Practical Guidelines For Peace Education Essay

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Looking at the given topics for this essay, I could not find any topic that I could write any length about; they all seemed rather nebulous to me. Thus I decide to write on my own topic, where I show my observations on what could increase the level of peace in this world. I do not have any conclusive answers; there are merely thoughts of mine, which I have formed after observing this world.

Any plan for peace must take into account human nature; nebulous, wishy-washy "let's love everybody"-type plans are destined for failure. Attempts to create a perfect utopia have failed in the past: Puritan New England, Communist countries, and utopian communes like New Harmony, Indiana. After all, we, by our evolved nature, are selfish and seeking our best interests; nothing will change that. However, we can change our environment, so that violence and warfare no longer serves our best interests; I do not think we can eliminate warfare entirely, but we can reduce its levels, and more quickly resolve violent conflicts.

The first guideline is to create abundance. When every man and woman can afford to get enough calories, nutrients and water to be healthy, a shelter, even a simple one-room apartment, and at least basic health care, there will be fewer struggles as people no longer fight to satisfy basic needs. I think such living conditions are possible, with technological progress; improved farming techniques to yield higher crops, medical advances, etc. The dark side of abundance is that it creates overpopulation as people are able to reproduce more; a probable solution is better and cheaper contraceptives and incentive programs. A problem of abundance of food is that it creates obesity; I do not have good ideas on how to solve this; however, education on nutrition and technological advances that result in cheaper AND healthier food.

The second guideline is to create more fluid and interdependent social groups. Much fighting has resulted from social groups that are too insulated and tightly knit. These groups begin to form prejudices about each other. Also, we must foster interdependence between groups, in order to reduce the reasons for conflict. After all, if you were a member of a hunter-gatherer tribe, other hunter-gatherer tribes are mere competition: if they hunt more animals, your group has less to eat. But in developed society, every man is specialized and has a role. Thus, the solution is to have people form looser communities and have each individual belong to more than one group; in fact, this is how society is structured in developed countries (with the exception of poorer communities.)

Human beings are inherently tribal; this reality we cannot escape. So let us have more civil forms of competition between groups: sports or courtroom battles instead of fighting on the battlefield. Many young boys in poorer parts of the world are indoctrinated in the glory of fighting and dying on the battlefield, let us teach them the benefits of more civilized conflict.

There are many more possible solutions, but we must keep a dose of realism here. We cannot entirely eliminate war; aggressive conflict existed ever since the first bacterium ate another. And the future is not predictable: no one knows how our current conflicts will be resolved, and what new forms of conflicts will arise in the future. But we are not mindless bacteria: we are sentient and sapient humans, and we can change our behavior if we choose to. In the age of the hydrogen bomb and the $10 do-it-yourself terrorist, we must control our aggressive drives or otherwise destroy humanity.


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