Guide for World Peace
The first step in bringing about a peaceful world is for people to understand that we are all the same, Blacks are no different than whites, women are no different than men, Russians are no different than Americans, French are no different than Chinese, Brazilians are no different than Swedes. We treat each other differently, but at our essence, we are all the same.
That is so difficult, if not impossible, for people to fathom because people of all cultures need scapegoats and there you get the animosity between cultures and people and nations. Scapegoats are important to keep people from looking within for answers so they look outside and blame external forces, whether it is another country, another race, another religion. And the leaders who capitalize on the need for scapegoats are the leaders who are themselves the most mentally ill and they must have scapegoats for their psychological lives. They may claim that once the Jews are gone, the world will be better or once the Blacks are gone, the world will be a better place, or once the Communists are gone and on and on. Hitler murdered 6 million Jews to prove that Germany would be a better place without Jews. Had Hitler conquered England and won the war, he no doubt would have found new scapegoats, perhaps putting all left handed people in camps or exterminating anyone with a speech impediment.
Scapegoating is a means to avoid looking within but there will never be peace if people do not give up trying to find external reasons for their unhappiness and instead look inside for answers. Most people don’t look inside because it is infinitely easier to externalize and many don’t seek their own answers because they fear what they will find. These thoughts are invariably opposed by political leaders who understand that to maintain power, they have to limit the questions of those they rule. And this also is why rulers never ask the ruled for permission to wage war.
Immanuel Kant said that “The practical politician assumes the attitude of looking down with great self‐satisfaction on the political theorist as a pedant whose empty ideas in no way threaten the security of the state, inasmuch as the state must proceed on empirical principles; so the theorist is allowed to play his game without interference from the worldly‐wise statesman.”
So leaders maintain massive military machines and once those machines are in place, they are ultimately used, in war, regardless of the wishes of those who are ruled. Rulers cannot exist when there are too many enlightened and thoughtful people who will eventually win out.
A website called the dailystoic.com had a series of recommendations on how to find peace within that can then be transferred to peace without.
Start by avoiding imagined troubles, because as the Roman philosopher Seneca advised that “There are more things … likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.”
Seneca had a series of uncomplicated suggestions in his letter, “On Groundless Fears.”
“What I advise you to do is, not to be unhappy before the crisis comes; since it may be that the dangers before which you paled as if they were threatening you, will never come upon you; they certainly have not yet come. Accordingly, some things torment us more than they ought; some torment us before they ought; and some torment us when they ought not to torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, or imagining, or anticipating, sorrow.”
The Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, cautioned people to remember that personal opinions are paramount.
“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinions than our own,” Aurelius wrote.
If you focus on understanding the opinions of others, to the absence of your own thoughts, you will get caught up in confusion. If you were to try and take into account the opinions of everyone, you would be frozen and never act. Seneca said we should focus on issues that concern us and that we know intuitively are right, matters such as being consistently kind, caring, patient, tolerant, disciplined, wise, and understanding.
Seneca also recommended to make time regularly to find stillness in life n the path to self-understanding. You can’t have growth if you spend too much of your precious time examining the outside and not the inside.
Quoting Seneca, “Nothing, to my way of thinking, is a better proof of a well ordered mind than a man’s ability to stop just where he is and pass some time in his own company.”
Marcus Aurelius also counseled to strive to find the beauty in everyday life.
“Observe the movements of the stars as if you were running their courses with them, and let your mind constantly dwell on the changes of the elements into each other. Such imaginings wash away the filth of life on the ground,” according to “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius.
The Roman emperor expounded in “Meditations,” “When a loaf of bread, for instance, is in the oven, cracks appear in it here and there; and these flaws, though not intended in the baking, have a rightness of their own, and sharpen the appetite. Figs, again, at their ripest will also crack open. When olives are on the verge of falling, the very imminence of decay adds its peculiar beauty to the fruit.”
An emperor who ruled the world’s largest and most powerful civilization chose to focus on figs and bread, realizing that the simplest things in a complex world, are the most important.
In order to keep a perspective of your actions on the world and how your actions will effect the world, Marcus Aurelius advises you to recognize that you are but an infinitesimal part of an ongoing universe “…of which you have the smallest of shares; and of time in its entirety, of which a brief and momentary span has been assigned to you; and of the works of destiny, and how very small is your part in them.”
Marcus Aurelius also had this uncomplicated advice on living by a code in life.
“If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it,” Marcus Aurelius wrote.
And finally, Socrates said it is vital to continue to reflect on life and not to become fixed in a way that precludes change.
“The unexamined life is not worth living,” Socrates wrote.