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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.

“The breadth of this book is truly staggering as the authors present a highly original and richly conceptualised tapestry of peacefulness, weaving the inner spiritual dimensions of peace into economic and political structural transformation. A must read for all who are interested in the subject of peace.” —Steve Killelea, Founder and Chairman of the Institute for Economics and Peace and Founder of the Global Peace Index

“This book is most timely as it examines in-depth a holistic and positive notion of peace, applicable to relations between individuals, communities, nations, as well as in international politics, global economics, and in our relations with nature. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to live in a peaceful world.” —Vamik D. Volkan, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia and Founder of the International Dialogue Initiative

“What is peace? Traditional answers to the question are shallow, limited to the absence of disturbance. In this original and thought-provoking volume, the authors lay the groundwork for a fully enriched conception of peace. It is definitely an essential reading for peace studies and also an invitation for us all to reflect on our ways of life together.” —Kenneth Gergen, Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College and Founder and President of the Taos Institute

“At a time when peoples’ concerns with global peacelessness are as great as ever, it is salutary to have a new volume with a positive, broad approach to peace. This book critiques the illusions of some traditional paths, yet echoes the idea that peace is as much a means as an end—and that ethics and politics, inner and structural peace, all need fine-tuning at such a critical moment.” —Nigel Young, Editor in Chief of The Oxford International Encyclopedia of Peace

“This unusual book takes as its starting point what ought to be a platitude—though writers in peace studies often proceed as though it were not true—namely, that peace studies are concerned with peace. With this as their focus, the authors develop a conception of peace as something that is of value in its own right, not merely as a means to other ends. This is a refreshing and invigorating study of a topic of utmost political significance.” —Adrian Moore, Professor of Philosophy at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford

“This unique book provides an important and necessary discussion of peacefulness for its own sake. It should be a must-read for all students and researchers of peace studies.” —David Cadman, Harmony Professor at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David