I’m as violent, defended, territorial, comparative, and competitive as any human being. I want my way. I want my advantage. I defend and promote my identity. I look for support from those that will back me up. I justify this course of action as the way humans look out for themselves and their friends. Can I back down and reconsider this habitual response? Can I see the other person’s position, their needs, their experience, their justifications? Do I see the other person as the same human being, inhabiting the same body, the same life cycle, the same emotional range, the same needs for physical and psychological security? We are the same. We have the same fingers and toes, skeletons and skin. We breathe the same air, drink the same water. We sleep and dream, laugh and cry, desire and reject. We are born and will die. We are bound to the earth, to the cosmic space. Our knowledge and understanding of what has put us here and what sustains all life is limited. There are no earthly gods that deserve everything. There are no lowly humans that deserve nothing. Peace is not just a lack of violence. It is an acknowledgment of sameness, oneness, care, and love for each other.
There is no peace movement in this country. There is great enthusiasm for war. I have no delusion that a little art project will create peace. Picasso’s Guernica should have done that. However, I need an outlet for my despair. If I see that there are no voices for Peace, then I will create a voice for myself. The process may bring me closer to understanding the problem. What happens nationally is just the larger version of what happens to me personally as I battle my psychological contradictions. I argue with my friends, relatives, and neighbors as we try to determine the configuration of reality. The tug of war is close to home as we fight for who will be in charge, who will control the resources, and who will have the last word. Some would say that this is just the human condition. They say - War will always be with us. (What if we see that this will lead to our extinction? Taking much of this beautiful planet with us!) Is it a suicide pact that we lazily agree to, hoping it won’t happen while we are still alive? Or do we finally use intelligence to get to know ourselves, to work toward a different solution to conflict? I cannot accept that maiming, killing, and displacing millions of people is an intelligent solution to solving disputes. What if we are really determined not to have war? It is no longer an option. Not just a few peace activists having marches, carrying signs, making art, but all of us at every level? I can no longer put the responsibility on the evil one, the aggressor. To end War, the problem must be addressed from the source I can access - my consciousness.
Kim Schrag 5/2023