One of Mahatma Gandhi's most important statements was that "the means are as important as the ends." This is a central part of using nonviolence as part of a whole philosophy of life, rather than as just a temporary tactic. There have been various practitioners of nonviolence as a philosophy of life, including Gandhi, and before him Leo Tolstoy in Russia and Henry David Thoreau in the United States, as well as after him Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez in the United States. What distinguishes all of these people--besides the fact that they each influenced those who came after them in the use of nonviolence--is that their use of nonviolence as a philosophy of life was grounded in deep spiritual principles and practices. In short, all of these people tried to live a life based on these spiritual principles, including the idea that how we live our lives everyday is as important as the ends or goals that we seek via these means. In a nonviolent struggle, one therefore has the goal of not dehumanizing one's opponent and also trying to not let one's opponent dehumanize oneself, since it is this dehumanization which is part of the process that people go through before justifying using violence against other human beings in the world.
Gandhi never took action in the world until he had first meditated and asked for inner guidance on what to do. When Gandhi's movement also became violent, he called off further action until people could be adequately trained in nonviolence. Gandhi did not see nonviolence as passive, but rather as active struggle against unjust laws or policies. Gandhi also believed that one should not oppose all laws, only the unjust ones. Gandhi had five stages in his nonviolent struggle, as noted below, and believed that one must exhaust all possibilities of each stage before going on to the next stage.
In this first stage, the existing legal constitutional machinery is used to try to deal with the conflict within the system and achieve a satisfactory resolution.
If stage one was fruitless, a stage of agitation is undertaken to heighten the awareness and educate the people as to what the conflict is all about. In a totalitarian society, the network of communication that is established to implement this phase is built outside the normal channels, and is thus more difficult, since it must be undertaken in secret.
This stage involves the presentation to the establishment of a document listing the people's needs and stating that continued opposition would produce some sort of direct action. If, however, this document fails to produce a favorable response, then members of the movement begin their preparation for direct action.
This stage is used by those preparing for nonviolent action to
develop ahisma (the spirit of harmlessness), which is seen as a prerequisite
to action that is untainted with self-interest. During this time members question
their inner strength, noting if they have enough self-respect to command the
respect of the opposition. The ability of each member to avoid the pitfall of
reducing their opponent to an "enemy," thereby dehumanizing them and allowing violence to occur as a result, is of the highest importance.
In this fifth stage, after exhausting all regular constitutional machinery, heightening the awareness of the population at large about the issue, and undertaking intensive soul searching and inner preparedness, nonviolent action is undertaken. This action can take many forms, including economic boycotts, sit-down strikes, non-payment of taxes, mass resignations from public office, and deliberate and organized disobedience to certain laws that are considered unjust. Gandhi, relying heavily on his opponents' lack of preparation, felt that some combination of these methods, coupled with sympathy from within the ranks of the authority being challenged, could open channels for discussion. On the other hand, if resistance continued, the end result could be the complete collapse of the government's power, shifting power to the Satyagrahis, who could then constitute a new government.
Having explored Gandhi's philosophy and practice of nonviolence above, as he used it against the British first in South Africa, and then in India, an interesting question is: what relevance do Gandhi's ideas have for today? The first obvious answer is that with the destructive potential of nuclear weapons today, the world can no longer afford to solve its conflicts via violence and weapons of mass destruction--if we want a future for ourselves, our children, and the earth. Gandhi was the first person to take ideas of nonviolence and apply them in a mass movement for social and political change, that showed that a party to a conflict can win via nonviolent means against a much stronger party, 'if' the former can appeal to the moral conscience of their opponent, and the world, and convince them that they have a just cause which deserves to be listened to and addressed in a constructive manner. Certainly the world can use such an approach today. Being willing to listen to inner spiritual guidance, and then to undergo purification (to be sure one's motives are pure) before embarking on political action in the world are other characteristics of spiritually-based nonviolence, which distinguish it from both temporary uses of nonviolence for functional purposes, and from violent efforts at social-political change. Such spiritually based nonviolence carries a much bigger moral authority and influence because it is not undertaken for personal power or ego reasons, and because it does not dehumanize one's opponent, which is a necessary step before people can justify killing other human beings in the world. All of these values, if adopted by the world's different peoples, cultures, and religions today would do much to create a more peaceful world in the 21st century. It is also significant that religious leaders of many of the world's religions would agree today that when violent actions are undertaken in the name of religion, the party concerned is not being true to the spirit or the letter of that religion. (Certainly religious cults today or fundamentalist religious factions that advocate and engage in violence against others with different perspectives than their own are not being true to the spirit of the original founders of their professed religions.)
