Musing On Peace

If we woke tomorrow and everyone had half an acre, a similar size home, food on the shelves, some form of reliable transportation to take them to and from a valued and valuable job, and similar support from security, sanitation, education and health-care workers, what would be different? Most of us lead our lives searching for the things above (space, security, sustenance) so that we can pursue the fun and good work of life, our hobbies, our families, our passions.

What would be different would be the ability to make a living, to earn money, particularly at the lavish end of the scale. If people wanted for little, if their neighbors car was not vastly nicer than theirs, their house actually quite similar. If we had no reason, really, to invade, outdo or lord over the country at our borders, what would we buy?

Sure, we’ve found work here for the teachers, doctors, police, construction, farming, sanitation, bureaucrats. We have even found work for the pen-makers, clothing designers, canners, bicycle shop owners and computer companies, as people pursue their basic needs and passions. But, who needs lawyers, or hedge fund managers, or manufacturers of weapons, or lobbyists, or bank tellers? Who cares about stock market prices or interest rates? Is anyone’s passion truly making outlandish sums of money, were it not a game of proving you are better, smarter and stronger than the person next to you, were you not afraid for yours and your family’s safety? What good is proving what you can accumulate?

So instead, we have wars, government shutdowns, arguments on guns, health-care, marriage and God that have no solid answer, that breed intransigence and squabbles. And we hold our beliefs on these as sacred and unbending. Who we do not see are the money changers in the temples, those people taking our donation and sale in exchange for a promise to lobby for us, represent us, navigate a complicated system, offer a return on investment, a promise to keep us safe by bombing the other.

Peace does not pay.

Equality makes lavish estates, passed on from generation to generation, grown like algae to choke a vast lake, impossible to maintain.

Quiet, calm and inner strength are the enemies of the rich and the elected.

The true revolutionaries are the ones who need little to be happy, who remember, in some way, the beginning of existence at a parent’s knee, when all they needed was a dry backside, a small amount to eat, and a kiss on the cheek.

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2 thoughts on “Musing On Peace

  1. Yes. Peace and simplicity go hand in hand, and I’ve found that as I pursue these things, there are whole sectors of society that make little sense anymore.

    In our town there’s a huge shiny shopping center, complete with fancy department store containing the latest fashion trends selling for (I assume) high prices, made by people in other parts of the world who receive barely anything for their work. When I drove past this place the other day, I was startled at how completely irrelevant that whole concrete compound seemed to me, after years of thrift-store shopping and wardrobe-minimizing.

    I’ve enjoyed Joshua Becker’s blog on minimalism – http://www.becomingminimalist.com – one small but consistent nudge for me to keep aspiring towards the life of a “true revolutionary.”

    • Julia,

      I’ve worked in several of those shopping centers and what amazes me most is how little they are designed to bring disparate people together to hear one another. And how much opportunity there is for that. And how revolutionary it would be.

      Thom

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