IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

What a world (woild)!

You have to admit, we live in interesting times (sometimes horrible and tragic, but always interesting).  Maybe you have to have reached what the French call “a certain age” to really appreciate this fact.  I am old enough to remember all sorts of odd things and to think back about all that has happened.  To give you an idea:  I remember seeing Jack Ruby shoot Lee Harvey Oswald live on TV.  In fact, I was looking at a TV in a store window and my parents were talking to some friends with whom we were taking a walk.  The adults were not looking at the screen.  I tugged on my father’s sleeve and said “They shot Oswald”.  Before he looked around my father said “No, son, Oswald shot President Kennedy”.  I said, pointing at the screen (if memory serves) “No, Dad, they shot Oswald”.  By that time the the TV in the shop window had everybody’s attention.

Or, then there was my friend Skip, who in the late 60’s or early 70’s had an LSD experience in which, as he explained to us later, he saw the whole world connected by a “web” and you could “web in” or “web out” and go anywhere you wanted.  I often think back on that as I write these blog posts.  Or, there was the evening in 1969 when a bunch of us wannabe hippies went to see Janis Joplin, and one of the guys (not the coolest) disappeared and came back the next day saying he had met her and gone back to her hotel with her.  “Riiiigghhhttt !” we all said.  We knew it was not true, because he said she was a heroin user when we all knew she was a boozer…! hmmmm..

History does seem to have gone crazy.  All sorts of things are happening that nobody anticipated, and, I suspect, our leaders are often, at least for a while, simply at a loss about how to respond.  Let me give you an example.  Gaddafi has, apparently, fallen.  Not that long ago he was received with full Head of State honors in France, and was even given a place to pitch his residential tent.  I suspect that, off the record, some people in the Elysee Palace are a wee bit embarrassed right now.

My point?  Well it might all be random…just so much vain noise on a little dust heap circling a not very big star in one of an infinity of galaxies.  Ho hum!  Or, it might be leading up to something altogether different and better.  Maybe the out of date and retrogressive stuff is breaking down, and the ground is being prepared for a wiser, more humane era.  Clearly we are not there yet; but we are capable of  learning, and we seem to be “slapped” with one lesson after another.

Just a few IG thoughts in the dwindling days of the interesting August of  ’11.

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August 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Follow the money!

You have probably heard about this.  Here’s a little teaser:

“Sarkozy told reporters that he and Merkel want a “true European economic government” that would consist of the heads of state and government of all eurozone nations.

The new body would meet twice a year — and more in times of crisis — and be led initially by EU President Herman Van Rompuy for a 2 1/2-year term. After that, Sarkozy suggested, it could be opened up to other heads of states and government.”

This is very interesting, and it confirms what I have always suspected:  the “Eurozone” would need to also be a “Eurogovernance zone” if it was to survive.  Some years ago Flannery O’Connor wrote a compilation of short stories entitled “All that rises much converge” (and I highly recommend you read the story of the same title), and I have always thought that phrase nicely summarized much of what is happening in our era.  Here, for instance, while nobody is in a hurry to create a European (or global, for that matter) “superstate”, still there are many benefits in having a common currency and one economy.  This worked fine as long as there was smooth sailing, but when the turbulence of global finance started to seriously rock the boat the “governance deficit” in the European economic system became more and more obvious (I won’t go into the details).  So, even if most might not yet be ready to follow Nico and Angie, it is very significant that these two prominent leaders of major European powers should even suggest such a thing.

Again, it seems to me that Europe is a very good case study and model for what the whole world is experiencing…ie the problems of integration and how to go about solving them.  Remember, that whatever you might think about the EU, it has, for all practical purposes eliminated war among its members, and that is no mean achievement.  Economic integration is probably the main engine behind this.  And here we see that there is definitely some “spillover” from the economic toward the political.

IGbarb says:  “Onward, upward and closer together!”

August 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

How I finished (at least the first draft :-) )

Here’s how the chapter I’ve been working on ends:

“The sweeping and fundamental changes necessary for world peace have often been described as “utopian”, meaning they represent an unattainable state of perfection in social life.  However, this pessimistic attitude toward the possibility of peace stems from a misunderstanding of human nature and history, and that, rather than being at odds with the true nature of the human person, social change toward peace in our age represents the truest expression of the human spirit.  Thus, the pursuit of peace and unity is not utopian but realistic, in that it accords completely with human individual and collective needs.  The insights gained into peace-building through needs analysis, and the possibilities for re-humanizing and healing created by reconciliation support this alternative view of the human condition.

It would be naïve to suggest that a power politics and power oriented approach to ending contemporary conflicts does not still dominate contemporary practice.  However, it would be also strangely myopic to deny that the dominant mode leaves many issues unaddressed.  For instance, it is clear that some peace agreements and settlements prove to be more long lasting while others fall apart relatively quickly.   While several factors come into play, ceteris paribus those agreements which have tried to go further to address the concerns discussed above have had a better chance of succeeding.  While, clearly, there are no guarantees of success, or short cuts to a new social order, taking the whole person and the whole society into account, is at least, the right place to start.”

August 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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