[Host's Note: Dr. Passi and readers... I am sorry that this message
from December 9th was delayed. .. Rick]
SYSTEMS THINKING AND PEACE
Dr. B.K. Passi
Peace is a positive entity. Peace is a mental concept. Peace must
accept and ensure the abundance of opportunities, understanding about
the necessity of interdependence, preference for holistic solutions,
and value of compassion. The constitution of UNESCO has articulated it
nicely, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of
men that the defenses of peace must be constructed". Human beings can
enjoy a state of peace if, and only if, the four following conditions
* Life: To be at peace, human beings must be guaranteed the vital
minimum - physical security, food, shelter, health. Deprived of that,
they can only choose between dying and fighting; they have nothing to
lose. To fulfill this condition requires a basic respect for life -
all life, including that of the natural environment that is the only
provider of humans' vital minimum at no cost but work;
* Comfort: Once ensured the vital minimum, human beings acquire
valuables they can trade for comfort, education, social status. To be
at peace, they must be reasonably sure that their valuables are safe.
Most crimes and conflicts today are still focused on these valuables -
either to steal them or to defend them. It is a perverse
characteristic of our societies that the very institutions set up to
protect our valuables are too often used to steal those of others. To
ensure peace at this level might require a change of references,
whereby the key economic values would shift from tangible assets and
money to such intangibles as knowledge and ideas;
* Freedom: Once guaranteed a comfortable life, human beings take the
time to think. To be at peace at that level, they must be guaranteed
freedom - freedom to think, to speak, to move, to meet, to believe.
Enslavement calls for rebellion. Unfortunately, human values have been
twisted over time and led to enslavement practices that are now
revealed as such and denounced through global communication. To ensure
peace at this level would require that we all go back to fundamental
human values of respect and acknowledgement of equality among all
* Consciousness: Once comfortable at material and conceptual levels,
human beings tend to turn towards others. At that level, their peace
is conditioned to that of others. The risk here is disinformation,
manipulation through religion, ideology or politics, leading people -
generous yet credulous - to believe that others' peace will be ensured
through violence, regardless the gross contradiction in terms and
nature. To ensure peace at this final level requires that, through
education and knowledge, human beings reach higher levels of
consciousness, capable of seeing through disinformation and standing
up to manipulation.
The framework of proposals and solutions should be built around these
four conditions that will lead towards Responsibility. Human beings
that are responsible have a holistic sense. They will have respect for
life, will value knowledge and ideas more than tangible assets, will
refer to fundamental human values, and will be fully conscious through
a systemic outlook and systemic thinking.
In January 2004, we are organizing and participating in the17th AIAER
International Conference in India called "Fourth Wave Education"
where your comments are welcome.
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