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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 11: Education as Peace

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·11·

Education as Peace

In this book, we have sketched a positive and holistic conception of peace. Here is a very brief summary: Peace has positive attributes, and it is not merely an absence of violence and war. Peace is a constituent of human well-being and a flourishing life, as well as being instrumentally beneficial. Inner peacefulness is when one perceives oneself as having intrinsic value as a person. Inner peacefulness can also be spiritual when it consists in identifying oneself (non-derivatively) as the ‘I’ that does such identification, and when it contains self-transcendence as an important ingredient. Inner peace has profound implications for one’s relationships with others because it does not permit antagonistic non-derivative contrasts between us and them. Peace is a potential feature of all aspects of human life that involve conflict. In other words, peacefulness can be a feature of conflicts, tensions, differences and contradictions. It calms the violent potential in them. Hence, conflicts are not the opposite of peace, and peace doesn’t require eliminating conflict. Instead, conflict is a source of ingenuity, innovation and transformation and its presence invites us to dialogue.1 In our intrapersonal relations, peacefulness requires positive self-consciousness, such as being aware of one’s past, present and future as valuable and worthwhile. It is also reflected in a primary self-identification as a person (where all other self-identifications, for←211 | 212→ example with social groups, would be secondary or derivative). In interpersonal relations, peacefulness consists in regarding all people as equally...

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