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The symptoms of society's diseases are all around us.
One third of the world's people are malnourished,
causing the deaths of fifteen to twenty million each year.
Half the scientists and engineers work for the military.
Military expenditures exceed two billion dollars per day.
We are stockpiling thousands of nuclear weapons
that can destroy all civilization on Earth.
The United States has five percent of the world population,
and uses over a third of the world's natural resources.
A third of all nations are dominated by the military,
many using torture and murder to control their societies.
Poor countries with starving people export food for profit.
Corporations make profits while polluting the environment.
Wars fester in Iran and Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon,
El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Kampuchea
with flare-ups in Africa and other parts of the third world.
Fear, suspicion, and mistrust haunt superpower diplomacy,
while the nuclear arms race accelerates
with new deployments of first-strike missiles in Europe.
These are just the most obvious symptoms.
Perhaps the worst sign is the widespread apathy, despair,
and feeling of powerlessness which immobilizes people
and keeps them from addressing these serious problems.
Violence pervades the media from the news to the movies,
and people divert themselves with alcohol and drugs.
Toxic chemicals in air, water, and food cause cancers.
A trend toward the political right signifies
a move away from compassion and social uplift
toward the hardened policies of military intervention,
deterrence, punishment, and ruthless self-interest.
The world wars were only one generation apart,
but the wars in Korea, Vietnam, and Central America
have occurred at half that interval, as have
the invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan.
The United Nations has not solved pressing crises.
The USA can now strike the heart of the Soviet Union
with nuclear missiles within ten minutes,
and the USSR is preparing a similar capability in response.
The world is poised on the brink of mutual suicide.
The supplies of petroleum are running out,
and the superpowers are preparing to fight for what is left.
Blinded by power and short-term gain,
governmental leaders are charting a collision course.
How did all of this come about?
What are the real causes of this megacrisis?
This is the most dangerous crisis mankind has ever faced,
and it is also probably the most complex.
Many causes, factors, and reasons led us to this dilemma.
The keys to solving our problems
are not only in understanding their causes
but also in seeing how those causes can be redirected
or transformed into harmonious and peaceful expressions.
Therefore as we examine and diagnose the causes,
we shall also explore remedies and solutions.
The metaphysical origin is that
God created human souls to be free to choose.
Although souls as extensions of God are eternal
and cannot be destroyed,
the Earth is temporal and has been created
as a place where we can learn and grow.
There is no guarantee that
disasters will not befall creatures on the Earth;
history certainly proves that.
In fact God loves us so much that
we are given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes.
Our problems are the challenges we have given ourselves
to learn to be responsible for what we have created.
It is up to us to handle our own affairs,
although we certainly can attune ourselves
to a higher power for inward help and guidance.
Thus the ultimate cause is that
we as human beings have freely created these problems
as part of our evolution of consciousness.
That we have such terrible problems
proves either that we are free
or that it is a cruelly determined universe.
Assuming we are free (always a good assumption),
we are also free to solve all our problems.
Actually this is how we evolve and educate ourselves.
The more we realize we are free, the freer we become.
Ironically the behaviorist scientists are the ones
who want to prove that freedom is an illusion
so that they can scientifically control everything.
Freedom's costs are awareness and responsibility.
Our freedom is not absolute on Earth
because we live in the created universe of cause and effect.
We can choose what to cause,
but every action has its consequences,
which also becomes our-experience.
We may try to postpone our responsibilities,
but ultimately the effects of our actions cannot be avoided.
The Earth is of limited size and resources.
Though we can alter conditions more than any other species,
we have to learn to live with the results.
Now that we are being forced to face
the accumulated consequences of many long-standing
customs, destructive patterns, and increasing technologies,
we have opportunity to gain much wisdom rapidly.
Normally we can undo whatever we do.
However, when we alter the molecular structures of chemicals
and change the atomic structures of elements
in ways that are destructive
and unhealthy to organic creatures,
then awareness that we may be causing long-term suffering
can help us realize that we must correct these patterns.
The study of the evolution of organisms,
anthropology, and the history of civilization
reveals that patterns deeply rooted in the human psyche
and programmed into the human body
have brought us to where we are today.
Thus far evolution on this planet has been a success
for those creatures who have survived the competition.
Intelligent organization and adaptation to the environment
have been naturally selected to reproduce those traits.
Atoms differentiated and formed stable structures.
Atoms joined together in increasing complexity as molecules.
Molecules learned how to absorb energy,
transform and use it, and release the waste
by specializing and organizing themselves into cells.
Single cells grew in size,
but to take the next major evolutionary step
they had to join with other cells in a larger organic unity.
After plants had proliferated
and produced substantial amounts of oxygen,
animals developed to utilize the oxygen
and live off the energies captured by plants.
A balance between plants and animals was established.
By increasing complexity and organizing cell systems,
animals became more varied and advanced.
The nervous system developed sensitive communication
with the environment and within the individual animal.
The endocrine system in mammals helped to maintain
a balance in the emotions and physiological systems,
enabling adaptation to various circumstances.
Complex muscular systems enabled animals to move more freely
so that they could adapt and even alter the environment.
These skills still apply in our current situation.
Now we are on the verge of a new evolutionary leap.
As human beings we are learning how
to organize ourselves into a healthy whole.
Just as atoms, molecules, and cells learned
how to work together in complex organisms,
human individuals are forming complex and integrated systems
which require extensive cooperation and communication.
The instinct for survival and traits developed by evolution
give us deep and organic characteristics
that are helping us in our struggle.
Nevertheless this crisis of possible extinction
demands that we adapt some new ways
in order to avoid perishing.
No other species has so much versatility
and creativity to meet this great challenge.
The dinosaurs represent an ominous lesson
of creatures who grew too large and destructive to survive.
Human beings are so much more intelligent than reptiles
that we ought to be improving our chances of survival,
not decreasing them as we have of late.
Human beings are now in the unique situation
of being able to shape evolution as well as adapt,
as evidenced by rapidly advancing genetic engineering.
We are becoming more like goddesses and gods than animals.
With these new powers comes great responsibility,
which we must learn to use wisely.
How well we adapt to this crisis of divine adolescence
will shape life on this planet for many generations.
If we stumble into a nuclear war,
extensive radioactive poisoning
could throw evolution back millions of years
with mutations causing physical changes over generations;
or mammals may become extinct,
and the Earth would be dominated by insects.
However, if we learn to cooperate as a whole
to prevent massive destruction,
then human intelligence could easily
make the Earth into a paradise
for everyone to have rich and beautiful experiences.
Let us be aware that it is our choice.
Although plants took their energy from the sun and water
and later also from the soil,
animals developed, not only using oxygen,
but also eating plants for nourishment.
When some animal species became carnivorous,
the taste and nourishment of meat
became associated with the aggressive instinct to kill.
We need to take in organic substances for nourishment.
Finding enough food is a continual struggle for humans,
for as more food becomes available
and health conditions improve, the population increases.
Human population is now approaching five billion and growing
at a rate which doubles it every forty years.
Since the size of the Earth is staying the same,
some adaptation is necessary.
War is obviously an unethical solution to this problem,
especially in the nuclear age
when the entire Earth could be poisoned for generations.
With the intelligent management of resources,
ten billion people could live comfortably on this planet.
In developed countries population growth has already slowed
as people are less inclined to have large families.
In China where population has surpassed one billion,
great efforts are being made to limit the number of births.
Improving the standard of living and education
in developing countries will surely help also
to decrease the size of families.
Eating of Meat
Another major factor in providing enough food
and in lessening aggressive tendencies
is to reduce the eating of mammals' meat.
Large percentages of agricultural land are now used
for growing grain and soy beans to feed animals.
Thus the desire for meat by the wealthy
makes it more difficult to feed the poor.
Should we be feeding animals to be slaughtered,
while people are suffering and dying from malnutrition?
