Archive for March, 2015

Can Pacifism Lead us to Peace or More War

It’s now been over 70  years since the end of the second World War.  The first World was was meant to be the ‘war to end all wars’, clearly this wasn’t the case.  However there was a huge global impact and two nations almost immediately turned pacifist both modifying their constitutions to reflect this.

The first country, was Japan and a couple of years later, the central American county of Costa Rica followed their example. The reasons for the  Japanese change are well documented, but less so the country of Costa Rica.

The leader of the country Jose Ferrer, seized power in a very bloody military coup – not an unusual occurrence in South America in the last century.  However what was unusual was the almost instant change in politics – militarism was thrown out and instead pacifism embraced.  He announced that the military would be disbanded and the headquarter’s turned into an art museum.

The pacifism of Costa Rica is arguably easier to sustain, a smaller, relatively poor country it has nowhere near the responsibilities or interests of the gigantic Japanese economy.  Also it can be argued that Japan exists in a much more volatile area – rising superpowers like China and the dangerous , erratic North Korea to name two examples.  It is very much an area of trouble, mistrust and growing dangers to world peace, even in China people routinely use VPN and security services like this  because they are constantly monitored and logged when online.

Costa Rica’s stance on arms hasn’t brought it wealth that’s for sure.  However it is a beautiful, peaceful place to live and ranks as the happiest country in the world according to the Happy Planet Index.  It has wonderful green credentials too with nearly 25% of it’s land mass legally protected against commercial and industrial encroachment.

Was postwar Japan over nominally pacifist? “Land, sea and air forces, in addition to other war potential, will never be preserved,” says Article 9. The Self-Defense Forces as well as their state of the art weaponry, backed by a substantial American military presence, appear to mock that pious vow. The fact remains, however, that the military in Japan has worked under legal and constitutional constraints that hobble no other sovereign country’s armed forces. Whether those restraints qualify as pacifism is an open question. Certainly they do not by the standards of Costa Rica. A better question might be: Can the standards of Costa Rica be made worldwide?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, since taking office in December 2012, has made no secret of his intent to steer Japan in the contrary direction. This is consistent having an assurance he had made the previous September to the United Nations General Assembly. Japan, he explained, “will just bear the flag of proactive contribution to peace.”

Thus was born “proactive pacifism” — enlarged interaction under fewer restrictions with more countries’ armed forces in more far-flung international battles — raising, necessarily, the question: How much “proactivity” can pacifism bear without slowly, imperceptibly (if not fast) evolving into its opposite — specifically, militarism?

John Jennings

The Discipline of Peaceful Thought

Take a step back from all the warring, bombing, hatred and killing for just a moment and find a moment to think a happy thought. Sure it can seem to be tough to do that when there is a great high wall of resentment and hate in the way.

But do it anyway. If for no other reason other than the simple fact that you can.

If you’re wondering what this has to do with anything related to whatever it is that people find excuses to kill and main each other for, here’s the thing.

Every human has a mind and the ability to think. And get this. Our thoughts are actually the only things in this life that we have complete and total control over. We can think anything we want to and nobody else can make us think what they want us to think.

Take that away and mull it over in your mind for a while. You’ll agree the above point is completely true and it is explained at length in the many explanatory articles published at disciplinedthinking.com. Sure, we can be tricked into thinking about whatever is going on around us. Most of do exactly that for most of the time.

But when we choose our own thoughts, we have complete control over what goes on inside our heads no matter what anyone or anything else may try to do to stop us. That fact alone could change the world in a heartbeat if only everyone were aware of it.

The reason would be that people who have been tricked into following the lead of the haters and terrorists would suddenly realise they have a mind of their own, their own opinions and their own ideas and they don’t have to follow someone else’s crusade any more.

When it becomes clear that every one of us can create our own ideas and choose the way in which we live our lives, there would be no more need for blind hatred created by a mob mentality. The individual mentality would surface and question the motives of the people they once followed equally as blindly.

All wars could and would likely cease. All inter-racial and inter-religious hatred would dissolve because there would no longer be any basis for it as people’s thoughts turned to those of peace and happiness.

It only ever existed in the first place because it was born in the mind of unstable individuals with a thirst for power and the ability to sway the opinions of weaker minded people who didn’t know they held the power of their own destinies in their ability to think for themselves. The world would certainly be a different place today.