Almost everyone in the world says they are for “peace,” but what does peace mean? Numerous definitions apply. From the Peace Studies field, peace might mean (1) evolving visions and goals for creating a more peaceful society and world, with different people focusing on different aspects of peace that they each see as essential; (2) evolving non-violent means and processes for bringing about needed social–political change, including support for desired visions and goals; and (3) a feeling (i.e., how do you feel when you feel peaceful inside?)
Almost everyone in the world says they are for “peace,” but what does peace mean? Numerous definitions apply. From the Peace Studies field, peace might mean (1) evolving visions and goals for creating a more peaceful society and world, with different people focusing on different aspects of peace that they each see as essential; (2) evolving non-violent means and processes for bringing about needed social–political change, including support for desired visions and goals; and (3) a feeling (i.e., how do you feel when you feel peaceful inside?)
This chapter focuses primarily on peace as evolving visions and goals for society and the world that, if achieved, would help to create more peaceful societies within countries and globally and help to build cultures of peace across the world.
First, a word on terminology. Terms such as peacekeeping, peacemaking, and peacebuilding need to be examined; then, the differences between the “peace movement” and the “movement for peace” are explored; next the idea of building “cultures of peace” in our society and world are examined; followed by an introduction to Johan Galtung’s “negative peace” and “positive peace,” with some examples of each. This will hopefully help non Peace Studies scholars familiarize themselves with common phrases and terminology, as well as provide concrete examples of these peace efforts in action.
The term peacekeeping deals with efforts to stop violence between two warring factions. One important example of peacekeeping would be the mobilization of United Nations (UN) peacekeeping troops (including from different countries) to create a buffer zone and end violence between formerly warring parties. Such UN peacekeeping operations must be approved by the UN Security Council, where the five permanent members (USA, UK, France, Soviet Union—now Russian Federation—and China)—all victors at the end of WWII—each have a veto power on any such UN peacekeeping operations. (Please see Part II, Peace No. 2, for an elaboration of the UN role in peacekeeping.)
Peacemaking deals with helping parties in conflict negotiate with each other in an effort to reach an agreement to end the conflict between them. One example would be US efforts (under US President Jimmy Carter) to negotiate a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, where Egypt got a return from Israel of the Sinai Peninsula (which Egypt considered Egyptian territory) and Israel received security guarantees that the Sinai Peninsula would be demilitarized, so that it could not be used to launch an Arab attack against Israel again. Both parties also received sizeable foreign aid packages from the US as an added incentive to reach a peace agreement, which was signed on March 26, 1979. 2
Peacebuilding—a very popular term and process today—involves a longer-term process than either peacekeeping or peacemaking. Specifically, peacebuilding refers to the building of conditions under which peace between two warring parties or parties in conflict eventually becomes more possible. Peacebuilding may include developing more favorable conditions for peace on the ground, or helping the parties of the conflict evolve their images of each other and a modicum of trust, so that negotiations between the parties might become possible.
The late Kenneth Boulding, a longtime peace researcher, provided terms for two important movements in peace studies: The peace movement and the movement for peace. Although these two ideas sound similar, Boulding defined the peace movement as including all people consciously and actively working for different aspects of peace in different communities and countries around the world. 3 Examples would thus include anyone actively working for any of the seven aspects of peace covered in Part II, such as people working to end war, support international institutions, create social justice, support women and minority opportunities and rights, create more understanding between different cultures and religions, take care of the earth and other species, or meditate to find inner peace. In contrast, the movement for peace is an indirect result of everything that leads to greater interdependence between different countries and diverse peoples that helps to reduce the prospects for war between them. An example of the movement for peace would be two countries with important business or trade relations between them, who would thus be less likely to go to war with each other. (Almost all people in Peace Studies stress the activist peace movement, while Boulding added the indirect movement for peace as also important.)
Building cultures of peace is a term originating from the UN system, which has issued two important declarations relevant to a culture of peace: First the UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued a Declaration of the Year 2000 as a Year for a Culture of Peace, which was followed by the UN General Assembly issuing a Declaration of the Decade 2001–2010 as a Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World. 4 UNESCO once had a Culture of Peace Office, headed by David Adams, which no longer exists. Nonetheless, the term culture of peace has spread around the world and is now used by everyone everywhere.
Two more terms, Negative Peace and Positive Peace, are used extensively in Peace Studies. They refer to two of the seven aspects of peace that have evolved within the Peace Studies Field, which are covered in Part II of this chapter as Peace No. (1), peace as absence of war and physical violence; and Peace No. (3) peace as eliminating not only war and physical violence, but also structural violence—where people suffer indirectly because the structure of the system is preventing people from getting their needs met when the system potentially could. This latter type of peace thus promotes social justice wherever possible. (Please see these two sections of Part II for further definitions and examples of these two aspects of peace.)
In the field of Peace Studies, there have emerged at least seven holistic, evolving aspects of peace, defined as desired visions and goals that, if achieved, would help create a more peaceful world. While each focuses on different aspects of peace, there remains a common goal to build more peaceful societies domestically and a more peaceful world globally. These aspects of peace are based on the assumption that as the world evolves, and new issues emerge, so too must our concepts of peace also evolve. Each of these aspects of peace builds on each other, collectively creating a more holistic, integrative view of peace for the twenty-first century.
These seven different aspects of peace are also organized under three broad categories (with different aspects of peace under each) and include:
The seven evolving aspects of peace—to be covered next—fit under these three broad categories. A diagram follows showing how each of these seven aspects of peace, organized under these three broad categories (across the top), build on each other, while also showing how peace covers ever more system levels (from left to right) over time.