Vegetarian diets (with or without fish and fowl)
have proven to be healthy and economical.
More people will change their diets as they become aware.
Meat carries impurities, including subtle biochemicals
that are released when the animal is slaughtered.
The subconscious relationship between the eating of meat
and the act of killing can influence human behavior.
By refusing to eat the flesh of another mammal,
we are purifying our consciousness and body
of the desire to kill.
When animals became carnivorous,
early man not only developed the instinct to kill for food
but also the fear of being killed for food,
thus the need for self-defense.
With a prolonged childhood,
the tender young also needed to be protected.
The instinct to protect self and family from danger
is of essential value to our survival.
Killing in self-defense is the most brutal
and last resort when all else fails.
As we realize that this defense
could now result in mass suicide,
our instinct to survive will be redirected
into more intelligent methods of self-preservation.
Our survival instinct is warning us
that modern warfare is the greatest threat to our lives;
this will move people to act to remove the danger.
A life-or-death situation is of immediate concern to all.
When it also means the life or death of loved ones---
children, grandchildren, and all future generations---
then the issue becomes of paramount importance.
The instinct for a person to sacrifice her own life
for the sake of her children is not at all unusual.
Mothers are especially sensitive and courageous in this.
Evolution is a process where the instinct for survival
makes adjustments and improvements
through adaptation to the environment.
At one time the killing of predators
may have helped people to survive.
Now the only predators who endanger us are humans.
We must learn to protect ourselves from those who would kill,
by using other means than killing.
Our survival depends on making this adjustment.
Human families, clans, and tribes developed social means
of mutual protection and cooperative hunting.
Hunting is no longer necessary for human survival,
and aspects of this instinct are counter-productive.
The instincts of social cohesion and group cooperation
have been applied in many productive ways
from tribalism to nationalism.
Loyalty and support for group enterprise
have continually improved human experience.
Only when a group comes into conflict with another group
or a minority sub-group within it
does this social instinct become destructive.
Tribalism has evolved into nationalism,
but over-zealous nationalism has proven very deadly.
Now the time has come for humans
to transcend nationalism and adopt globalism.
When the social instinct for survival
adapts itself to global cooperation
and people work together to eliminate the causes of war,
then world peace will be at hand.
Worldwide communication will greatly enhance efforts
in this direction where evolution is clearly moving.
As people learned how to hunt down and capture
dangerous beasts, either for food or mutual protection,
we will now learn how to track down and eliminate
systems and practices which threaten our health and safety.
Surely we can use our skills of cooperation
to feed adequately all the people on Earth.
As hunters and gatherers of food,
tribes felt the need to maintain access to the territory
from which they collected their basic needs.
Territoriality has been a major cause of war
as people sought to defend their homeland or increase it.
In the world today most national groups
have established boundaries that are politically stable.
Liberation from colonial domination
has been the most critical struggle of recent times.
However, one conflict stands out today
as an example of a territorial struggle
as a life-and-death issue leading to wars,
and that is between Israel and the Palestinians.
After the terrible holocaust of World War II,
the western powers helped Jews establish
an independent nation in their ancient homeland of Israel.
However, in the process many Palestinians were displaced
from what had been their homeland for centuries.
Although religious hatred aggravates the conflict,
the basic territorial instinct requires
that the Jews have an Israel with secure borders
and that the Palestinians also have their own homeland.
Real peace in the Middle East
awaits the solution of this problem.
Once territoriality is established and generally recognized,
then it is important not to violate the local sovereignty
and self-determination of the people.
Claims of national sovereignty
which purport to extend beyond the national borders
are imperialism and lead to conflict.
From the natural instinct of territoriality
derives the principle that no nation has the sovereign right
to use military force outside its national boundaries.
Thus only a legitimate legal authority
ought to be allowed to use force
to correct injustice and protect human rights.
Within a nation, that is the national government.
If we want to legitimately correct injustices
and abuses of human rights in another country,
world law must be accepted by the people of the world
and enforced by representatives of all the world,
including the nation in question.
When territoriality is respected,
then wars will be prevented.
We must learn that the people of one nation have no right
to interfere militarily in another country's territory.
Among primitive peoples usually an assertive ritual
was sufficient to scare off a party of invading hunters.
All that is necessary is for the group to demonstrate
its will not to be dominated by others.
These rituals have become much more sophisticated
than jumping around, pounding on drums,
and shouting at the threatening opponents.
We can communicate our resolve and determination,
and solve our conflicts through diplomatic negotiation.
Often a nation tries to "strengthen" its position
through military threats and maneuvers.
However, the threat of military action can be interpreted
as the potential for offensive as well as defensive warfare.
This puts the adversary on the defensive,
and again if military means are used,
they arouse the fear of offensive aggression.
Both sides try to get their way
by flexing their military muscles,
hoping the other side will give in to their demands.
Yet too often neither side is willing to back off
in the face of force rather than justice.
Military rituals have little to do with justice.
Leaders may achieve a just solution by their own wisdom,
but the military only serves to give an unfair advantage
to the most powerful and also to leaders who are willing
to be more murderous and less humane than their adversaries.
What we need are rituals and means of self-defense
that do not threaten the opponent with aggression,
but at the same time refuse to accept injustice.
Nonviolent tactics can effectively accomplish this.
Through nonviolent civilian defense
even a nation can stand up for its rights
and by refusing to cooperate with an invading army
can turn them away or convert them to justice.
However, the people of the nation must communicate
to their adversaries that their will is strong
and that they will not submit passively to any injustice
nor will they commit any injustice or violence either.
This requires not only an enlightened consciousness
but disciplined action as well.
Preparatory discipline serves as a ritual
to communicate to others their firm resolve.
This form of self-defense does not threaten the opponent;
therefore violence is averted, and justice can be attained.
With the development of communication
social patterns were passed on consciously through
custom, tradition, ritual, and stories (myth and history).
As tribes developed their own languages,
they enhanced the social cohesion of their own group
and increased alienation of other tribes.
Language differences have been a barrier
surmounted by translators for centuries.
Usually those who speak a common language
think of themselves as a cultural entity.
Often this binds people together
more than a common religion or racial background.
People mistrust those who speak a "foreign" language,
not only because it is different,
but because this limits communication between the groups.
Fear is directly related to lack of understanding.
Even when efforts are made to communicate with translators,
misunderstandings can occur.
For example, when Americans heard
that Soviet Premiere Khrushchev said, "We will bury you,"
many were more upset than they might have been
if they had realized that he meant, "We will outlive you."
Certainly cultural exchanges, as well as a free press,
enhance communication, understanding, and empathy.
Ironically though, in the United States,
where the government does not control the media,
Americans have less knowledge of the Soviet people
than the Russians have of Americans.
The proliferation of communications media in the world
increases the potential for intercultural understanding.
English is by far the most common language
and may indeed become universal.
Esperanto is contending to be the universal language;
it is more neutral culturally and easier to learn.
Eventually the world will decide on a universal language
that everyone can learn as a second language,
if it is not their first.
This will greatly expedite worldwide communication
and facilitate understanding between peoples.
Likewise a universal system of weights and measures,
such as the metric system,
improves world trade and scientific cooperation.
Aggressive males were more likely to succeed as hunters
and in protecting and providing for a woman and children.
Their genetic pattern was passed on to future generations.
Masculine aggression is a major cause of conflict and war.
Every war in history has been promoted and fought by men.
It used to be considered heroic for men to fight
other men on behalf of their families and communities,
but in the wars of modern times
innocent civilians have suffered increasing casualties
until now in the nuclear age everyone could be killed.
Fortunately the feminist movement is already making progress
in strengthening women in their struggle for equality
and in sensitizing men to their softer, feminine side.
Aggressive men (or women) in positions of power
must learn not to inflict their macho egos on others, or
they will be replaced by leaders who are balanced and fair,
receptive and nurturing as well as assertive and initiating.