While various aspects of inner and outer peace have been explored in this paper (especially outer peace, which is a more developed concept in Western peace research), it is also useful to ask (and to summarize) what the possible linkages or bridges are between inner and outer peace in our lives. At least two suggestions have been made in this paper. First, in the section on "Mythology," it was noted by Joseph Campbell and Jean Houston that the myths and archetypal hero figures of different cultures can provide road maps for individuals showing how their everyday life in the world can be linked to the inner life of the spirit. Likewise, in the section on "Nonviolence", it was noted that spiritually-based nonviolence, such as that practiced by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King (i.e., nonviolence which is part of a whole philosophical way of life, based on spiritual principles, as opposed to nonviolence as a temporary tactic when it is expedient) provides a model of how one can turn to inner spiritual guidance--through meditation or prayer--to seek inner help and confirmation before embarking on action for social justice and social change in the world. Combining these two suggestions, we can thus see two distinct ways to connect inner and outer peace--one (mythology) leading from outer to inner peace, and the other (spiritually-based nonviolence) leading from inner to outer peace in the world. This is not meant to suggest that mythology and nonviolence are the only ways to connect or bridge inner and outer peace, but certainly they are two important ways to do so.
Two other fundamental linkages between inner and outer peace are obviously prayer and meditation. Indeed, prayer is often seen as asking God or spirit for something, i.e., thus going from our outer lives in the world to our inner life of the spirit, while meditation is listening to God or spirit for an answer, i.e., thus going from our inner life to our outer life in the world. While this sounds like a clear cut distinction, in reality the two things--prayer and meditation--are often interconnected and part of a larger whole. In any case, both prayer and meditation are important dimensions of the inner-outer peace relationship, as noted in the above diagram.
In summary it can be said that Eastern religions and cultures, including Hinduism and Buddhism, have a 'tendency'--because of their focus more (though not exclusively) on the esoteric aspects of their religions--to focus more on inner peace as a precondition for peace in the world. They also have less of a tradition historically of concern with social justice questions, which are so important to the West. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that the link between inner peace (based on a spiritual life) and outer peace (or action in the world for social justice) was most clearly made for the first time in the world in any collective societal way by Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in India and came out of a Hindu background, but who also studied in England.
Western religions and cultures, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,--have had a tendency--because of their focus more (though not exclusively) on the exoteric aspects of their religions, at least in their everyday activities--to focus more on aspects of outer peace, including social justice questions, as a precondition for peace in the world. There are nonetheless esoteric traditions in the West, which though less dominant, were nonetheless the foundation for the original spiritual enlightenment experienced by the founders of all the world's great religions, including the three dominant Western religions--Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These can take the form of the Kaballah (in Judaism), Gnostic Christianity (in Christianity) and Sufism (in Islam), as examples, although there have always been some mystics in the mainstream forms of all the Western religions as well.
a. If one focuses only on outer peace and creating social justice in the world, but not inner peace, then people's unresolved inner conflicts can be projected out onto the world, creating scapegoating, prejudices, and conflicts, therefore making it difficult to create social justice and peace in the world (the ostensible goal).
b. If one focuses only on inner peace, then social injustices and structural violence in the world, which are not addressed by society and people, will tend to make it difficult for most people to transcend their outer conditions of life, thus making it difficult for them to attain inner peace (the ostensible goal).
c. Clearly there is a dynamic and synergistic relationship between inner and outer peace: by focusing on both aspects of peace, each aspect of peace--i.e., inner or outer--increases the probability that more people will also be able to attain the other aspect of peace.
Western peace research has hitherto defined peace in terms of particular aspects of outer peace, such as Wright's conception of peace as a balance of macro forces in the International system or the Galtung formulation of peace in terms of negative peace (absence of physical violence) and positive peace (absence of structural violence). The evolution of the outer peace concept in Western peace research has contributed much to our understanding of peace and conflict issues, but it is important to recognize that Western peace research has concentrated its effort almost entirely on outer peace and has not to date included the spiritual inner peace dimension in its philosophical framework. This is not to say that religion or religious institutions have not been considered by peace researchers, as the work of Sorokin (1931) and Richardson (1960 ii), two of the founding fathers of Western peace research, demonstrates. But when peace researchers have focused on religious institutions or the values associated with particular religious traditions, their analyses have stressed behavior in the outer material world, in much the same way that particular economic institutions or political institutions and their associated values have been considered. What has been lacking in Western peace research is an exploration of inner peace and its relationship to outer peace.
We propose that the concept of peace used in Western peace research should now be extended to include both inner and outer dimensions of peace and their interrelationships. This will require a transformation in the dominant sensate or material worldview associated with mainstream Western peace research to a worldview that in Sorokin's terms includes both truth of sense and truth of faith.
In Western peace research, models of outer peace now include many interpretations and levels, whereas inner peace is just beginning to be included and is not differentiated in terms of different levels of consciousness. Thus in Figure 4, five distinct perceptions of outer peace are elaborated: peace as absence of war, peace as balance of forces, peace as negative peace plus positive peace, feminist peace paradigms and holistic peace. Each of these five models of peace is considered against seven levels of analysis in the outer world, namely; individual, community, within states, between states, international, global and environmental. The inner peace concept is far less developed in peace research, despite the fact that the world's spiritual traditions have for centuries explored many aspects of inner peace using a variety of different approaches. Western peace research needs to learn from both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions that experientially focus on different levels of consciousness and inner peace. It needs to elaborate different dimensions and levels of inner peace as a necessary component of a holistic inner-outer interpretation of peace.
