How can we Create a More Peaceful World Amid Divergent Opinions?

How can we Create a More Peaceful World Amid Divergent Opinions?

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Is it possible to have peace in the world when there are so many ways to approach life, faith, societal organization, human interaction, and political opinion?

We must begin with the realization that life is not, nor will it ever be perfect. We cannot keep everybody safe and free from harm. We cannot make every interaction completely fair. We cannot guarantee equal opportunity for all.

People are born with different levels of intelligence and ability. Some people are born to wealthy families and some to poor families. Some people are born in places with plentiful resources and others are born in areas of scarce valuable resources.

No matter how many laws we pass we cannot solve all the problems of the world. And in passing laws we are merely forcing one group’s opinions on another group of people. In the absence of consent, the only way we can enforce laws is through the use of force.

We have been taught to believe that we must coerce our fellow human beings to create a just and peaceful world, but if you look around our society we have done very little to create justice, peace, and prosperity merely through the passing of laws. True peace only comes about when people are allowed to express their opinions free of the threat of violence and humans live together in a society of free and mutual interaction, where people are allowed to associated as they would choose.

No amount of laws will take away the flaws of human beings. We can at times be selfish, conceited, gluttonous, and self-serving. At the same times we can be giving, loving, selfless, compassionate, and peaceful. As a species we tend to engage in those activities that are being promoted in the society at large.

As individuals we can choose to act in ways that are contrary to the society at large. We can practice those habits that bring peace to the world and in so doing create an example for others that can grow to create larger and larger pockets of peace.

The things that others say and think should not be a threat to us. We should be tolerant of all speech even speech we don’t agree with. The things people say only have power to the degree we give their words power. We can choose to either engage others, to try to find common ground, or choose to simply walk away allowing others to believe what they wish.

It is when we find the need to silence the opinions of others, or to force our own opinions on others that we create disharmony in the world. It is because of our own egos and hubris that we find ourselves unable to tolerate dissenting opinions.

We need to look ourselves in the mirror to find the problem in us, not the fault in the other person, when we feel the need to force others to consent or be silent.

Words are just words unless they are turned to action. If, and only if force is being used to get others to accept the thoughts and ideas of others, then it is acceptable to respond with force to protect oneself and one’s property.

Peace is possible only if we let go of our preconceived notions and our own egos allowing others to live as they choose without feeling the need to force them to live as we choose. Tolerance is not an acceptance of other people’s opinions, but merely the acceptance that they have the right to express their opinions.

If instead of reacting and responding to every opinion that conflicts with our own, we instead chose to remain silent and remain disengaged from conflict, we would find that the world would continue on unchanged from its previous course.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t engage in discourse with others. Where there is the possibility of understanding and cooperative interaction we should always seek to engage others. But if our goal is merely to silence others and make our voice louder then we should choose silence.

Take some time today to examine your beliefs. Are their ideas in the world that create anger and anxiety in you that you find yourself unproductively engaging in? What would happen if you just ignored those voices that you cannot find common ground with? Are you confident enough to allow others to express opinions you do not agree with? Are you willing to do your part to creating a more peaceful world?

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