People must learn to choose leaders
who will not abuse the power given them
but will really care about the people of the world
as well as the people of their own nation.
The instinct for domination and conquest
needs to be directed into nurturing life on Earth
instead of threatening to destroy it.
People will all be better off when we learn
to respond to the crying needs of humanity with sensitivity.
Feelings are valuable guides essential
to expressing our love for others.
Too many leaders have crystallized ideologies
which they apply ruthlessly and inappropriately to crises.
Thought must be balanced by feeling.
Prejudiced concepts and emotions must not prevent us
from responding to each situation openly and sensitively.
We must not be influenced by mindless fanaticism.
By being in touch with our real feelings
we will be able to respond more humanely
and be motivated to discover intelligent solutions.
Use of Force
Since brute force was a strong factor in hunting,
it became a cause of social power in the tribe.
The "might is right" syndrome must pass away
and be replaced with the awareness that force is wrong.
Brutal force violates human freedom and dignity
and ignores intelligent decision-making processes
designed to determine what is right.
The only legitimate use of force is to stop criminals
from violently breaking a just law.
This principle applies to nations as well as individuals.
Nations have no right to project their political power
against other nations or peoples by means of military force.
Often in our evolutionary past and throughout history
men have gained advantage through force.
Yet now this behavior between nations threatens
millions of people and our survival as a civilization.
Brute force must be controlled and replaced
by more intelligent ways of resolving conflicts.
The human species is the supreme example
of adaptation by intelligence over brute strength.
The use of force is a sign of moral weakness,
because the perpetrators are not trusting
the results of a nonviolent determination of what is just.
Those who are confident that their position is just
do not need to force their will on others.
Faith that justice will prevail gives moral strength.
The zeal for fighting for what is right
needs to be disciplined into a nonviolent approach
because a battle of brute forces has become suicidal
and can no longer settle conflicts effectively.
When people realize that the use of force is wrong,
then it will become clearer
who is more likely to be right in a conflict
where one side threatens force and the other does not.
It requires more moral courage to stand up for what is right
in the face of forceful opposition without resorting to force
than it does to give in to the use of force out of fear.
Thus we need great moral courage and inner strength,
but the traditional concept of courage as brute force
needs to be radically revised.
Human brutality must be purged from our behavior,
like a fatal disease, if we are to survive.
The development of agriculture and animal husbandry
enabled people to settle down and accumulate property.
Often fruits of cultivation were stolen by marauding tribes;
warfare began as organized theft.
City-dwellers formed governments, established laws,
and attempted to defend themselves and their property
from each other and from outside attack.
Leaders who grew powerful often went beyond self-defense
and greedily tried to conquer others.
Loyalty and cooperation for mutual protection
were used for what the leaders of the social group decided
was in the interest of the tribe, city, homeland, or empire.
Since warfare is a planned and organized activity,
we can change those contingency plans and organize
our efforts with peaceful methods of resolving conflicts.
When we look at the whole picture, that is the whole world,
then we can see that any advantage
one nation takes by force is at the expense of others.
Yet legitimate trade and negotiation
can be worked to the advantage of all parties.
To organize and maintain extensive military forces
is not only a danger to others
but also a waste of human and economic resources
for the society that is paying for them.
To plunder other countries and steal their goods
seems obviously barbaric to us today.
Yet to prop up unjust governments by military force
in order to trade with a wealthy class
which is able to export products by exploiting cheap labor
is a continuing system of plunder.
Military aid and intervention from powerful nations
that oppresses developing countries must be stopped.
A society's organization of military personnel and equipment
depends on the willing submission and obedience
of the people in that society---citizens who pay taxes,
soldiers, technicians, scientists, and arms manufacturers.
People can refuse to serve in the military
or refuse to work on military projects
or refuse to pay taxes that support preparations for war.
Societies that are organized for war can change
and become organized for peace and justice.
These choices are individual
but can also be made by groups
supporting each other in solidarity
until the society itself changes.
If we truly want peace,
we must stop working for war and stop paying for war.
Fighting for the goods of the cultural group
and to protect the women and children
was a heroic and noble, masculine activity.
Every culture formed a respected and admired warrior class:
Japanese samurai, Chinese shih, kshatriyas of India,
Roman legions, Islamic jihad, and Christian knights.
Usually warriors fought each other in organized combat
without the wholesale slaughter of noncombatants.
Often military leaders were rulers of the society.
Vast numbers of peasants, workers, or slaves
supported the aristocratic military elite.
Education was limited usually to rulers and priests.
These classes lived off taxes, tribute, and plunder.
The aggressive animal instincts of territoriality,
self-defense, and carnivorousness are only a small part
of the uniquely human activity of warfare.
Raids and battles are rationally planned and organized.
The power drives and ambitions of the leaders
as well as the greed and envy of the upper classes
are primary motivators of conquest and imperialism.
Their ability to control and manipulate their societies
into military adventures is a key to their power.
Another major factor is the weaponry of advancing technology
which enabled some warriors to defeat others.
Large numbers could fight with clubs,
stones, spears, bows and arrows, and hatchets,
but the development of bronze weapons, chariots, and armor
was slow enough to be available only to a warrior elite
who became the larger-than-life heroes.
A ruler could dominate a territory and population
wherever he could extend his chain of command.
The leaders with their educated elite
knew how to exploit the common people;
the same military forces which defended them from foreigners
and expanded the state could also be used
to quell any dissent or revolt within the society.
This internal dynamic checked rulers
from extending too far away from their capital.
The development of more widespread iron weapons
diversified power into a feudal structure.
The spread of knowledge as well as military skill
filtered down into a larger aristocratic class,
which in a city might even form a "democracy"
ruled by the male property owners.
Military activities often promoted further militarism.
Those who died were gone, while those who lived
were rewarded by victory or desired revenge for defeat.
In Greece during the fifth century B. C.
when Darius and Xerxes led the Persian armies into Europe,
Greeks valiantly and successfully defended their country.
The glory and heroism of this war stimulated militarism
such that in the last third of the century Athens and Sparta
were continually fighting a vicious war with each other,
and in the next century Philip and Alexander
engaged in military conquest and revenge against Persia.
Effective discipline with the phalanx gave Greeks victory.
Led by Julius Caesar the Romans tried to extend their laws
by force in an expansive empire, but the enforced will
of a conqueror, tribute, and taxes breed rebellion,
and local peoples on the gradually diminishing perimeters
of the empire fought for independence
until conquest was turned back against Rome itself.
The hierarchies of feudal obeisance
replaced the bloated monolithic empires.
The glory of war has been shattered
by the horrible wars of the twentieth century.
Nevertheless an honorable military class has been replaced
by a scientific military-industrial complex which still
dominates the politics and economies of developed nations.
In developing countries the military elite
usually dominates the government,
while guerrilla forces seek glory fighting for liberation.
The policy of civilian control over the military
through a democratic political process is still struggling
with the entrenched power of the military mentality.
We must learn to honor and support peacemakers
who gain success and justice through diplomatic methods
more than saber-rattling politicians and generals
who try to force their will on other people.
We need nonviolent peace brigades
which can effectively stop and prevent violent conflict.
If some force is necessary to stop blatant aggression,
it must have the sanction of the United Nations
or a more effective democratic federal world government.
Nationalist patriotism has proven to be barbaric tribalism.
If we are to glorify anything or fight for something,
let it be for peace, justice, and world cooperation.
Let our loyalty be to the good of the whole, not a part.
Let us admire and strive to emulate true peacemakers
who love, learn, teach, counsel, and create responsibly,
not warriors who hate, ignore, hide, kill, and destroy.
The time has come for the wise and compassionate
to rule over the brute strength of egomaniacs.
How do we control ambitious and power-hungry leaders
when a person must be ambitious for power
in order to become a leader?