Figure 34.1 Seven concepts in the evolution of peace thinking, leading to a holistic, integrative view of peace
The first two aspects of peace that emerged within the Peace Studies field both deal with preventing war. They include: (1) eliminating war and physical violence; and (2) creating international institutions to keep the peace and prevent a return to war. The first goal of peace is to prevent war and physical violence, and then to set up international institutions to help keep the peace, via providing forums where all the diverse actors in the international system can come together, seek areas of common ground on policies, try to resolve their conflicts, and thereby keep the peace. Because the Cold War emerged after the UN system was set up at the end of WWII, some of the original vision for the UN to keep the peace was made more difficult, as explained under Peace No. 2 below.
Eliminating war is seen as a precondition for all other aspects of peace to become possible. When at war, all other aspects of peace tend to be neglected to focus attention on the war effort, which also co-opts the energy and resources of society from other peace efforts. War also necessitates dehumanizing one’s opponent (in one’s own mind) to psychologically justify killing them. In this way, war leads not only to a great loss of life, as well as to great physical damage to the environment and to a country’s infrastructure; it also inflicts deep psychological wounds on combatants and non-combatants on all sides in a conflict, which can take many years to heal.
This first perspective, peace as the absence of war, focuses on avoiding violent conflict and war between and within states (war and civil war, respectively). This became the predominant view of peace after two World Wars and is still widely held among general populations and politicians in most countries today. There are good reasons for this. The ravages of WWI and WWII did not end violent conflicts, which continued during the so-called Cold War, where two superpowers—the United States and the Soviet Union—often engaged in “Proxy Wars,” or wars in which one superpower had troops on the ground, while the other superpower funded the opposing side. Vietnam and Afghanistan are two such examples. Wars, including internal or civil wars, such as in Syria today, as well as those begun by outside intervention, such as the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, continue to rage around the globe. Every day the lives of millions are threatened by the specter of war. Under these circumstances, peace becomes the absence of war—at least until the killing stops and other aspects of peace can be addressed.
This first aspect of peace focuses primarily on eliminating the ravages of war, with eliminating physical violence also added later. All six subsequent aspects of peace (covered in Part II) also include absence of war as a goal, while also adding additional goals for peace, since each aspect of peace includes and builds on what came before).
During the Cold War, under the theory of Nuclear Deterrence, a number of people, on both the US and Soviet sides, advocated deterring nuclear war by stockpiling nuclear weapons, and building strong second strike or retaliatory capabilities, on both sides, leading to the US–Soviet arms race. Under this theory, if both sides had a strong second strike, retaliatory capability, then theoretically a nuclear war could be deterred. This theory was based on the somewhat crazy reasoning that if either side was attacked with nuclear weapons on a first strike, but had enough nuclear weapons left after this attack, so that they could then inflict back on their opponent with a second retaliatory strike, what was perceived by their opponent to be “an intolerable level of damage,” that then, under this situation, both sides would then be “deterred” from initiating a nuclear first strike attack against their opponent, and thereby nuclear war could hopefully be avoided! This situation was rather appropriately called MAD, standing for Mutually Assured Destruction. As crazy as this sounds, it guided nuclear policy and ongoing arms races on both sides throughout the Cold War and beyond. 5
In the nuclear area, “peace as absence of war” also seeks to reduce dangers of nuclear arms races—via periodic arms control and disarmament agreements, and via efforts to abolish nuclear weapons altogether—a longer term effort. 6 Here it is noteworthy that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons—modelled after the 1990s International Campaign to Ban Landmines—won a Nobel Peace Prize in October 2017. Peace as absence of war also seeks to reduce dangers of: Nuclear proliferation (to countries such as Iran or North Korea); nuclear terrorism (where one seeks to prevent terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons); and accidental nuclear war (where increasing tension and negative rhetoric between nuclear parties, or other unforeseen circumstances, could lead to accidental nuclear war). 7 This is also a great danger today with ongoing bellicose threats being exchanged between North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and US President Donald Trump.
Despite the craziness of nuclear deterrence theory—of nuclear parties stockpiling nuclear weapons with the goal of never having to use them—in general “peace as absence of war” seeks to reduce or eliminate dangers of different types of weapons systems and warfare. These include eliminating or reducing: Dangers of nuclear weapons and warfare—on earth and now in space; dangers of conventional weapons and warfare; and dangers of chemical and biological weapons (the poor man’s nuclear weapons) and warfare. It also seeks to eliminate the destructive effects of land mines, and any weapons endangering human life and taking resources away from other life-enhancing uses.
The famous peace researcher, Johan Galtung, called this first type of peace “negative peace,” a term later extended to include not only eliminating war, but also eliminating physical violence—within or between countries. Galtung distinguished “negative peace” from what he called “positive peace,” which was eliminating structural violence.
To prevent a return to war, once the fighting stops, international institutions must also be created to help keep the peace and provide a forum where all the different actors in the international system can come together, balance their different interests, develop joint policies—including peace and development goals—as well as resolve conflicts without going back to a state of war. This aspect of peace is based particularly on the work of Quincy Wright, and later writers. It views the UN system, set up at the end of WWII, and especially the UN Security Council, as the best hope for keeping the peace. Unfortunately the Cold War broke out in 1947, after the UN was founded in 1945, and the victors at the end of WWII—the US, UK, France, Soviet Union, and China, who were allies during the war— all received a veto power over UN peacekeeping operations in the UN Security Council. With the emergence of the Cold War, the US, UK, and France on one side, and the Soviet Union and China on the other side, ceased being allies and became Cold War adversaries instead. This made the original vision for the UN, especially for the UN Security Council, as the vehicle to help keep the peace, much more difficult and limited. Nonetheless, the UN has undertaken a number of important peacekeeping operations over the years, as in Angola, East Timor, and Cambodia. 8
Quincy Wright, in his path breaking work A Study of War (1941), stated that peace is a dynamic balance involving political, economic, social, cultural, and technological factors, and that war occurred when this balance broke down in the international system. The international system includes the overall pattern of relationships between states and International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) and domestic public opinion within a state—the community level of analysis. Any significant change in one of the factors involved in the peace balance would require corresponding changes in other factors to restore the balance. 9
As one example, Robert Oppenheimer, the much misunderstood “father of the atomic bomb,” insisted on continuing to develop the atom bomb (based on a nuclear fission reaction), so that a global political institution, the UN, would have to be created to help control this new global military technology. Nonetheless, Oppenheimer did not support the later development of the hydrogen bomb (based on a nuclear fusion reaction), as Edward Teller did, who got Oppenheimer’s security clearance removed, leading to a later mental breakdown by Oppenheimer. 10
It is significant here that North Korea—as of September 2017—has just gone beyond testing atomic bombs (based on a nuclear fission reaction) to testing a hydrogen bomb (based on a much more complex and powerful nuclear fusion reaction). It is also working on developing an intercontinental ballistic missile delivery capability. These two developments have alarmed North Korea’s neighbors—including South Korea, Japan, and Guam, as well as the United States—an adversary of North Korea.
