About halfway through the calendar year I considered writing a post about peace. Now, as anyone who even vaguely knows me knows, my relationship with the subject is ambivalent at best, though to be fair most of my nuclear wintering finds itself directed either at “that asshole Gandhi” or else at those pesky so-called “empires” of Austria and Venice (those were MY city-states!)—either way, in life, mercifully, I am generally more of a peace-monger.
It also, in my humble opinion, rather misses the point of why we’re here.
We, the sentient inhabitants of planet earth, I might posit, are not here merely to impartially bear witness to events as they unfold. This may be a means to a particularly worthwhile end (enlightenment…so I’m led to understand) but a means to an end still it is. Whether we observe it or not we are born into duality: light and dark; hot and cold; Marvel and DC, and so on. We have at our very fingertips the power of decision.
To say that duality is a false construct is like saying that human beings have no sex (mind out of the gutter, please, I’m talking biology). Metaphysical convictions from a number of schools of thought may understand this to be true on the “soul” level, but that does little good to an organism who depends upon meiosis to sustain the very life that allows it to contemplate such matters in the first place. Practically speaking, a metaphysics that embraces duality is much more useful to us than one that eschews it. How so?
It’s often touted that by zooming out from the duality of our daily lives, we get to a place called unity. Here we are at one with the universe and all is at peace because events take place not to, at, or before us but rather through the unbiased prism of our consciousness. But what this observation fails to reflect upon is that, if you stay in this state for long enough, you eventually have to go pee.
I am not a pacifist because I am anti-war. I understand that in a dualistic metaphysics like the one to which we humans on earth belong, conflict is not only a sanctioned form of dispute resolution, but in many cases is a necessary one. (Or we could all make like bonobos and use sex as a means to negotiate our differences—feel free to take to the gutter, and, if need be, remain there for the remainder of this post.) That we have taken conflict and turned it into the hideous art form it is today is regrettable, but I have no qualms against its existence any more than I do the existence of inclement weather.
Nor am I a pacifist because I am a pushover. As a matter of fact it’s this part of duality that I have a problem with. While dualistic language with intelligence combines to create the likes of Plato, Kant, and Meister Eckhart, dualistic language without it quickly devolves into demagoguery, jingoism, and unrelenting stupidity. There’s a broken belief right now, one that no one seems either willing or able to challenge, that you’re either a military hawk, or a colluder. I reject this summarily, because it’s moronic. Being a chest-thumping loudmouth doesn’t give anyone a monopoly on strategic intervention. If there’s a bully, you bet I’ll intervene. I’ll speak gently, dulcetly, kindly even, lulling them into a false sense of safety as I quietly sew their ass cheeks together, feed them miralax, and wait for the results.
And as such we approach peace, not as the only truth available to us, but as one of many options, and because we choose it to be, we choose to focus our attention, we choose to train our consciousness on creating life and prosperity, not murder and destruction. This is our authority, our license to create the world, any world, that we envision—in a world where our lives are small but our words and actions reverberate through the cosmos, what have we but our convictions?
I am a peace-monger in humble ways: because I choose not to engage in a motor race with the car behind me who thought going the speed limit was too slow; for the simple act of giving a smile and a nod to the grocery clerk who made a well-intentioned but awkward attempt to connect. I am a peace-monger not because it is the right thing to do, but because it is my right to do it, my right to see the world I see, and make choices.
This is the world I see. This is the choice I make. Choose peace.
Yes. That’s probably the kind of thing I would say, if I were to write a post about peace. Maybe another time, eh?