Each society must learn how to remove the rewards
that are often given to ruthless manipulators.
Democratic institutions or group decision-making processes
have been the most successful ways to prevent dictatorships.
Yet demagogues appeal to patriotism and national interest
in order to use group pride and selfishness.
Democracy depends on educating and enlightening voters.
When most of the electorate is relatively ignorant,
leaders can win with promises, rhetoric, and distortions.
A bureaucracy also depends on the wisdom of party officials,
who in Communist societies are the ruling class.
Nevertheless the people get the leaders they deserve.
Everyone has the responsibility to help influence
political processes for the good of all.
By enlightening and educating ourselves and each other
we can as a society learn to choose wiser leaders,
remove corrupting influences, and distribute power fairly.
We must not let the greedy and ambitious dominate
us or others for their own selfish gains.
We must each learn to use our own power
and encourage others to use their power also
to work for justice and a healthier, safer world.
The ancient warrior tradition and unquestioning loyalty
to leaders' military ambitions must be changed
into a self-aware quest for justice.
By educating every person to think for herself
we can liberate ourselves from hatred and imperialism.
We will not be swept up into a national patriotic fervor.
We can realize our common humanity with all
and see the so-called "enemy's" point of view.
Religious zeal can stir fanatical motivation for war.
The most fanatical religious wars have involved
the proselytizing religions - Christianity and Islam.
Jews usually fought for independence,
particularly against Greek and Roman domination.
In the East, Jainism was based on nonviolence (ahimsa);
Hinduism was tolerant of diverse beliefs;
Buddhism spread but was primarily inward-directed
and peaceful (e.g. Emperor Ashoka of India);
Daoism also rejected violence as contrary to the way;
Confucianism disliked warfare but would fight for justice.
Christianity was a pacifist response to Roman oppression
until Emperor Constantine discovered
that he could conquer under the sign of the cross.
Muhammad himself began the Islamic tradition
of holy wars against infidels.
Why were Christians and Muslims so eager to fight?
In addition to cultural solidarity and imperialism,
both religions offered a heavenly paradise after death,
removing the fear of death for believers.
Also both religions believed dogmatically
that their beliefs were Godly, while their foes' were not;
they thought it was their duty to convert or destroy
infidels and heretics who were bound for hell anyway.
The authority of the priests and religious leaders
was so intolerant and the dogma so well instilled
that they would fight opposing sects within their religion.
After the Islamic conquests and the Christian crusades,
these schisms were used with cultural or national patriotism
to further motivate people to fight.
Going to war out of religious zeal
is probably the greatest hypocrisy in western civilization.
Since true religion is based on voluntary acceptance
and belief in Spirit or a divine being or loving way,
it is absurd to try to force people to adopt a dogma.
Since true religion understands the unity of all life
and humanity in a supreme being,
it is heinous to make people mortal enemies.
Since true religion expresses love for one another,
it is betrayal of faith to hate
and try to kill fellow human beings.
Zeal for true spirituality motivates us
to work for peace and justice with courage and conviction.
Knowledge that the soul is eternal and cannot be killed
enables us to face death for the sake of love and justice.
Spiritual awareness brings the realization
that force and killing accomplish no real purpose;
they merely cause equal and opposite reactions.
Religion as a motive for hatred, intolerance, and war
must be exposed as hypocrisy and exploitation.
To be willing to die for one's beliefs is a noble sacrifice;
to kill for one's beliefs is a terrible sacrilege.
Chinese innovations in warfare, such as the crossbow
which could kill an armored knight from a short distance
and the invention of gunpowder, spread to Europe where
competition and conflict stimulated arms races and wars.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries cannons destroyed
the protection of city walls and then helped to defend them.
Cannons on ships enabled the Atlantic nations of Europe
to begin dominating the world.
Muskets increased the numbers of effective fighting men.
Those nations industrially producing more weapons
maintained control of larger territories and populations.
Bankers and arms builders thrived on strife between nations.
Powerful nations, like Philip II's Spain, fell into debt.
Wars were fought on promises to pay,
and unpaid soldiers either plundered or mutinied.
The vicious relationship between rulers' desires for power
and weapons-makers' greed for profit was established.
Complicated industrialization of warfare solidified nations
under a bureaucracy headed by a king or a queen.
Steady taxation gave them the resources to pay
and train a professional standing army of increasing size.
Improvements in agriculture, industry, and worldwide trade
allowed rulers to increase tax revenues while maintaining
living standards in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Armies were drilled to prevent restless boredom
and to enhance cooperation and esprit de corps.
As agriculture expanded with crops from the new world,
the population of Europe increased rapidly.
Many from England went to America;
in France people from the country crowded into the cities.
After America freed itself from England,
the French people revolted in Paris.
The revolutionary struggle intensified the militarization
of the nation and spilled over into the Napoleonic Wars.
After having lost the previous war with England (1756-63),
the French invented a more mobile and effective cannon
which gave them a military advantage
until their adversaries matched the new technology.
The people had fought for liberty, equality, and fraternity,
but their energies were diverted into military conquest
with the inevitable reaction and defeat.
Yet the industrial might of the British could not defeat
Americans fighting for freedom on their own land.
The age of revolution had begun,
but republics could go to war as easily as monarchies.
In France virtually the whole society,
including the women, contributed to the war effort.
However, republics at war tend to become more dictatorial,
relying on conscription and powerful leaders.
Competition for warfare technology stimulated
the industrial revolution which fueled the arms race.
In the nineteenth century mass production turned out
millions of rifles, cannons, bullets, and shells.
Occasional wars tested new inventions and military tactics,
experimenting to make warfare deadlier with machines.
Even the professional soldiers became
interchangeable parts of a gigantic war machine.
With steam power, ships lost their sails
and became mechanized and armored.
Battleships were equipped with powerful guns.
France countered these with small and fast torpedo ships.
Torpedo destroyers were built to defend battleships.
Torpedo range was lengthened, and submarines were developed.
Land weaponry also escalated as machine guns
were devised that could shoot 600 bullets per minute.
War became a competition to see who could manufacture
the deadliest weapons and keep them supplied with ammunition.
The Crimean War in mid-century gave the European powers
the chance to experiment with new guns.
The American civil war was terribly bloody
and showed the importance of railroads and industry.
Prussian military victories over Austria in 1866
and France in 1870-71 demonstrated how quickly
new methods could defeat an unprepared enemy.
The psychological euphoria of these victories
and the unification of Germany by Bismarck's political skill
helped to delude the Germans into initiating
the world wars that proved so horrible.
The industrial arms race in Europe
which exploded into world war in 1914
was based on the iron triangle
between government, the military, and the weapons builders.
The professional military demands the newest technology
and large supplies of arms and equipment
to keep up or get ahead of other nations.
The armament businesses make a profit
developing and building as many as they can.
They contribute money to the election campaigns
of sympathetic government leaders and politicians who want
to protect national security, honor, and power in the world.
Krupp in Germany, Armstrong and Vickers in England,
and Schneider-Creusot in France became huge businesses,
supplying their own country and others, like Russia,
though war was more sustainable
for these nations which had their own industry.
Population can be a factor when economic expectations
are not met and frustration turns to violence.
Stirrings of socialist revolution and discontent in Germany
were turned against foreign enemies in the world wars,
while Russia turned against the war and toward revolution.
Europe was poised for war in 1914 when events in the Balkans
stimulated Russia to begin mobilizing her forces.
Since German leaders believed that early mobilization
was the key to another quick victory,
they attacked Russia, hoping to defeat them quickly
so that they could then turn to face the French.
France and England made the war a stalemate
with attempted offensives resulting in mass slaughter
of charging soldiers by machine guns.
Armies settled into trenches and fired at each other
massive amounts of artillery shells
turned out from the munitions factories.
The new technology of submarines, tanks, and airplanes
were used experimentally
and became major factors in the second world war.
