27 April 2007

Navigating towards peace

Here is a response to Rhonda Hull's post on Visualize Possibilities entitled Semantics? in which she poses the question "Are we against war, or for peace?"

Learning to discern the difference between navigating away from versus navigating towards is an important lesson.

When anywhere is better than here you can simply wander in any direction and achieve the result of not being where you were. If all we focus on is getting out of the war in Iraq, then there is no difference between ending up in a realm of peace and a realm of violence in other places or in other forms because they are both equally "out of the war in Iraq."

On the other hand if we can be more specific about wanting to navigate into a situation where everyone is enthusiaticly engaged in mutually supporting each other to live in a web of relationships where conflicts are simply opportunities for greater insight into achieving deeper levels of compassion and a challenge to broaden our ability to create pratical solutions that align an ever increasing diversity of interests. Navigating towards this kind of outcome gives us more information for discerning whether we are successfully moving away from the path violence and towards the path of peace.

There are three ways to navigate; wander, choose a direction, or choose your destination. It does not serve the cause of peace to wander out of the war in Iraq, we need to, at the very least, discern the difference between the direction of violence and the direction of peacefulness.


nBoN said...

You say, "There are three ways to navigate; wander, choose a direction, or choose your destination." You forgot the fourth way: stand still. Not acting at all, whether it is simply a failure to act, a failure or indecision to choose other action, or an active choice to do nothing, is unfortunately often overlooked. People are not always motivated to navigate in any direction, but inaction can have consequences as significant as action, perhaps even more significant in some cases.


Don Berg said...


I appreciate that standing still is a choice that is generally available, but it is not a method of navigating. Navigating inherently implies movement and even if you stop a journey to get your bearings, you are still "moving" in the sense of being actively engaged in a process that inevitably leads to the continuation of movement. My entire argument is based on the assumption that here is not acceptable.

In the case of Rhonda's post, I believe her question assumed that we live in the context of an unacceptable situation of violence in the form of war. Based on the way she presented her thoughts I took it as imperative that we choose what reference point to face, but that we have to either back away from war or move towards peace; where in both cases there is an assumed desire to move.

Rather than assume war and peace are poles on opposite ends of a linear scale I was trying to introduce the idea that war and peace are reference points in a more complex space. My point was that if we are not careful about how we choose to navigate, we may inadvertently end up in a different place that has equally unacceptable levels of violence though in different forms than the violence of war.

Thank you for goading me into examining my metaphor in detail, it has been very enlightening.