What is Peace? It Goes Beyond an End to War
It’s asking a LOT to say humanity should or can live in peace. Conflict comes into every relationship we have. At macro and micro levels. But it might be possible for us to use our methods of conflict in ways that are at least less violent. Use our conflict in ways that resolve things in positive ways. In an enlightened society, why can we not manage our behaviour better? If nothing else, it’s something to think about and maybe we can at least find peaceful ways as couples, families, friends and neighbours? Humanity’s aim is to belong, to love. Yet we predate on each other as if that is our sole purpose. Even the most violent of animals love their mate, their offspring and will move heaven and earth to protect them. Yet cannot find a way to live in peace, so their loved ones are in fact protected.
The eight pillars of peace
- a well-functioning government;
- a sound business environment;
- an equitable distribution of resources;
- an acceptance of the rights of others;
- good relations with neighbors;
- free flow of information;
- a high level of human capital;
- and low levels of corruption.
- Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. …
- Positive peace is filled with positive content such as restoration of relationships, the creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population and the constructive resolution of conflict.
Peace does not mean the total absence of any conflict. It means the absence of violence in all forms and the unfolding of conflict in a constructive way.
represents behaviors that serve to threaten life itself and/or to diminish one’s capacity to meet basic human needs. Examples include killing, maiming, bullying, sexual assault, and emotional manipulation.
represents the systematic ways in which some groups are hindered from equal access to opportunities, goods, and services that enable the fulfillment of basic human needs. These can be formal as in legal structures that enforce marginalization (such as apartheid in South Africa) or they could be culturally functional but without legal mandate (such as limited access to education or health care for marginalized groups).
represents the existence of prevailing or prominent social norms that make direct and structural violence seem “natural” or “right” or at least acceptable. For example, the belief that Africans are primitive and intellectually inferior to Caucasians gave sanction to the African slave trade. Galtung’s understanding of cultural violence helps explain how prominent beliefs can become so embedded in a given culture that they function as absolute and inevitable and are reproduced uncritically across generations.