With American help in France,
Germany was finally exhausted and surrendered.
Unfortunately the terms of the treaty which were punitive
toward Germany caused resentment and desire for revenge;
and though President Wilson conceived the League of Nations,
America's isolationism and failure to join
undercut the power of the League to prevent another war.
Disarmament efforts at the 1922 Washington Naval Conference
and the Geneva Conference of 1932 were inadequate.
The rise to power of Italian Fascists, German Nazis,
and Japanese militarists led to a second world war.
The contagion of war spread almost everywhere in the world;
industrialized nations poured all their energies into war.
This time the experimental technology was with rockets
and the use of two different types of atomic bombs.
After this war, burdens were not placed on losing nations.
Militarism was expunged from Germany, Italy, and Japan,
but it had grown large in the USSR and the USA.
Nuclear Arms Race
In 1945 a new situation took hold.
The victorious allies known as the United Nations
did institute a universal forum by that name.
The world was divided between Communism and capitalism.
Europe, including Germany itself, was divided into
eastern and western blocs, as Soviet and American troops
continued to occupy their spheres of influence.
Alliances were formalized as NATO in 1949
and the Warsaw Pact in 1955.
When Chinese Communists triumphed on the mainland in 1949,
the western powers refused to recognize their government.
Conflict broke out in Korea while the Soviet Union
was boycotting the UN Security Council because of China.
This enabled the United States to use the auspices
of the United Nations to fight for South Korea
until a stalemate was recognized as the status quo.
After the French were overcome by the Vietnamese in 1954,
the USA tried to "stop Communism" in South Vietnam.
Having won the war in Asia and helped in Europe,
the USA dominates most of the world in a Pax Americana.
The American and Soviet economies and governments
had been militarized by the intense war effort,
expanding bureaucracy and the military-industrial complex.
Fascism had reduced its enemies to its own level.
Stalin's USSR still feared western capitalist aggression
and wanted a ring of safety in eastern Europe.
They also wanted the new technology of the atom bomb.
The Soviet Union's acquisition of a nuclear weapon in 1949
made it clear that a new arms race was in progress.
This cold war became hot at the perimeters
of the American empire in Korea and Vietnam,
while the Soviets struggled to maintain their influence
in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Afghanistan.
The technological nuclear arms race has proceeded rapidly,
using half the engineers and scientists in both countries.
In 1948 the USA deployed intercontinental bombers,
followed by the USSR in 1955.
The thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb was developed
by the USA in 1952 and by the Soviets the next year;
its explosive power is a thousand times the atom bomb.
Tactical nuclear weapons were deployed in Europe
by the USA in 1954 and the USSR in 1957.
The United States produced a nuclear-powered submarine
in 1955, the Soviet Union in 1959.
The Soviets launched intercontinental ballistic missiles
in 1957, one year ahead of the Americans.
The USA could launch ballistic missiles from submarines
in 1960, but it took the USSR until 1975.
In 1970 USA missiles could carry several warheads
to hit separate targets; the USSR followed in 1975.
Recently the USA has developed the neutron bomb in 1981
and long-range cruise missiles in 1982,
as the nuclear arms race goes on.
In the 1980s both are building many first-strike weapons.
Both sides have thousands of nuclear weapons
which can destroy the civilization of the opponent.
Since neither side has developed any effective defense
against these offensive weapons,
the threat of retaliation has become the "defense"
or deterrent to prevent the other side from attacking.
Ironically if either side did develop an effective defense,
that could destroy deterrence and give military strategists
the idea that a nuclear war could be won.
This is a major reason why an anti-ballistic missile treaty
was agreed upon as part of SALT I in 1972,
even though such a system is hardly a safe defense.
What would the future be if the arms race continued?
Many nations besides the two superpowers
are developing or buying their own sophisticated weapons,
including nuclear explosives, missiles, submarines,
jet fighters, tanks, chemical and biological poisons, etc.;
they would have increasing numbers of these weapons.
Even wars between small nations could be catastrophic.
The superpowers are already stockpiling thousands
of strategic nuclear weapons with first-strike accuracy.
Such multiple-warhead missiles give a military advantage
to the side that strikes first pre-emptively.
This destabilizing of retaliatory deterrence
is pushing military minds to an even more dangerous step---
the nearly impossible technological task of developing
defensive systems against ballistic and cruise missiles.
As noted, this could destroy military deterrence.
If one side saw they were about to lose their deterrent,
they might, out of fear of losing political power,
be inclined to launch a pre-emptive strike
before the adversary's defensive system was fully in place.
This fear could exist even though the system was not proven.
Experts doubt a defensive system ever could be effective.
The history of warfare technology indicates that
it is much easier to develop new offensive technologies
than it is to develop safe defenses against them.
Thus it would be cheaper and easier to
redesign offensive weapons to counter new defensive systems
than to redesign perfect and comprehensive defenses.
Another drawback of continuing the arms race
with anti-satellite weapons, laser beams, space weapons,
and anti-missile defense systems
is the tremendous expense in human and material resources.
These new systems could cost a trillion dollars.
The real solution to the arms race is to stop it.
We will be safer without these destructive technologies.
The question is how to stop the arms race universally
so that all will be protected from any nation's aggression.
Stopping the accelerating momentum of the arms race
is only the first step which then could be followed by
stages of disarmament and alternative peacekeeping systems.
Since the arms race is being led by the two superpowers,
the best proposal to stop this momentum is
a bilateral, verifiable freeze on the
testing, production, and deployment of nuclear weapons
and their delivery systems by the USA and the USSR.
Although it would be foolish and unreasonable
for either side to totally disarm unilaterally,
good faith can be shown, and often is,
by some unilateral steps by each side.
Since negotiating a verifiable freeze could take years,
an informal moratorium during negotiations,
to hold as long as both sides adhered to it, could stop
the current escalation of first-strike nuclear missiles.
A comprehensive freeze is easiest to verify,
because it is not a question of how much
testing, production, or deployment, but of any at all.
Stopping the nuclear arms race with a bilateral freeze
could be the first step toward multilateral disarmament.
A successful nuclear freeze will build confidence and trust
between the superpowers and shift the momentum
toward disarmament as both sides realize its value
for their national security and economic prosperity.
Once the fear of new technology is reasonably removed,
gradual and balanced arms and troop reductions
can be negotiated and implemented.
Each disarmament step will reduce fear and insecurity
and increase cooperation between adversaries.
International verification of disarmament treaties
will develop effectiveness in international institutions
which could expand to include more peacekeeping functions.
Conflicts in developing countries could be demilitarized
so that political and social solutions could be implemented.
Disarmament treaties will strengthen international law,
as political attitudes recognize the value and importance
of consistent, effective, and authoritative world law.
The immense material, technological and human resources
converted from military activities will help to build
stronger economies and a better quality of life for all.
Instead of competing in a deadlier and deadlier arms race,
the peoples of the world can rejoice
in constructing better and more prosperous societies.
The new technologies of the electronic age
can advance and spread improving services
and make life easier for millions of people.
The leaders of nations take on the responsibility
of protecting and promoting the power of their countries.
Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union has renounced
the power they gained in winning the world war.
Both have maintained military bases and troops
and established military alliances with other nations.
Each side fears the imperialist expansion of the other.
Russians remember invasions from western Europe;
Americans fear Communism's desire for world domination.
These political fears are used to fuel the arms race
and the growing power of the military-industrial complex
Eisenhower warned against when he left office in 1961.
Both superpowers have economic interests in world conflict.
People who work in the military-industrial sector
want to maintain their jobs and prestige.
Both superpowers use their military dominance
over other countries for economic exploitation,
especially the capitalist multi-national corporations.
They want those markets, labor forces, and natural resources.
Communists believe that capitalism is inherently
exploitative, expansive, and therefore imperialistic.
