Monday, October 13, 2014

Peace, & Giving Up Our Ideas Of Superiority

"Peace...peace, all men aspire to peace. But peace for the man without work, who has not enough to feed his wife and children, peace for the immigrant alone without friends, peace for the people living under tyranny or in slums, is quite different from the peace sought by the affluent. For them, peace means: 'Leave me in peace...don't touch my things.' This is the peace of those satisfied with themselves and their lot  and who remain deaf to the cries of misery and of suffering humanity. This kind of peace is an undercover war which slays the afflicted by indifference. It is maybe worse than open violence,  because it goes frequently under the banner of virtue. This peace is not for us. It is a crime that calls out to God for vengeance.

Neither is peace a compromise, fixing borders and external acts, a discussion that stops violence on the outside but does not stop hatred. Peace is real understanding, and more, deep respect for others. Contempt causes division and promotes jealousy, hate and violence. As long as there are men, or groups of men, or countries and races who consider themselves to be superior, and who treat others with disdain, there will be war. Peace will not come except through a radical conversion in men, by which they will look on others without fear, as brothers to be respected. This conversion involves loving others with different qualities, different cultures, languages, habits, needs and sufferings; not wishing to impose our culture and our ideas, but allowing them to express themselves according to their own ways. Peace can come only when men and countries become humble with respect to each other, when they stop amassing armaments and drop their attitudes of superiority and aggression, in favour of an attitude of service. It is necessary to dispel rivalry so as to give birth to friendship, mutual trust, cooperation and sharing."

~ Jean Vanier. "Eruption To Hope." 1971.