A systems view of peace sees the international system—if it can dynamically adjust to changes as they occur within the system—as the best solution for preventing war and preserving peace in the world. The numbers and types of actors in the international system have greatly increased since the UN was founded in 1945, as many former colonies got their independence and applied for UN membership, including representation in the UN General Assembly. Actors in the international system include not only nation states, but also international IGOs, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), multinational corporations (MNCs), grassroots local communities through a movement for a UN People’s Assembly, and also interested groups and individuals.
As the number of nation state actors in the international system, as well as different types of additional actors, has greatly increased over time, this has led to various proposals for reforming the UN system. These UN reform proposals over the years have included: Increasing the number of permanent member-state representatives in the UN Security Council (where UN peacekeeping operations must originate); changing the basis for how votes on policies are calculated in the UN system; as well as changing formulas for how the UN should be funded. These reform proposals have largely not passed, due to opposition from various vested interests, including those of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a veto power over peacekeeping operations there. 11
Much discussion has also focused on issues of global governance, as increasing issues require global cooperation in our increasingly interdependent world—”if” solutions are to be found. (Important here is that “global governance” does not mean “global government,” since nation state members still retain their national sovereignty, which they have not given up to the UN.) A related issue focuses on creating civil societies and democratic participation within countries as the foundation for more peaceful relations between states and more citizen participation in the international system. 12
In addition to the need to eliminate war and physical violence, and then set up international institutions to keep the peace, the next two aspects of peace add the need to also eliminate structural violence and create social justice—first on macro (transnational, international, national, and regional) levels, and then on macro AND micro (local community and family) levels. Focusing on the need to eliminate structural violence and promote social justice adds a social–structural dimension to definitions of peace.
In this third aspect of peace, Johan Galtung added the need to eliminate structural violence to the need to eliminate physical violence and war (Peace No. 1). Structural violence occurs when people suffer indirectly due to the structure of the system not meeting people’s needs when a different structure potentially could. The focus is thus on large scale, macro structural conditions—on international, national, and regional levels—that block people from getting their needs met when a different, more equitable structure potentially could. Such structural violence thus endangers human rights and makes social justice much more difficult to achieve.
This type of peace specifically views the international system and its structures—especially after years of colonialism and its aftermath—as inequitable and thus part of the problem, via perpetuating resource and human exploitation and unequal opportunities between developed and developing countries and peoples. In this type of peace, the structural inequities in the international system itself are seen as the major obstacles to creating world peace. This contrasts with Peace No. 2, where the international system (after two World Wars) was viewed as the best hope for maintaining world peace. (The outbreak of the Cold War after the UN system was created clearly made this more difficult, as discussed under Peace No. 2.)
Johan Galtung’s concepts of “negative peace” and “positive peace” are firmly accepted within the Peace Studies Field. Besides defining “negative peace” as the absence of war and physical violence, he defined “positive peace” (with a negative definition!) as the absence of “structural violence,” and further as avoidable deaths and suffering caused by the way large scale social, economic, and political structures are inequitably organized. Thus, to Galtung, if people starve to death when there is enough food to feed them somewhere in the world, or die from sickness when there is enough medicine to cure them (such as AIDS in recent years), then structural violence exists since alternative structures could, in theory, have prevented such avoidable deaths. 13
By opposing inequitable structures that block people from getting their basic needs met, when this theoretically should be possible—both within countries and regions and between countries globally—this type of peace strongly supports social and economic justice issues and the protection of basic human rights, as enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 14 This type of peace thus opposes racism and other forms of prejudice as antithetical to its goals of furthering social justice and more equal opportunities for all peoples.
A more recent update critiquing the international system and its international institutions as they relate to peace—as Galtung had done earlier—comes from the work of Oliver Richmond, who advocates a “hybrid, post liberal” or “local-liberal hybrid” approach to peace. He notes that the post-Cold War liberal peace experiment has “failed to connect with its [local] target populations,” who have thus sought ways to get their local needs met. The liberal effort, as viewed from local perspectives, is seen as offering “a universal normative and epistemological basis for peace,” via “top-down and distant processes” that appear to represent power interests over “humanitarian or emancipation” needs of local populations. This tension between local needs and universal liberal frameworks for peace has led to the creative emergence of a “local–liberal hybrid form of peace” that Richmond’s work has sought to document. 15
Beyond Richmond’s views, in further looking at the international system today, as well as many national and local systems, it is clear that many structural inequalities still exist, with the gap between rich and poor increasing, not decreasing, thereby making this third type of peace more difficult to achieve. Wealth is increasingly being concentrated in the hands of a very small percentage of people at the top, which is a very unhealthy situation for the body politic and for democracy, while also creating polarizing effects within many countries. This unhealthy wealth distribution is occurring not only in Western capitalist countries, but also in Russia today, after the fall of Communism, where some of the former top Communist Party leaders are now billionaire oligarchs. Some people have also become very wealthy in China, which calls its system “socialism with Chinese characteristics,” which means that a significant amount of capitalism exists.