Capitalists believe that Communism is totalitarian,
squelches freedom, and persecutes religion.
Wherever these conflicts destabilize a country,
the people are pushed to choose between the polarities of
revolutionary Communists fighting for economic equality or
the wealthy business, religious, and military establishments
trying to maintain or increase their riches and power.
Most of the people are caught in the middle of the conflict.
The two empires try to increase their power and influence
by giving military and economic aid to these countries.
The arming of left-wing and right-wing dictatorships
by each side militarizes local conflicts,
and their oppression stimulates revolutionary violence.
Thus small wars fester in Asia, Africa, Latin America,
and the Middle East where religious hatred aggravates.
Human rights are often lost in these conflicts
when force and repression are the methods of government.
Each side battles external enemies and internal dissent,
since civil strife and revolution can determine
which type of government will dominate.
Economic exploitation promotes cheap labor and poverty
to support a capitalistic class, instead of
moving toward self-sufficiency and economic balance.
Poor countries are manipulated into producing export crops
for the profit of a few, while many of the people
go hungry and live in unhealthy conditions.
Industrial nations are producing toxins and pollution
while exploiting the dwindling natural resources
of oil, coal, natural gas, topsoil, and various minerals,
portending increasing conflicts between industrial nations.
The quest for corporate profit in capitalistic societies or
for the overall standard of living in collective societies
is ignoring their responsibility for the future.
Concerned mostly about immediate crises,
the solutions chosen by leaders in power
are often shortsighted and temporary,
continually delaying and compounding the real problems.
One result of this superpower rivalry is that
Americans and Russians are hated by just about everyone
except officials in power who are essentially bribed by aid.
Enemies are punished and alienated
while allies are bullied to serve superpower interests.
Promotion of these hatreds makes reconciliation difficult.
Ideologues on both sides paint the world in black and white
in terms of freedom, human rights, equality, cooperation,
and even morality---"We are good; they are evil."
Yet many countries not blinded by such dogma
are moving toward a synthesis of the two economic systems.
Scandinavian nations and western Europe
are increasing social welfare and socialist cooperation.
China with Communism has eliminated starvation
among its population of over one billion
and is now experimenting with free enterprise.
People in Poland are trying to modify their system
while clinging to the Catholic church.
In Latin America many countries are learning how
to reconcile Marxism and Christianity.
Official policy of the Soviet Union is peaceful coexistence
with all nations regardless of their social system,
and the United States government also claims
that it is not bent on world domination either.
Yet often the actions of both belie their principles.
We need leaders who will demilitarize conflicts in the world
so that people can be free
to solve their own problems socially and politically.
If there is to be competition,
let it be economic, social, political, and philosophical
so that people can discover
what will work best for their society.
Use of force blocks such progress and may even destroy it.
The poor people of the world are hungering for justice
so that they can grow their own food
and be self-sufficient, self-reliant, and self-determining.
Military intervention by outside nations must be ended,
both direct force and military aid and sales.
All nations must learn to respect human rights
for their own people and for all other countries as well.
Those who love justice and compassion,
the father and mother of peace,
must stand up for the right of poor people
and stop ruthless, exploitative domination by the powerful.
We need to be aware of the long-range consequences
of our actions and policies in order to redeem and preserve
health and the natural harmonies of the Earth.
Common sense tells us that
the arms race and military expenditures are a drain
on our human resources, wealth, technology, and happiness.
They do not create useful products or human services,
nor do they improve the quality of life.
Skills and talents of scientists and engineers who
could be working on constructive projects are being wasted
inventing and developing worse methods of destruction.
Military expenditures even sap capitalist enterprise
by using up so much available capital unproductively.
Tax money from the people pays
not only salaries for this negative activity
but also for wasted minerals, metals, and other materials.
The technology of destruction takes away
from numerous improvements which could be made
in housing, appliances, furniture, clothing,
agriculture, electronics, transportation,
communication, education, and the arts.
Perhaps the greatest cost
of these diverted or perverted efforts is psychological.
How can people be truly happy working on murderous pursuits?
Fear is a terrible motivation,
and a life based on fear does not lead to peace of mind.
All of these efforts for "national security"
have actually resulted in less security,
as new technologies of death make circumstances less stable
and the consequences in the event of conflict much worse.
Also the entire society is skewed
toward math, science, and engineering,
and away from the arts and the humanities,
which help us to understand and appreciate life more.
Instead of encouraging young minds to explore and discover
humane and creative solutions to our problems,
the military economy promotes jobs in destructive technology
by the dull motivations of security and money.
Eventually national military power will be replaced
by nonviolent and judicial methods
of maintaining international peace and justice.
As disarmament proceeds, we will need
comprehensive conversion programs to shift military personnel
and defense industry workers into constructive vocations.
The positive energy released in this transformation
could result in the greatest improvement
and building projects the world has ever known.
The joy and elation of these changes will inaugurate
a new era in the history of the human spirit.
We can begin by making detailed studies
of how these industries and their workers
could make a transition to constructive work.
With the consequent improvements in technology
the increased labor force can work fewer hours
while increasing the standard of living.
Thus far we have briefly examined some of the biological,
historical, political, and economic causes of the megacrisis.
These are outward factors of our dilemma.
The root causes that create these circumstances in the world
are really spiritual and psychological.
Why have we created such conflicts with ourselves?
Why are human beings the most creative
and the most destructive creatures on earth?
Having risen above the conditioned instincts of animals
but not having attained total and perfect awareness of God,
we are learning creative intelligence by trial and error.
Sometimes godlike powers misused by pride
and justified by elaborate rationalization without wisdom
lead people away from their natural instincts for survival.
We have become self-conscious with strong individual egos.
In acting for ourselves without total awareness
we are more concerned and aware of ourselves than of others.
Thus our natural tendency is to understand our own position
better than others' and also to prefer it.
Therefore it is natural at this stage of evolution
for us to overvalue our own needs and motivations
while undervaluing those of others.
From these biases conflict develops
where each person or each side
projects their own fears and suspicions onto the other.
Actions in conflict result in someone being hurt.
This hurt is resented as an intrusion,
causing anger and perhaps developing into hatred.
Conflicts originate, then, from non-reciprocal motivations
such as greed, lust, avarice, envy, ambition, and pride.
Usually more awareness about the other
allows greater empathy and understanding.
If we do not understand or care about others,
we are more likely to take advantage of them and fear them.
These psychological factors are multiplied in groups.
An individual is conscious of her actions,
but in a group all the individuals are not aware of
all the activities of the group because of specialization.
Leaders tend to focus on power, ambition, pride, and greed,
while followers provide loyalty, service, and support,
and soldiers engage in the physical conflicts.
Without empathy and understanding for others in the group
personal biases cause inequality and conflict in the group
and distortion of the group's actions toward other groups.
The group's power and cohesion depends
on the cooperation or obedience of the individuals,
and world peace depends on the cooperation of the groups.
The history of cultural evolution shows
that the two most powerful societies in the world
made the two greatest breakthroughs toward equality.
America pioneered political equality by democratic process,
while Russia has tried economic equality by Communism.
In addition to their plentiful natural resources,
this has made these nations the world powers they are.
Although Americans are very concerned about the civil rights
and material well-being of United States citizens,
they are not equally concerned about other people.
Fear and mistrust of Communism by capitalist interests
have produced paranoia of that "other" society.
Soviet fears of capitalist imperialism encroaching upon them
have caused them to put up paranoid walls also.
Bureaucratic hierarchies maintain loyalty within the society
by pointing to the danger of the fearful enemy.
Thus conflicts occur because people do not see
and act upon what is good for all
based on awareness of spiritual oneness and love.
Each acts on the basis of a selfish good
which violates the harmony of the whole.
The root of violence is this injustice.
In this conflict of wills, the divine will,
which is the good of all, is violated.
