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Understanding Peace Holistically

From the Spiritual to the Political

Scherto Gill and Garrett Thomson

Understanding Peace Holistically: From the Spiritual to the Political argues that spiritually rooted and morally oriented peacefulness is relevant to the socio-economic–political structures that provide the conditions for a culture of peace. As the authors build up a theory of peace from the spiritual to the relational and communal towards the socio-political, this book also identifies key principles that characterise international and institutional processes that nurture peace. The holistic conception of peace developed in this book may guide and inspire individuals, institutions, and international organisations with regards to how to make peace.

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Chapter 2: Peacefulness as a Spiritual State

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Peacefulness as a Spiritual State

In some traditions, psychological peace is construed as a spiritual state. In this chapter, we shall try to make sense of this claim, and show how it might be important even for religious sceptics. We shall indicate how this understanding helps to rethink peacefulness.

In Chapter 1, we proposed that we need to separate the causes and the expressions of peace from what constitutes peace. We have also argued that peace shouldn’t be understood merely as an absence of violence, regardless of how broadly one conceives violence. Peacefulness is a positive concept, not the absence of something else. Furthermore, we have also contended that the value of peacefulness is not solely instrumental, but also intrinsic. These conclusions set an assignment: to understand peacefulness as a positive concept and as an intrinsic value. This mission doesn’t negate peace as the absence of violence and as an instrumental value, which are very important. However, the conclusions mean that there is more to peace than these negative conceptions suggest, and we need to find out what that more consists in.←35 | 36→

Psychological Peace

Psychological peace isn’t simply a feeling of peace, calmness or tranquility. Although one might be tempted to identify it as such, nevertheless, to count as peacefulness, such feelings must have a certain type of cause. The source of such feelings cannot be just anything. For example, calm feelings could come from the exhaustion...

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