There are many people all over world who campaign for peace.
What does peace mean? Does it mean a world without physical conflict, does it mean a world without anger, without hate, a world that is harmonious, where we all just get along?
I’m not sure what the answer is to be honest, as it will mean different things to different people and life has taught me there isn’t a right or wrong for most things.
Since the dawn of time there has been terrible conflict and there has been horrific events, where humans have done the most destructive and often evil things to each other.
So today’s world is no different to any other point in history, we have conflicts where people are killing each other for some cause or another. Where people hide under a banner, an agenda, often an excuse to attack one another.
Although, in the perspective of the last 100 years, the world is relatively ‘peaceful’, as just a 100 years ago one of the most futile conflicts took place in Europe, where millions were slaughtered in a pointless war. Then just 21 years after that had ended, yet another war started, that bought slaughter and misery across much of the planet.
However, if you are in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or any other conflict, the fact that it isn’t one the scale of Stalingrad or Hiroshima, is not really of any comfort to you. It’s real and it’s you and your families that are under threat and are affected.
So surely by now, you would have thought the human being would have worked out that these conflicts are nearly always completely futile and in fact they could all be avoided.
So why hasn’t the penny dropped? Why hasn’t the millions that were slaughtered in two world wars in the last century not stopped us still killing each other?
Well for me, there are three very clear reasons why the penny hasn’t dropped.
Firstly, the people that often create, start and even engineer the wars, actually want to have them. Often these people are immune from the unpleasant side effects, such as dying. They are not taking up arms directly in the front line, where the bullets fly and where the bombs blow up them and their families.
They sit in the seats of power and play the war games with other peoples lives.
The governments in the West, in some developing countries too, need the distraction that war often brings. No surprise that the 2nd World War followed the great depression.
War is also very profitable for large companies and for the general economies of countries that manufacture weapons. These large companies will no doubt make contributions to political campaigns, so guess what? politicians need to keep having wars.
The second reason that wars still continue is, that we all have two ‘brains’ inside our heads that are running the world. We all have a limbic (chimp) brain, which is where all inputs go first and this chimp brain is not a logical, peace loving brain and is 5x stronger that our human one. It is our animal brain, that runs on emotion and doesn’t have any conscience, after all lions on the plains of Africa don’t look at the baby gazelle and say ‘ahhh poor thing, may be will eat tomorrow’. No they just eat it to survive.
The chimp inside us is very dominant and we all know how chimps act towards other chimps in the wild – it’s very aggressively, territorially and is brutal.
You don’t need to visit the cinema to experience Planet of the Apes, as we live in it on a day-to-day basis. Most of are allowing our chimp brains to dominate, instead of allowing the compassionate, logical and compromise seeking human (frontal) brain decide. Animals don’t have this human/frontal brain.
The chimp brain is all about win at all costs, to look strong in front of the troop, so wars are an inevitability.
Lastly, the ones who campaign for peace, often do so in the wrong way. Their message is often shrouded in mystic and rituals, things that the everyday person, who’s working hard to pay the bills and feed his family, does not relate to.
In fact in true chimp mode, they will ridicule a lot of it and poke fun, as they can’t relate to the message that the peace campaigners are putting out.
So what is the solution? As essentially I believe that most of the 7 billion souls on this planet want peace.
It’s two straight-forward things to be honest.
Firstly, change the way we educate the current and future generations. Start to teach people about how their brains work, how they can change and manage their chimp brain. Teach people about their values and how important they are and how we shouldn’t compromise them. Teach them the importance of collaboration, people, communities and helping others.
Secondly, the message from the peace campaigners needs to be delivered in terms of what is important to the masses, the message needs to be delivered with passion and put in simple, plain terms, that people can easily relate to and a message that they can see will benefit them.
This for me is the only way to reach peace and with technology that connects all 7 billion of us (well not if you live in N Korea) such as social media, the message can be spread easily if done in the right way.
Educate and make the message understandable and mainstream.
(If you want to read more about the chimp brain then check out The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters.)