Violence occurs when an individual or group
tries to force their will on others without their consent.
In world politics whole countries do this
in the name of "national sovereignty."
Such clashing sovereignties can cause massive violence.
We need to communicate and become aware of our adversaries,
their values, needs, goals, and ways of doing things.
Trade, cultural exchange programs, and education
can improve our understanding of different societies
and help to awaken our empathy for their viewpoints.
Ultimately love will provide the solution
to resolve our conflicts and accept our differences.
By applying love and concern for others in our lives
we will expand our ability to benefit our society
and gradually help our society benefit the world.
When enough people have opened their hearts
to care about everyone in the world,
then we will find the means that will work
to establish justice and improve living conditions.
Every person can help; it begins individually.
When people work together for goals beyond personal reward,
each person's action is magnified by the cooperation.
Since we require less time to sustain our survival needs,
we have more time to give to the good of the whole.
This transcendence of self expands consciousness
and paradoxically also brings personal happiness
if balanced and integrated into a responsible life.
History shows that it is men who act aggressively,
although women are partially responsible also
for supporting or allowing these transgressions.
Masculine dominance and oppression cause human suffering.
Men generally have been more ambitious,
greedy, aggressive, and violent than women.
This oppressive imbalance causes unfair treatment of women
and also promotes conflict between men and groups.
These patriarchal patterns have permeated civilization
for centuries as habits, customs, and laws.
Now women are becoming more involved
in social, political, and economic processes,
bringing their concerns and abilities to bear.
More women are teaching men and each other
about feelings, intuition, caring, nurturing,
responsibility, support, and cooperation.
We are learning to balance feminine and masculine qualities.
The old combination of weak, submissive women
and aggressive, macho men is proving to be inhumane
in oppressing women and those not in powerful positions
and in deadly conflicts between ambitious and greedy men.
As women become stronger in our society
and as men become more tender and sensitive,
war and exploitation will change to peace and harmony.
Those who want to be whole and balanced within themselves
will integrate the best qualities of both sexes.
Also society needs to blend feminine and masculine traits.
In history western societies have been more aggressive,
conquering, rational, and masculine,
while eastern cultures have been more passive,
stable, intuitive, and feminine.
The westernization of some oriental cultures,
such as Japan in the last hundred years,
has caused them to become aggressive.
We also need to synthesize eastern and western philosophy.
By blending and balancing these polarities we can
eliminate militaristic imperialism and economic exploitation,
and thus attain a world of fair reciprocity.
People in power prefer to gain their ends
without using overt physical violence.
Armed force is used as a last resort
when all other forms of manipulation
and intimidation have failed to maintain control.
Economic pressures are the most common means of coercion.
Most people are not willing to risk losing their jobs
in order to challenge injustice.
The primary employers, whether they be
Communist bureaucrats or capitalist business executives,
have vested interests in maintaining
their society's political and economic system.
They organize work for their advantage by offering workers
just enough incentives to maintain the status quo.
Opportunities are taken by the military-industrial sector.
Political propaganda tries to convince people
that they are working for the best system
and that strong military power is needed to defend themselves
against their terrible Communist (or capitalist) enemy.
Both sides proudly exploit these fears
in order to promote their own power over their own people.
These economic patterns need to be challenged and changed.
As more individuals have the courage to withdraw
their support from the military-industrial system,
a political movement will grow
that can eventually transform the system
to a peaceful economy with social justice.
The key psychological change
is relieving the fears of the "enemy"
and the insecurities perpetrated by our own society.
When we become organized for peace and justice
instead of for war and exploitation,
then we will be in harmony with the world.
The philosophy of deterrence is used to explain
why people are justified in acting negatively.
Based on the mutual fear and threat of mass murder,
it is like organized crime demanding protection money.
Deterrence assumes that people are bad and dangerous,
and therefore we must be bad and dangerous
to scare them from becoming worse.
Yet this stimulates each side to increase its threat,
perverting human nature into believing the contradiction
that it is good to be bad, because others are bad.
Military planning which prepares for the worst-case scenario
epitomizes the acme of negative thinking.
We must be prepared for the worst,
but our plans ought to lessen the dangers, not increase them.
Proponents of deterrence claim that
it has prevented a major war since 1945,
but it can equally be argued that
nuclear weapons have not been used because of moral restraint
as much as because of fear of retaliation.
Wars have been played out conventionally in the third world.
Deterrence can make sense in some situations
where there is a rational and humane way
of discouraging someone from violating others' rights.
However, nuclear deterrence is irrational and immoral,
because leaders must adopt the belief that it would be right
for them to murder millions of people in some circumstances.
Nuclear deterrence has implicitly adopted the value
that the current political-economic status quo
is more important than human survival.
Actually military power that is rationalized as a deterrent
is used to project political power around the world.
The nuclear balance is always fluctuating
with new technology making it unstable.
Nuclear deterrence enables the more reckless leader
to blackmail the opposition so that
the humane and responsible leader becomes the "chicken."
Even the superpower leaders have not been crazy enough
to push this too far with each other,
but this military power is used to bully other countries
into submitting to superpower control and exploitation.
Yet even this bullying fails
when the people of a country are determined.
India won its independence
from Great Britain by nonviolent means.
Vietnam withstood from the U. S. onslaught
twice the amount of bombs used in World War II,
and Afghanistan is resisting Soviet military power.
Nuclear deterrence is psychological intimidation
based on a genocidal threat.
When the bluff is called, superpower leaders must either
become the worst murderers in history
or admit that nuclear weapons are useless.
The best that these awesome weapons can do for us
is to motivate us to find
a safer, better, more humane way to prevent total war.
Moral, legal, and economic deterrence can replace
the deterrence of mass murder and suicide.
Humane leaders would never commit genocide.
Aggression can be prevented in morally acceptable ways
that are safer and more effective than massive retaliation.
The power of public opinion can make
any leader's overt aggression political suicide
if the people are reasonably educated.
If the rest of the world unites to stop an inflictive nation,
legal and economic sanctions can isolate and defeat the evil.
Nonviolent methods prevent the conflict from escalating
so that people can communicate their grievances
and decide issues in the full light of justice.
No tyrant could possibly convince people
to murder and imprison everyone else in the world.
When force is not resisted by violence but by moral power,
the perpetrators of force must question the rightness
of what they are doing and thus can be converted to justice.
Deterrence by moral self-restraint works in the conscience
and is strengthened by all the people committed to justice.
When these people also are organized
by legal processes and economic leverage,
their social power can be insurmountable.
Why should we be controlled by fear
when our love is so much more powerful?
Particularly strong in the American psyche
is the desire to win and be number one.
Thus dualistic view of life as a contest with an adversary
divides the consequences of actions
into the black and white of winning and losing.
In America's two-party politics, losing an election
means the destruction of that politician's power.
U. S. politicians can reconcile loss to another American,
but they seem to believe that loss to the Communists
would be worse than death to civilization itself.
Thus the morality of "good guys and bad guys" prevails,
based on grossly divergent double standards.
"Our nuclear weapons are good, peacekeeping nuclear weapons;
their nuclear weapons are bad, war-making nuclear weapons.
It is morally right for our military
to intervene in another country
for the sake of democratic freedom (or socialist equality),
but it is morally wrong for them
to try to maintain or take power in another country
by means of guns or guerrilla fighting."
These attitudes are perpetrated throughout the society
by appeals to nationalistic patriotism
and biased interpretation of what the other side is doing
Little knowledge of the other side's position is presented;
instead we hear a few condemnatory generalizations
which not only ignore the facts but often contradict them.
These attitudes are so prevalent in the USA and the USSR
that people are afraid even to consider
or try to understand the adversary's viewpoint,
because to express it risks being treated as a traitor.
We can transcend this dualism by looking
at the good of the whole and its harmony and justice.