While both capitalism and socialism are products of the industrial age, we have now moved on to the information age and beyond—based on a number of new technologies. 16 So far, while various experiments in alternative economics have occurred on micro levels (such as micro credit loans, printing local currencies, barter, and Mondragon Communities, as examples), a new, hopefully more equitable macro economic system has not yet emerged. When wealth is so inequitably distributed, democratic institutions are endangered (since democracy depends on a strong middle class), showing that creating the conditions for positive peace is more important than ever, but is not moving in the right direction at present.
With an ongoing movement towards increasing automation of production by robotics, more jobs are undoubtedly endangered in future, leading to needed alternatives, such as a guaranteed minimum income or universal basic income (UBI). The full outlines of such a future alternative economic system are still emerging, but are vitally important to address. While this system would provide a basic income for everyone, and hopefully help eliminate homelessness and extreme poverty, it is no guarantee that extreme wealth gaps would be eliminated, since jobs would still exist for some people, for which they would be paid in addition to their minimum guaranteed income. 17
Gender/feminist peace extends the goal of eliminating both physical and structural violence from just macro system levels to also micro (local community and family) levels. In short, how can one expect to create peace on larger system levels if one has physical and/or structural violence in one’s own community and family?
Gender/feminist peace is not just for women, but for all peoples. It is inclusive of different genders and minorities in any society, and seeks to provide opportunities for physical safety and other educational and occupational opportunities in life for all peoples and groups, so that people can also develop their creative potential and thereby be given the tools to contribute back to the societies and world in which they live.
An important part of eliminating physical and structural violence—on macro, as well as micro levels—involves the need to eliminate patriarchal values, attitudes, and institutions on all levels that keep certain privileged groups in power, while making access to better educational and occupational opportunities more difficult for others. Patriarchal values and institutions implicitly and often explicitly further racist, sexist, and prejudicial attitudes and behavior of all kinds, thereby blocking opportunities for women and minorities in any society. When war, violence, or social conflict occurs, the targets are often, not surprisingly, women and minorities.
Besides rape in wartime or in one’s own community or home, Gender Peace deals with real issues of human trafficking, as well as kidnapping of women in wartime to service soldiers on the other side. Examples include Korean comfort women for the Japanese in World War II, as well as the kidnapping of women by Boko Haram in Nigeria and by ISIS in the Middle East today. What women undergo in such situations is horrendous.
During the 1970s and 1980s, feminist peace researchers ushered in this fourth aspect of peace, and, in the process, extended both negative peace and positive peace to include the elimination of both physical and structural violence at local community, family, and individual levels. This new definition of peace then includes not only abolishing macro level organized physical violence, such as war, but also eliminating micro level unorganized physical violence, such as rape or domestic violence in war or in the home. The concept of structural violence likewise includes both macro- and micro-level structures that harm or discriminate against particular individuals, ethnic communities, races or genders, thereby denying them opportunities available to other groups. Protection of individual and group rights has thus been extended to protect not only the rights of women and minorities, but also LGBTQ rights, and rights of gay people to marry. 18
This gender/feminist peace model came to include the elimination of all types of violence (physical and structural) on all levels, from individual, family, and community levels on up to the transnational level, as well as the elimination of patriarchal values, attitudes, and institutions on all levels, as necessary conditions for creating a more peaceful planet. 19
In addition to the first four aspects of peace (above), which tend to focus more on what needs to be eliminated if peace is to be achieved (namely both physical violence and war, as well as structural violence), the last three aspects of peace focus more on holistic, complex, whole systems models and positive visions of peace, which are all based on the unity and interdependence of diverse, interacting parts. Intercultural Peace celebrates the diverse cultural expressions and systems—that human beings have created and are products of— that exist on planet Earth. Likewise, Gaia Peace honors the great diversity of different life forms and species and their interdependencies that exist in different ecological systems and in the single living system of Earth. These two types of holistic peace focus on the external world. The last aspect of peace, Holistic Inner/Outer Peace, draws on the world’s rich spiritual traditions and adds inner peace to all the forms of outer peace.
This focus on positive visions of peace is based on the principle, from the Futures Studies field, that one cannot change the world only by knowing what one wants to eliminate; one must also have a clear, positive vision of what one wants to create as an alternative. 20 Without this positive vision, people will critique what is wrong and not working in the existing system, but will not have a positive vision around which to mobilize action moving forward. Hence the following three holistic systems views of peace positively stated, include: (5) Holistic, Intercultural Peace; (6) Holistic Gaia Peace; and (7) Holistic Inner–Outer Peace, which are each covered next.
The goal here is not homogenization, but unity and interdependence, as well as an honoring of the great diversity of humanity and the unique gifts that each cultural tradition can contribute to humanity as a whole today. The challenge is to find a larger umbrella under which all the diversity of humanity can come together and find areas of common ground to move humanity forward, while still honoring that diversity. Whole fields of dialogue have emerged to help facilitate this process—including interpersonal dialogue, intercultural communication, the dialogue of civilizations, and interfaith dialogue—which all recognize that humanity must find ways to come together, create greater understanding, and recognize our increasing interdependence.
The interaction between cultures (defined broadly as socially learned behavior shared by people with common identities, values, lifestyles, and histories) has accelerated dramatically during recent centuries and decades. Too often the militarily stronger or economically more powerful culture has subordinated the militarily weaker or economically poorer one. Yet the world is becoming more interdependent each day and an honoring of the rich cultural diversity of the planet is an essential component of a future peaceful world.
While internal wars and cultural and ethnic violence have become global phenomena and foci for social science and peace research, especially in the post-Cold War period, wars with outside intervention—as in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Syria today—have also polarized the world and destabilized countries already suffering from internal divisions. 21 The consequences of these wars have been and will be with us for years.
