Living in Peace and Wisdom on our Planet

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Blog item: What Does It Mean to 'Want Change'?

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2 comments, last: Jan-22-2009   Add a comment   Author:  PT (Jan-17-2009)    Play a Video
Categories: Economic/Financial, Philosophical & Quality of Life, Sustainable Living

At this point, most of us can feel the desire for change permeating USA society.   But perhaps the person in the image is making one mistake – based on the sign, he is telling others to change.

For me, this whole USA election and the change it implies is not about solving the finances of our country, even though I am affected by the economic problems to some degree. I am more concerned with the way societies will respond when there is no oil or gas for winter heat or fertilizer, or when water disappears due to changes in temperature and melted glaciers, or when the fish populations in the ocean collapse further, deeply affecting some nations' food supply.

Will we remain as blinded as the Middle Eastern fighters, up to the last moments when we can see the destructive results of habitual actions and reactions?  I know that arguments can be made for one side or the other, and I have my own preferences, but for the greater good I will not go there, I don't care, in some sense, who is right and who is wrong.  We must find peace and better purposes to which to give our energy, our precious time, our thoughts.

People forget that what are relatively trivial bouts of bickering and low-level warfare can sometimes blow up into World Wars, or perhaps a nuclear incident.  If your family is the one that is dislocated, or has several members killed in an "accident" of war, will you pay attention at that time?  Will we be like those survivors who become peace advocates, after the damage is done?

Now we are engaged in another kind of war or struggle: that is the struggle to live for values rather than for convenience and for possessions.  It is the struggle to act in a way that protects the environment but might make life less "easy".  For most of us, including myself, it is not always simple making these changes.  Each change in perception and priorities, leading to changes in behavior, is hard-fought in one's own attitudes.  Spending extra time finding products that impact the environment less, or doing without certain things, is a grudging change in behavior.  If we collectively fail to make these changes, I believe we will end up like war victims, trying to pick up the pieces of what is left of our normal lives.

I want to say that it is not necessary to hit bottom, in terms of wars or in terms of our global environment, before gaining some knowledge and making real improvements.  So, I will make a change now and in each moment in my thinking and behavior, making the world a better place. Why? "You must be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi

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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Jan-22-2009)   Web site
I agree with you. Perhaps I can clarify what I mean: it is the attitude and intention of ultimate peace which I feel needs to be always preserved even if one must fight. When people forget that and close the doors, that is when situations become even more destructive and hard to solve, while the people suffer.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jan-22-2009)   Web site

Another good, thought provoking piece, David. Thank you for it. My only comment is about the rights and wrongs of any individual conflict. Of course, these are debated elsewhere by other people and we need not go there. But I think it is important, because peace flows from justice and justice is about right and wrong.

To want peace is not enough. In the 1770s the British wanted peace, but George Washington et al had other ideas and ideals. In the 1940s the Nazis wanted peace in occupied France, but the French Resistance demanded more.

There is an old saying that if you want peace you should work for justice. Another, more militantly put, is that there will be no peace without justice. Either way, the two go together. And having read a few of Gandhi's messages, I think he understood this.

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About author/contributor Member: PT (David Alexander) PT (David Alexander)
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Member: PT (David Alexander) My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.

Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.

I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.

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