Psychologically the double standard produces
projection of one's own weaknesses and faults onto the other
without realizing that the enemy created comes from within.
We should not be blind to the faults of others,
but we can see those faults for what they actually are
without distorting them by our own fears and prejudices.
Politics is more important than a game;
the consequences are real and affect people's lives.
We must constantly be focused on the good
of all the people instead of just one group.
Let us use communication, diplomacy, and negotiation
to find the ways where everyone can win
so that there will be no losers,
for in the nuclear age a loser can make everyone lose.
Apathy and Despair
Why do people allow these dangerous trends to continue?
Many people simply believe without questioning
what the government authorities tell them.
They assume that the leaders "know more"
and are looking out for the interests of the nation.
Yet there are also many people who intuitively sense
that there is something dreadfully wrong
and that the future of the world is in danger.
Most of these people, however,
feel powerless to effect any real change.
They are busy with their personal lives,
and the problems of the world just seem too overwhelming.
Ignorance, apathy, and laziness are major stumbling blocks.
For those who do become active for a particular cause,
they often find it difficult
working with and confronting other people.
Most of the economic incentives are reversed
so that it usually involves giving of one's own money
or voluntary labor in the face of a huge establishment
that grinds away by paying salaries to millions of people.
Such sacrificing often results in "burn-out"
when the person feels that she cannot continue
at the same rate of altruistic giving with so little return.
These difficulties place extra strain on human relationships;
often people feel that the personal frictions in the struggle
contradict the goals of peace and a happier world.
Their efforts seem to have little effect on world problems,
and it is easy to become discouraged.
Sometimes those who persevere in a reform struggle
set up power structures of their own which alienate people.
Various reform groups may find themselves
competing with each other instead of cooperating.
The same ego problem of overvaluing one's own position
can cause conflicts here also.
We inevitably come back
to the roots of the problem within ourselves.
Yet if we do not act for peace and justice,
how can we expect anyone else to contribute?
Despair and anxiety result from not acting on our concern.
By doing something to help we begin to feel better,
even as we are more aware of the immensity of the problems.
By educating ourselves on these issues
we take the first step toward responsibility for our world.
As our knowledge and experience increases,
so will our self-confidence and ability to be effective.
Albert Einstein suggested that we need
a chain reaction of awareness from person to person
for our society to change its way of thinking.
When we cooperate with other individuals and groups,
we do not feel so alone and powerless.
These working relationships offer us opportunities to learn
and grow in personal effectiveness and group cooperation.
The challenges of interaction test our peacemaking skills.
If we are able to maintain harmony and justice
in our personal relationships while confronting opposition,
we will be capable of contributing to peace in the world.
Great peacemakers and reformers such as
Jesus, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
have demonstrated that the process of change
is at least as important as the goals.
In reality where peace and justice are concerned
they are one and the same.
The old Roman idea, "If you want peace, prepare for war,"
has been proven to be a failure and hypocrisy over and over.
The way to peace is a way of peace.
Justice can only be the fruit of just actions.
Buddha said, "Hatred does not cease by hatred, but by love."
This diagnosis has focused primarily on the causes of war
and how continual preparation for war causes other problems.
Yet in every field similar conflicts hurt the public.
Nevertheless within each struggle for justice and mercy
are the seeds of life and the solutions to our problems.
Desire for short-term profit is causing agribusiness
to grow larger farms with bigger machines
and more chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.
Long-term dangers of topsoil erosion, water depletion,
poisoning of soil and water, and precarious hybrids
are being generally ignored.
We need organic farming.
Most scientists are specialized
and paid by corporations with profit in mind
so that it is difficult to protect the public's interest,
especially for future generations.
Tragically, agribusiness for export profit
is ignoring millions of people who are malnourished
and have either been pushed off their land
or denied the opportunity to grow their own food.
Land reform is a constant plea in the third world.
Every country can grow enough food to feed their people
if the poor people are given a chance to work for themselves.
Demilitarization, appropriate technology,
and political, social, and economic justice
are the keys to resolving the starvation crisis.
Non-renewable energy supplies of the industrial era,
oil, coal, and natural gas, are being used up.
We need more research and development of renewable sources—
solar, wind, water, geothermal, biomass, gasohol, etc.
Nuclear energy plants are too expensive and unsafe
with no reasonable solution for the lethal waste.
Nuclear power feeds the nuclear weapons industry,
providing the raw material for nuclear bombs.
Developing renewable sources of energy is urgent so that
we can prevent wars over diminishing natural resources,
reduce the pollution of the environment,
and put the power back in the hands of the local people.
Health care is dominated by the traditional medicine
of surgery, machine technology, and synthetic drugs.
People who want to prevent disease
by organic nutrition, exercise, simple life-style,
spiritual techniques, and natural healing methods
usually have to go outside the medical establishment.
Preventive and holistic health care is more efficient
and less painful than treating sickness after it occurs.
Purifying water supplies and providing
village health care centers in the developing countries
could save millions of lives and prevent untold suffering.
Businesses concerned only about profits are causing
chemical pollution of land, air, water, and people's bodies.
Acid rain is killing entire lakes and forests.
Many signs, including the crying out of native peoples,
are indicating that the Earth herself is ailing.
Essential rain-forests in Brazil are being cut down.
Consumers need to be aware of what they are buying so that
exploitative and polluting businesses can be boycotted.
Businesses must learn to be responsible
to all the people and the environment.
Greed and waste can be greatly reduced,
as people begin to appreciate non-material values more.
Working fewer hours each week can create more jobs
for those who have been unemployed.
Communications media and the arts are commercialized
to sell products and appeal to the lowest common denominators
of violence, sex, and silliness.
Educational quality has declined causing
a fearful reaction toward basic skills and discipline.
Attempts to force learning upon children are bound to fail
because of the lack of positive motivation.
Education needs more room for creativity not less.
Public priorities have left teachers with low salaries
and large classrooms with about forty students.
The result is that compulsory education
feels like a prison sentence to most teenagers,
and teachers spend their time trying to maintain order.
In a prosperous society our children deserve
more attention and care in their educational development.
Education is our greatest asset for the future
and will be the most rapidly expanding field.
As we become technologically efficient in the workplace,
we have more time for education and enjoyment of the arts.
Everyone can learn and teach throughout their lives.
Much of traditional religion has become
simple-minded and self-serving.
Fundamentalists and most born-again Christians
take the Bible literally and are rigidly dogmatic.
Evangelical preachers are concerned with raising money,
often for their own church establishment
and sometimes even for right-wing political causes.
Crusades for public school prayer and against
abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and even "humanism"
divert gullible believers' attentions away from
practicing the actual teachings of the Christ.
Yet the acceptance of Christ or God or Islam or Buddha
can be the beginning of wisdom and enlightenment.
If people practice the ethical precepts of religion,
a great spiritual awakening can accelerate our progress
toward a world of peace and justice.
Real concern for the poor can liberate theology.
Divine energies and intelligence guide us if we listen.
Transcendental experience enlightens and gives perspective.
To conclude it might give us some perspective
to notice what are not the major sources of our crises.
We are not in danger because of any threatened attack
by alien beings from outer space.
It is unlikely that beings more advanced than us would risk
making open contact with such destructive creatures
who usually assume the worst about someone who is different.
Nor are we threatened by another predatory species on Earth.
Even diseases of microorganisms are no longer devastating,
except what genetic engineering or warfare might invent
and cancers, which are primarily human-caused.
Even natural catastrophes seem minor now
compared to the potential of human destructiveness.
No, the Earth and her creatures have been good to us.
It is human beings who are endangering life on Earth.
Our only enemies are ourselves and each other.
Although someday we may be able to travel
to other life-supporting planets,
we must learn to solve our problems on Earth first.
Since we are turning upon each other,
let us turn to each other with love.
This has been published in the book PEACE OR BUST. For ordering information, please click here.
Introduction and VISION