Despite the above, relations between cultural, ethnic, racial, and religious groups can also be positive, creative experiences that enrich the lives of everyone involved. The fields of intercultural communication and interreligious dialogue as well as other prejudice reduction techniques, provide people with positive tools for dealing with cultural and religious diversity. 22
A few principles of intercultural communication and interfaith dialogue follow. A basic principle in the intercultural field is that “the message sent is often not the message received.” In short, we speak or act with a certain intention and interpretation about what our words or actions mean within our own culture, but the person receiving those words or observing that behavior may interpret it differently, relative to how those words or behavior are viewed—as basically acceptable or not—within that other person’s culture. 23
Two examples from US and Japanese cultures illustrate this point, where behavior that is appropriate and acceptable in one culture is not in the other culture. One example concerns the rhythm of communication in both cultures. In US culture, people often interrupt each other when speaking, while in Japan this is considered very rude. Instead one should wait until the other person has totally finished speaking, then pause and reflect on what they have said before beginning to reply. 24
A second example deals with where one focuses one’s eyes. In the US, it is proper to look someone directly in the eyes when talking to them. Indeed, if one does not do this, the interpretation is often that they are hiding something or even lying. In Japan, in contrast, it is traditionally considered too direct and intrusive to look someone directly in the eyes. Instead one should look more at the other person’s Adam’s Apple to show respect, although behavior of young people or people who have lived in the West can diverge from this— especially when they are speaking with Westerners. 25
To clarify the above points, the intercultural field also recommends learning to distinguish between D, I, and E, i.e., between describing the behavior of someone from another culture (just the facts of what they said or did); interpreting the meaning of that behavior (which, if one does not know the other person’s culture, will be based on what that behavior means within one’s own culture, which could be totally different, thus leading to misinterpreting the meaning behind the behavior of someone from that other culture); and finally evaluating or judging that behavior as negative or positive. Here a misinterpretation of the meaning of the behavior of someone from another culture can often lead to a negative judgment of their behavior because it was not understood within the context of the other person’s culture, where that behavior might have been seen as totally acceptable. 26
In short, behavior that is acceptable in one culture may NOT be the desired, acceptable behavior in another culture, illustrating how important it is that people do a bit of homework before visiting another culture, to learn basic dos and don’ts of behavior in that other culture. Also recommended is to observe the behavior of leaders in that other culture concerning what is acceptable behavior or not, as well as finding a local person as mentor with whom one can consult about how to behave in different situations in that other person’s culture. 27
Like the intercultural field, there are also principles that guide behavior in the interfaith and interreligious area, where people from different faiths come together to interact and dialogue with each other to seek greater understanding between them. A few of these principles include: Be open to listening, without judgment, to the spiritual journeys, views, and experiences of people practicing another religion; do not try to convert someone from their religion to your religion, since that does not show respect to their tradition; do not try to create one world religion, but respect the diversity of traditions; let people speak from their own experience about what it means to practice their religion; allow the possibility of some common spiritual experiences or principles—such as the Golden Rule—to emerge, that underlie diverse spiritual traditions; remember that the goal is to increase understanding, but not necessarily agreement on all issues between people from different faith traditions; realize that one can enrich one’s own tradition via being open to dialoging with people from other faith traditions without having to leave one’s own tradition; and realize that the search for deeper meaning in life, which religion addresses, has motivated human beings from all traditions from pre-history to today. 28
In conclusion, Intercultural Peace requires that everyone realize that every culture is a different learned map or version of reality (not ultimate reality), and that every culture has particular gifts (based on their geographic and historical experiences and learning) that they can bring to the table of humanity today. Intercultural peace requires the positive co-evolution of cultures at both macro and micro levels and the recognition that the whole diverse global cultural mix is a cause of strength for humanity, in the same way that the rich diversity of living plants and animal species is seen as a strength for an ecosystem and for the Earth.
If people can make peace with each other (Peace No. 5), then can humanity also make peace with the Earth, which is arguably in crisis for many reasons today? Many experts believe we are already in the sixth mass extinction of species on the planet, with the fifth mass extinction being the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. 29 This extinction is being caused by human dominance of the Earth, in what is now being called a new geological age—the Anthropocene Age. 30
Climate change and global warming are other huge problems, with extreme weather patterns increasing, as seen in recent earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. An ongoing shift from the use of nonrenewable fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) from the Industrial Age to renewable energy sources is also necessary, since fossil fuels release CO2 into the atmosphere, which increases global warming and creates pollution. If humanity does not deal adequately with global climate change, the ice caps at the poles will keep melting, oceans will rise, threatening coastal cities around the world, which could lead to mass migrations of people and to increasing conflicts over scarce resources, food, and places to live. This is an enormous task facing humanity today. 31
It is also clear that the US must rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 (which President Obama strongly supported and which President Trump withdrew US support for, making the US one of only three, and now two countries in the world not supporting this agreement). While this agreement is imperfect and based on voluntary goals set by countries, it is nonetheless an essential step in the right direction in terms of the world finally acknowledging how important the issue of limiting CO2 emissions is for the future of humanity and the planet. 32
Gaia Peace is named after Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess of Earth. In addition to the earlier types of peace, Holistic Gaia Peace—peace with Mother Earth and all her diverse ecosystems and species—also sees the Earth as a complex, self-organizing living system or being, of which humans are a part (not separate). It places all forms of peace between people within this broader ecological context. In some cases, the Gaia concept is interpreted scientifically, in terms of a complex biochemical, energy system, as in James Lovelock’s Gaia Hypothesis. In other cases, the inner, spiritual aspects of Gaia are also seen as essential, and Gaia or Earth is also seen as a sacred, living being or Goddess—in effect representing the soul of the Earth. 33
Gaia Peace requires peace between people at all levels of analysis—from individual and family levels to the global cultural level, while also placing a very high value on the relationship of humans to bioenvironmental systems—the environmental level of analysis. Peace with the environment, sustainable development (that does not take from nature at a faster rate than it can replenish itself) and responsible stewardship of the Earth are seen as central to this type of peace. Without the food, energy, and resources provided by Earth, there could be no human or other life on the planet and also no human economic, social, or other systems.