To do No. 2 above, Western peace research must go beyond empirical research
on, and actions in the world--both based on our five senses, which is one way
of knowing, to also acknowledge intuition and direct inner experience as another
way of knowing. This will require that Western science acknowledge that there
are other ways of knowing besides the five senses-which will create an epistemological
challenge for some people. But, as Michael P Richard says, in the introduction
to Pitirim Sorokin's book Social and Cultural DynamicsI: (Sorokin, 1957, pp.
x-xi) The implications of all this are profound. From the standpoint of epistemology,
the most controversial point is that the scientific method of apprehending reality
is not the only valid one. Equally valid is the truth of faith: insight, intuition,
revelation....The most valid method is what he [Sorokin] calls "integral
truth" since it combines reason, faith, and empiricism.
In many ways such an extension of ways of knowing represents a continuation of a methodological trend that has been underway for some time. Whereas much of the early work in peace research was primarily associated with particular disciplines such as political science and economics, scholars such as Wright developed multidisciplinary approaches that included a broad range of perspectives from Anthropology to Zoology. With the broadening of the disciplinary base of peace researchers came interdisciplinary approaches and the application of both analytical and experiential approaches, such as simulations and games. The further expansion of peace research methodologies to include spiritually based methodologies, such as meditation and prayer, should not be taken as a negation of the well established social scientific approaches that have provided the basis for Western peace research, but should rather be seen as an extension of the multimethod philosophy that is associated with interdisciplinary work.
Up to now, Western peace research has tended to focus on peace as the absence
of negative or undesirable things (including war, physical violence, and structural
violence, on all levels). Even the concept of "positive peace" has
been defined as the absence of structural violence. It is clear that a peaceful
world cannot be created only by eliminating negatives: one must also have a
clear vision of what one wants to create in a positive sense. These positive
attributes of peace include both inner and outer dimensions. The field of Future
Studies is a good place to look for some of the positive aspects of creating
peace in the world, i.e., outer peace, as well as certain aspects of inner peace.
In this regard futurists often quote Fred Polak who said "A civilization
without positive images of itself is doomed." Global spiritual traditions
are the obvious other place to gain insight into the multileveled different
aspects of creating and experiencing inner peace. As peace research adopts a
broader inner-outer framework for considering peace, it is likely that insights
and experiences from explorations of inner peace will help create a more balanced
view of outer peace in which positive peace can become a desirable ideal in
its own right, rather than a concept that is defined in terms of the absence
of something undesirable.5. Peace Research Must Explore and Include How Cultures
Influence People's Perceptions of 'Peace' as Well as How Much People Believe
the World Can Be Changed or Not.
In a globally interdependent world, it is critical that peace research include perspectives on peace, and how to create it, from different cultures around the world and that people be open to dialoging with each other on these various perspectives on peace. Peace research must explore how different cultures (and religions), and their underlying values, influence (often unconsciously) how peoples (including peace researchers) from different cultures perceive "peace'--both in the negative sense of what they want to eliminate, as well as in the positive sense of what they want to create, and indeed how culture itself influences how much people believe they can change their conditions of life in the external world or not. For example, Western cultures are much more likely to believe that the external world can be changed by actions in the external world, and therefore to focus their energies in this direction; whereas Eastern cultures may accept the state of the external world more and focus instead on their inner world. In short (while noting the dangers of over generalization) Western cultures have been called "doing cultures" while Eastern cultures have been called "being cultures." Peace may require both of these perspectives in the twenty first century. Insights from the fields of anthropology, intercultural communication, comparative religions, and the ongoing inter-religious dialogue should help in this endeavor.
This paper has developed the theme that peace requires a dynamic balance between different "opposites" or "extremes," including a balance between both spiritual and material values, as suggested by the work of Sorokin; between exoteric and esoteric forms of the religious experience, as discussed in the first part of the paper; between male and female aspects of divinity, in such a way that our experience of God or Spirit transcends all dualities, including male and female; between inner and outer aspects of peace, in such a way that peace action and research include both an inner component, such as meditation or prayer, and an outer component that deals with action in the world for peace and social justice. We have stressed the need to avoid "either/or" formulations and instead to seek paths that include "both/and" perspectives that include both poles and their dynamic interdependence. In helping the world to find such a balance, as a foundation for peace in the 21st century, the ongoing ecumenical dialogue and sharing of religious practices and concerns between Eastern and Western spiritual and religious traditions will play a critical role.
* Note: This is a slightly revised version of an earlier (5/95) article published as part of the Proceedings of the Second UNESCO-Sponsored Conference on "THE CONTRIBUTION OF RELIGIONS TO THE CULTURE OF PEACE," Barcelona, Spain, Dec. 12-18, 1994.
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