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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 4: Toward Deep Dialogue

Extract

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Toward Deep Dialogue

In Chapter 3, we established that all basic intentions must be for some good. This applies to the intentions of all persons and groups, including one’s worst enemy and the seemingly most evil groups. Even those persons’ intentions can be described in ways that make sense of their actions in terms of something good. Thus, one can reasonably recognize such good in those other’s intentions. This doesn’t mean that one must agree with or endorse those people’s judgments! But it does imply that it is possible to step into the shoes of one’s most hated enemy and recognize their good intentions. This is implied by the claim that their point of view makes sense to them in a public language. This condition is a requisite for understanding others. In other words, this requires a hermeneutical attitude of openness: ‘The other could be right!’. However, as we saw in the previous chapter, there are four tendencies that work against one attaining this condition. These tendencies reinforce one’s personal bias, eventually converting it from mistaken judgement about others into blind ignorance, and from prejudice into a culture of discrimination. This indicates that we need hermeneutical processes that enable us to overcome these tendencies to be able to understand others.

Such hermeneutical processes need to meet another fundamental condition. In Chapter 2, we described inner peacefulness in terms of the self-←71 | 72→identifications that we make and examined spiritual and humanistic...

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