It is significant here that the Earth can survive without humans, but humans cannot survive without the Earth! Too often, however, humans—especially in the West—mistakenly think they are separate from nature and can just take the Earth’s resources to further their human ends, without regard for the health of the Earth itself, or regard for the survival of the many other species now endangered or extinct from human dominance of the Earth. 34 This is not a sustainable situation for our human and planetary futures.
In an effort to encourage countries and peoples around the world to deal more responsibly with how humanity relates to the Earth and other species, the UN first adopted, in 2000, eight UN Millennium Development Goals for 2000–2015, and now, in 2015, seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2015–2030. 35 These seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals indicate the large number of interrelated factors contributing to these Earth crises today, and what policies we humans must adopt if we are to have hope of dealing more effectively with all these human and ecological challenges. 36
Indigenous peoples—who have always seen themselves as part of nature and also as caretakers and a voice for the Earth—also warn us that the Earth is in crisis and dying in various places today because of our neglect and greed. Thus human rights must be expanded to acknowledge both rights of the Earth (our life support system, on which all of our futures depend), as well as rights of other species to survive, realizing that the futures of both Earth and many diverse species now rest in human hands. For this to happen, humans must consciously set aside territory as habitats for many different species, if they are going to be able to survive. 37
This last aspect of peace adds finding inner peace (using methods from all the world’s spiritual–religious traditions) to all the forms of outer peace covered above. Inner peace was the last aspect of peace added to Western peace research, but it is the central aspect of peace in Eastern traditions. The idea here is that finding peace within oneself first is a necessary precondition for creating any kind of lasting peace in the world. If a person has inner conflicts and negative feelings that they have not yet dealt with or acknowledged within themselves, then they can project those negative feelings out onto others and accuse them of having what one has not yet acknowledged or dealt with within oneself. This is the basis for prejudice in the world—another source of conflict. Using prayer and meditation to find inner peace and radiate love and interconnectedness out to the world is central here.
While inner peace can be just psychological, it frequently has a spiritual dimension that acknowledges some spiritual or transcendent aspect to life beyond just the physical world of our outer five senses. Inner peace then draws on the world’s rich spiritual–religious traditions, including their mystical aspects—with mysticism being defined as “a direct experience of ultimate reality,” and uses different forms of prayer and meditation (including breathing techniques, chanting, visualizations, and various forms of yoga) as tools to become centered within and reach deeper states of inner peace. 38
This approach to peace recognizes different dimensions and levels of consciousness related to inner peace, just as different aspects of outer peace have been elaborated above. For example, Eastern spiritual traditions talk about seven chakras or energy centers in the body that are each related to different aspects and levels of consciousness. The goal is to move kundalini energy up through the chakras in one’s spinal column, experiencing a parallel evolution through different states of inner awareness and consciousness in the process. 39
This spiritual dimension is expressed in different ways, depending on one’s cultural and religious background and context, and draws on centuries of experience by spiritual masters from the East, indigenous cultures, and some more ancient Western cultures, where such traditions were more developed and honored than in some modern Western culture. Even in the West, however, there is now much greater interest in such spiritual topics and practices, including a greater openness to exploring such inner dimensions of consciousness and peace. Western medicine and hospitals are also recognizing the important role of stress reduction techniques, such as meditation, in healing, due to an increasing recognition of the mind–body connection.
Eastern cultures and religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, have produced many mystics, avatars, and spiritual seers who have focused on the importance of inner peace as an essential condition for creating a more peaceful world. In this view, all aspects of outer peace, including one’s perception and experience of reality and the world, reflect one’s inner state of consciousness and must therefore be based on inner peace.
The emergence of more holistic peace paradigms within peace research—whether in intercultural, environmental, and/or spiritual areas—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 beautiful blue-green sphere, without national borders, but with land, water, ice caps, deserts, forests, and clouds supporting one interdependent planetary web of life based on multiple, interacting ecological systems. 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. This whole system’s mindset (of seeing reality as systems within systems within systems) enables an appreciation of the interdependence of species in regional ecosystems and in the global complex web of life; of particular cultural meanings in the context of the total global mix of humanity’s diverse cultural expressions; and of particular faiths in the rich diversity of global spiritual and religious traditions—all contributing to the tapestry of the whole. 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.
As the world keeps changing, and the needs of peace keep evolving, different aspects of peace have been added over time, each building on what came before. Having looked at the evolution of seven aspects of peace (above), what overall conclusions can we draw on how the peace concept has evolved within the field of Peace Studies since the end of WWII? At least seven characteristics of a broader, holistic conception of peace are noted next:
In looking at the above seven holistic, evolving aspects of peace from the Peace Studies field, it is important to note that different peace researchers, as well as peace activists, often focus on different, particular aspects of peace. Nonetheless, there is a clear movement over time from a focus on narrower to broader conceptions of peace, with a more holistic vision showing how all these different aspects of peace build on each other over time, until peace finally covers all seven areas on all system levels, from inner peace to global/planetary levels of peace.
Having covered the seven holistic evolving aspects of peace above, it is interesting to also note that the three broad cultural–civilizational–religious traditions existing on this planet each tend to start from a different initial assumption and aspect of peace that they each feel is most important as a foundation for building cultures of peace on planet earth. These three traditions are Western, Eastern, and Indigenous cultures and religions. Westerners thus tend to start with changing aspects of the external world and focusing on eliminating war and creating social justice as a precondition for creating peace in the world. Easterners tend to start with the necessity of inner peace first as a prerequisite for creating peace in the world. Finally, Indigenous cultures always start with caring for, and peace with the earth, as the basis for all life and hence also peace in the world.
Now that the whole world is becoming increasingly interdependent—with a global economy, global telecommunications, global travel, etc.—we also need a vision of peace for the twenty-first century that draws on the wisdom and experiences of all our great cultural– religious traditions—Western, Eastern, and Indigenous.
