This is the question that people have been asking themselves since the beginning of time. What is peace? And if there is such thing as peace, how can we find it?
It’s quite funny, actually, because I’ve been thinking about this question for three weeks now and I started thanks to an anime Naruto (if you want to know more, check out my post What Naruto has taught me ). Most people would think that it’s kind of weird since it’s just an anime (not mentioning that many people still consider anime as series for kids…) and how the hell would that even make someone wonder about such a philosophical question? Well, Naruto doesn’t look like it but there are many philosophical ideas that have really opened my mind. And this is one of them.
People have been fighting against one another for millennias. They have always tried to climb higher than others, they have always wanted to have more than others, they have always lusted after power. And looking back at the history of human kind, it’s very hard not to deny that people are mean selfish beings and they are destined to die (as I’ve written in my post Our self-destruction – I don’t really agree with it now, I’ve managed to build a much more positive attitude towards people).
I’ve always hated people. Why do we lie, steal, kill? Why do we want to possess everything and why don’t we even care about the others? Why do we oppress animals, people of different skin colour, women.. why do we always need to be so mean?
But then I’ve realised something. It’s very trivial, in fact. We come into this world innocent, full of kindness and joy. Children are honest, playful, good. And every single person who turns into a cheater, a thief, a murderer… every single one of them (except for some people who are mentally ill – but that can be caused by the society and by the way of upbringing as well) once was this innocent child. A white board, as Johne Locke would say. And then something horrible must have happened to them and it changed them. They discovered that the world was not as good as they had always dreamed because those who were already spoilt hurt them. It’s a never ending circle – you get hurt, you start to hate, you lust after revenge, you feel envious… and you turn into someone who hurts another person and that person continues. The circle never ends. We always get hurt, want a revenge and hurt somebody else. And so the kind and innocent children become mean people full of hatred and disappointment.
But how do we escape this circle of hatred? How do we achieve peace between all the beings on this planet? How do we achieve the state of happiness and love that everyone dreams about? Because everyone wants to be happy – and I believe that in our hearts, we also want others to be happy. All of us just want to live in a happy world with no wars, no harm, no tears. And we have never accomplished it, although we have been trying so hard. Now thinking about it, I feel kind of sad and sorry for us – we are trying as much as we can, we are giving it everything we have and yet we are not capable of finding it. We are not capable of becoming those kind and peaceful beings who live in harmony and peace.
It may sound funny but Naruto actually gave me my answer to peace. It’s forgiveness. And nothing of all of those ideas can be as hard as this one. Forgiveness. Imagine that somebody steals all of your money. Or bullies you. Or kills the closest person you have. And now you should just forget it and forgive that person? Am I mad or what?
But the truth is, this is the only way to stop this never ending circle of wars and hatred. The only one that I can think about. Forgiveness and Love, that’s the only way to beat Revenge and Hatred. The first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, said:
“Truth and love must prevail over lies and hatred.”
So many people claim that this statement is naive and that it can never be fulfilled. But there is one thing everyone must remember – if we say that we can’t accomplish anything and give up trying, nothing changes. But if we try and follow our heart, there is a chance of changing something, as little as it may be. And even a small change is better than nothing.
People who are filled with hatred, people who are blind with anger, they cannot be changed by violence or punishment. You cannot fight with fire against fire since the fire only gets bigger. No. You must find water and douse it. Only then the fire can fall into ashes and a tree can grow out of it.
But it’s still hard and it must be done very carefully – we cannot just let the murderers run around and tell them we love them. That would turn into chaos. I haven’t figured out the whole answer yet but I believe that this is the right way of approaching it. Because after all, we all are innocent children who cannot figure out the right way of living our lives. And if some child gets mean and spoilt and hateful, there is always a reason behind it. That of course doesn’t justify the deeds this person did, but it shows us where the cause of his/her behaviour lies. We need to deal with the causes, not the consequences. We need to go deeper than just scratching the surface.
We all are just lonely children lost in the world, after all. And we all want the same thing – love, truth and peace.