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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 8: Peace and War

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Peace and War

In the next three chapters, we invite the reader to reject the assumption that a spiritual or an ethical understanding of what it is to be a peaceful person implies indifference to the question of what political-economic systems we humans should live in. Spiritually and ethically orientated understandings of peacefulness have political implications and aren’t neutral with regards to the structural features of society. Furthermore, the structural cannot be reduced to the psychological and relational. Relationships, communities and institutions function within a structural framework, and evaluative questions about the former will inevitably make assumptions about the framework.

This is a time in which the global human family needs socio-political structural translations of spiritually and ethically attuned understandings of what it means to be human. Spirituality needs a structural expression to flourish. In general, what implications does a spiritual understanding of peacefulness have for questions concerning international organizations, political systems and economic structures? More positively, what kinds of systemic changes are necessary for us to realize more fully our human natures as peaceful beings? Peace cannot fully be a condition of the soul unless it is also a condition of the society in which we live. In the next two chapters, we explore the question concerning peacefulness in international relations. We will start by showing←143 | 144→ how theories, that justify wars, such as just war theory, ignore critically important structural assumptions.

Just War Theory

Just war...

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