Violence, then, is comprised of layer upon layer of pain, ignorance, self-assurance, and callousness. To overcome violence in the world will require many corresponding layers of understanding and effort. More caring, nourishing ways of education and childrearing are essential elements, but they are not sufficient. Political activism is also essential, but also not enough. Spiritual practice of some sort is crucial— but as I have written before in criticism of “new age” or “new paradigm” holistic thought (Miller, 2000), spirituality detached from cultural analysis and political engagement is not going to effect substantial change. A holistic approach to peace, and to peace education more specifically, must be fluid and multidimensional. Its aim is not “peace” as an abstraction, but a culture of peace, which means a “web of meanings” that honors compassion, collaboration, negotiation, and service and dishonors conquest and violence. If most present cultures make violence, hatred, and oppression seem manly, exciting, and effective, a culture of peace would treat them as stupid and self-defeating. (I want to add “as in reality they are,” but then this
places me outside culture entirely,as some sort of omniscient authority. We must
promote peace itself with humility, or we defeat our own purposes.)
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