To different Peace Studies scholars, all three of these aspects of peace—outer peace, inner peace, and peace with the earth—are important and collectively create a more holistic, integrative vision of peace for the twenty-first century, where all our different cultural–religious traditions have something important to contribute to this collective vision, but no cultural– religious tradition has all the answers by itself. This collective vision is possible if we can only learn to listen to the historical experiences and wisdom of our different cultural traditions, and be open to creating something even better together for the future.
In addition to the above aspects of peace, another important aspect of peace is non-violence—which can be defined as both a goal, but also as the desired means used for bringing about needed social–political change, and for working towards achieving all seven of the above evolving aspects of peace.
Like concepts of peace, methods of non-violence have also evolved as the world has evolved. In separate writing, this author has covered ten or more evolving aspects of nonviolence, as different methods available for working for peace—both within existing social–political systems, and ultimately via extra-legal means beyond those systems, if finally necessary. These methods include Mahatma Gandhi’s Principled or Spiritually Based Nonviolence, where non-violence is part of a whole philosophy of how one leads one’s life; a number of other practitioners of non-violence in the Gandhian tradition; Strategic Nonviolence, where non-violence is used as a temporary strategy for bringing about needed change, in the tradition of Gene Sharp; and finally, a number of additional methods of working non-violently for change within existing systems that have emerged since Gandhi’s time.
These non-violent methods that have emerged since Gandhi’s time include: Conflict Resolution, Management and Transformation; Alternative Dispute Resolution (as an alternative to litigation), and including but not limited to negotiation, arbitration, and mediation; dialogue as an alternative to debate; search for common ground; and finally prayer and meditation, love and compassion, from all the world’s spiritual–religious traditions. 41
As the world keeps evolving, so also must our concepts of peace, as well as the methods of non-violent action available for bringing about needed social–political change. After defining key terms, this article has summarized seven evolving aspects of peace that have emerged within the Peace Studies field, that each build on each other and that collectively create a more holistic vision of peace for the twenty-first century. Noted next was how Western, Eastern, and Indigenous cultural–religious traditions each begin with different initial assumptions and aspects of peace as necessary prerequisites for creating a more peaceful world. These collectively again create a more holistic vision of peace for the twenty-first century–where no tradition has all the answers, but each tradition has an important contribution to make in creating a more peaceful world. Finally a brief overview of evolving aspects of non-violence was mentioned.
We live in a dynamic, ever changing world, and our concepts of peace and methods of non-violence must continue to evolve as the challenges presented to humanity and the world also continue to evolve. This will continue to be true in the future.
This chapter is a significantly enlarged and updated version of earlier articles—by Linda Groff, or by Paul Smoker and Linda Groff, on evolving aspects of peace from the Peace Studies Field. This article also adds a large number of historical examples for each aspect of peace. Earlier articles each applied and extended evolving aspects of peace to a different topic, or elaborated on six and then seven aspects of peace—in briefer or longer versions—from the Peace Studies Field. Earlier articles include: Linda Groff and Luk Bouckaert, “The Evolving View on Peace and Its Implications for Business,” in Business, Ethics and Peace, ed. Luk Bouckaert and Manas Chatterji (1st ed., Bingley, UK: Emerald Group, 2015): 3–23, which won an award from Emerald Publishing; Linda Groff, “Evolving Views of Peace, Negative Definitions,” and “Evolving Views of Peace, Positive Definitions,” both in International Encyclopedia of Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009); Linda Groff, “A Holistic, Integrative View of Peace, With Implications for Development,” in online Journal of Globalization for the Common Good (2007); Linda Groff, “A Holistic View of Peace Education,” in Journal of Social Alternatives 21, no. 1 (January 2002): 7–10; Linda Groff, based on work with the late Paul Smoker, “Proposal for a Global Monitoring System—of Negative and Positive Indicators—for Seven Types of Peace,” in La Educacion Religiosa En Un Contexto De Plaralismo Y Tolerancia (Religious Education in a Context of Pluralism and Tolerance), Coordinator Ramon Takeli Dyssyrama (Granada, Spain: Universidad de Granada and Centro UNESCO de Andalucia, 2001); Linda Groff, “Seven Concepts in the Evolution of Peace Thinking,” in Peacebuilding: Newsletter of the Peace Education Commission of the International Peace Research Association 3, no. 1 (January 2001): 11–15; Paul Smoker and Linda Groff, “Peace—An Evolving Idea: Implications for Future Generations,” Future Generations Journal (Malta) 23, no. 2 (1997): 4–9; Paul Smoker and Linda Groff, “Creating Global–Local Cultures of Peace,” shorter version in From a Culture of Violence to a Culture of Peace (Paris: UNESCO, 1996); and longer version in Peace and Conflict Studies Journal 3, no. 1 (June 1996): 1–38.
William Quandt, Camp David: Peacemaking and Politics (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1986).
My late husband, Paul Smoker, told me of this earlier distinction by Kenneth Boulding between the peace movement and the movement for peace. Both Paul and Kenneth were originally British and lifetime peace researchers, who are both now deceased. The Peace Studies field focuses primarily on the peace movement (people actively working for peace), but greater economic interdependence between countries could reduce the prospects for war between such countries (Boulding’s movement for peace).
On UNESCO, see “Manifesto 2000 for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence,” UNESCO, accessed October 18, 2017, archived online at: http://webarchive.unesco.org/20151214144252/ www3.unesco.org/manifesto2000/; see also United Nations, “Declaration of 2001–2010 as the Decade for a Culture of Peace and Nonviolence for the Children of the World,” accessed October 18, 2017, www.un-documents.net/a56r5.htm.
Robert Powell, Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The Search for Credibility (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Tom Sauer, Eliminating Nuclear Weapons: The Role of the Missile Defense (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011).
Paul Smoker and Anne Grinyer, It Couldn’t Happen, Could It? An Assessment of the Probability of Accidental Nuclear War (Lancaster, UK: Richardson Institute, October 1986); Paul Smoker and Ib Peterson, “International Tension and the Chance of Accidental Nuclear War,” in Accidental Nuclear War: Proceedings of the Pugwash Accidental Nuclear War Workshop on Nuclear Forces, ed. Derek Paul, Michael Intriligator, and Paul Smoker (Toronto, Canada: Science for Peace, 1990).
