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Sunday, 7 December 2014

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To live in peace

"It's the love of right lures men to wrong."- Kim Stanley Robinson, an American science fiction writer, best known for his Mars trilogy.

There are many an index for peace and peaceful living: the foremost being that human beings must live in peace within, for them to live in peace without. Nothing external to you has any power over you. But to achieve inner peace, the foremost necessity is that one live in a peaceful and lawful country in which the people live in harmony and tranquillity and are law abiding.

To accomplish this state of being, a nation must be free of poverty; its people must possess character; they must believe in ethics; and its leaders must speak the truth. The people should realise that whatever is their right as a citizen is also the right of another; and it becomes their duty to guarantee as well as to possess.

We live in a more connected and interdependent world; and the single most profound implication of an increasingly interconnected world is that it has rendered us ethically, if not morally, interdependent. Hence, it is worth realising that the foundation of ethical value starts when our individual life journeys begin. It ends only with the cessation of our existence.

Yet, in spite of knowing it to be true, we manoeuvre to bend ethics, water down morals, and parse down values to serve our agendas which mostly hinges on attaining selfish goals. Such people forget that it is not, they who support the root of peace and tranquillity in life; but the root supports them because it is through peace, calm and serenity that one achieves inner tranquillity. Therefore, the pursuit, even of the best of things, ought to be calm and tranquil. There is no such a thing as a "way to peace"; peace is the way for people to live.

The human spirit is sustained by, an upright, tranquil, and moral heart, which leads to inner peace. A quiet conscience makes one strong because the inner peace facilitates the mind to think: wisdom comes from reflection and adds strength to character. A man who possesses strength of character will extend his circle of compassion to all living things, for he knows that without such compassion, man will not find peace.

Treatment

In fact, the greatest ethical test that we as humans face is the treatment of those who are at our mercy. It is not enough to be just nice; one has to be good - good at heart.

We generally are attracted by nice people, but only on the assumption that their niceness is a sign of goodness that reflects a good heart. However, one may appear a nice person, but appearance is not reality. A man's actions determine whether a man is good or bad.

Rightful actions are conducive to peace; wrongful actions lead to violence - physical and mental. Any action that brings about violence infringes and violates the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings - physically, mentally, or both - we remain as savages.

Peace begins with a smile and smile becomes your joy when peace reigns. However, some people, especially those in the religious establishments, think they have divine permission to enable actions that a morally normal people would not contemplate.

"The terrible error in the course of human civilisation is undoubtedly the defective judgment that allowed religious authorities usurp the foundation of societal morality, in which all collective ethics of humankind must take a cause.

"This appalling blunder is comparable only to assigning the leper exclusive franchise to run beauty clinics in the society; this can only lead to cycles upon cycles of common infection syndrome." - Adebowale Ojowuro, Echoes of Common Sense. Ojowuro hails from a country in which religious persecution is an ever-present threat. He is South African of Nigerian descent.

Religion and politics have always been controversial, potent, and a dangerous mix. If anything, it is the result of envy and selfish ambition: where you have envy and selfish ambition; there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Opinion

Too often, theology or history is nothing more than canonised opinion; and much of what is foist as fact or truth in religion and politics is in reality fantasy, fallacy, or falsehood.

A little common sense, goodwill, and a tiny dose of unselfishness could make this goodly earth, and any country on earth, into an earthly paradise.

The greedy ambitions of men may have been the driving spirit of civilisations; but greed has remained the inventor of injustice, as well as its current enforcer. One of the weaknesses of our age is our apparent inability to distinguish our needs from our greed that accounts for the loss of peace in the world.

Yet, in spite of it all, there are peaceful nations in the world. Do you know the most peaceful countries? Since 2007 each year, the Global Peace Index issued by the Institute for Economics and Peace is a measurement of a country's peacefulness based on external and internal measures.

Although it seems like the world is becoming progressively cruel, according to the Global Peace Index, there are 20 most peaceful countries in the world; and some will come as a surprise.The top 20 peaceful countries in 2014 from most to less are Denmark, Norway, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Iceland, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Japan, Ireland, Finland, New Zealand, Canada, Austria, Bhutan, Australia, Portugal, Qatar and Mauritius.

Advantage

It is indeed a great advantage to live in a peaceful country; but how does one measure, peacefulness? In attempting to gauge peacefulness, the GPI investigates the extent to which countries are involved in ongoing domestic and international conflicts. It also seeks to evaluate the level of harmony or discord within a nation.

Ten indicators broadly assess safety and security in society. The assertion is that low crime rates, minimal incidences of terrorist acts, violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighbouring countries, a stable political scene, number of people displaced or living as refugees, are some of the indicators of peacefulness. Peace is also correlated to, indicators such as income, schooling facilities, and the level of internal integration.

Peaceful countries often shared high levels of transparency of government and low corruption. The Index has received endorsements as a political project from a number of major international figures, including the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, former President of Finland and 2008 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Martti Ahtisaari, the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Muhammad Yunus, and former United States President Jimmy Carter.

Steve Killelea, the Australian philanthropist who conceived the idea of the Index, argues that the Index "is a wake-up call for leaders around the globe".

Formula

In a world driven by greed, perhaps, peace, true love, and happily-ever-after are nothing but wasted wishes, and failed endeavours; yet, they are our most precious dreams; and cling to them, we must.

It is time we realised that there is beauty and power in unity. We must be, united in heart and mind and live as one people.

We must learn from one another, and not claim that we alone possess all truth and claim on liberty.

The formula of life is simple. It is the formula of giving - giving courage, attention, peace, love and comfort to yourself and the society.

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