Joachim Koops, Norrie MacQueen, Thierry Tardy, and Paul D. Williams, eds. The Oxford Handbook of United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015); Alex J. Bellamy and Paul D. Williams, Understanding Peacekeeping (Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2010).
Quincy Wright, A Study of War (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1941).
Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (New York: Vintage Books, 2005).
For more on the UN system, see Chadwick F. Alger, The United Nations System: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2005); Chadwick F. Alger, ed., The Future of the United Nations System: Potential for the Twenty-First Century (New York: United Nations University Press, 1998).
Elise Boulding, Building a Global Civic Culture: Education for an Interdependent World (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1990).
Johan Galtung, “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research,” Journal of Peace Research 6, no. 3 (1969):167–191.
United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New York: United Nations, 1948).
Oliver P. Richmond, A Post-Liberal Peace (New York: Routledge, 2011); and Oliver Richmond and Audra Mitchell, eds., Hybrid Forms of Peace: From Everyday Agency to Post-Liberalism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012).
Linda Groff, “Future Human Evolution and Views of the Future Human: Technological Perspectives and Challenges,” World Future Review 7, nos. 2–3 (Summer/Fall 2015): 137–158.
Ibid.; Calum Chace, The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism (Three C’s 2016); Anthony Signorelli, The Postcapitalist Manifesto: How Robots, Digital Products, and Automation Could Give Us Basic Income, Meaningful Work, and a Climate Change Solution (Amazon Kindle Edition, 2017); Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World without Work (Brooklyn, NY: Verso, 2016); Guy Standing, Basic Income (Gretna, LA: Pelican, 2017).
Birgit Brock-Utne, Education for Peace: A Feminist Perspective (Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press, 1985); Birgit Brock-Utne, Feminist Perspectives on Peace and Peace Education (Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press, 1989); Betty Reardon, Women and Peace: Feminist Visions of Global Security (Albany, NY: SUNY (State University of New York) Press, 1993); Betty Reardon, Sexism and the War System (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1996); Betty Reardon and Dale T. Snauwaert, Betty A. Reardon: Key Texts in Gender and Peace (New York: Springer, 2015).
Fred Polak, The Image of the Future, trans. Elise Boulding (New York: Elsevier, 1973).
Samuel P. Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations?,” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (Summer 1993): 22– 49; Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations: Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996); Johan Galtung, “Cultural Violence,” Journal of Peace Research 27, no. 3 (1990): 291–305.
Fons Trompenaars, and Charles Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998); Craig Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out: A Practical Guide (Yarmouth, Maine: Intercultural Press, 1999); Linda Groff, “Intercultural Communication, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace,” Futures: The Journal of Forecasting, Planning and Policy 34 (2002): 701–716; Linda Groff, “Insights on the Evolution of Cultures, Civilizations, and Religions: Past, Present, and Future,” How Evolution Works (Bellevue, WA: Foundation For the Future, 2005), 139–166; Linda Groff, “The Challenge of Cultural and Religious Diversity and Peacebuilding in an Interdependent World,” Futures Research Quarterly 21, no. 4 (Winter 2005): 23–54; on interreligious dialogue see Joel Beversluis, ed., Sourcebook of the World’s Religions: An Interfaith Guide to Religion and Spirituality (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2000); and Groff, ibid.
Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture; Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out; Groff, ibid.
Linda Groff, “Intercultural Communication and Negotiation: Insights on the U.S.–Japanese Relationship,” FUTUREtakes, accessed on October 18, 2017, www.futuretakes.org/SpringSummer2009/vol8no1/article_003.html.
Groff, “Intercultural Communication, Interreligious Dialogue, and Peace”; Groff, “Insights on the Evolution of Cultures, Civilizations, and Religions”; Groff, “The Challenge of Cultural and Religious Diversity and Peacebuilding in an Interdependent World.”
Groff, ibid.; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture; Storti, Figuring Foreigners Out.
Beverslius, Sourcebook of the World’s Religions; Groff, ibid.
Elizabeth Kolbert, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (New York: Picador, Henry Holt, 2014).
Christian Schwagerl, The Anthropocene: The Human Era and How It Shapes Our Planet, trans. Lucy Renner Jones (Santa Fe, CA: Synergetic Press, 2014).
Linda Groff, “Making Peace with the Earth: The Many Challenges of the Anthropocene Age,” in Building Cultures of Peace: Empowering Our Local–Global Communities, ed. Linda Groff, et al. (forthcoming, 2019).
James E. Lovelock, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1991); Lawrence E. Joseph, Gaia: The Growth of an Idea (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990); Elisabet Sahtouris, Gaia: The Human Journey from Chaos to Cosmos (New York: Pocket Books, 1989).
Schwagerl, The Anthropocene.
United Nations, Millennium Development Goals for 2000–2015 (New York: United Nations, 2000).
United Nations, 17 Sustainable Development Goals for 2015–2030 (New York: United Nations, 2015).
Schwagerl, The Anthropocene; and Groff, “Making Peace with the Earth,” (forthcoming, 2019).
Denise Lardner Carmody and John Tully Carmody, Mysticism: Holiness East and West (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).
Anodea Judith, Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System (Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1999); Ambika Wauters, The Book of Chakras: Discover the Hidden Forces Within You (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, 2002).
Polak, The Image of the Future.
Linda Groff, “Holistic, Evolving Aspects of Nonviolence for Bringing About Needed Social– Political Change, and Important Practitioners of Nonviolence,” in Creating a Sustainable Vision of Nonviolence in Schools and Society, ed. Lt. Col. (Ret.) Swaranjit Singh and Dr. Nancy D. Erbe (Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2017); this source includes extensive references to the evolution of different methods of non-violent action.