Creating a Peaceful World: Is It Possible?

Creating a Peaceful World: Is It Possible?

Mualla Bilgin Aksu (Akdeniz Üniversitesi, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2827-3.ch001

Abstract

Although peace is one of the foundations of prosperity, even in the 21st century, people in some countries still have to live in conflict. Is it possible to live individually in peace in such a world? This chapter focuses on drawing attention to the vital importance of living peacefully in the world and to discuss on the desire for peace. Firstly, the meaning of peace is reviewed in this chapter. Then, the difference between positive and negative peace is expressed, and the importance of having positive peace is emphasized. Secondly, the need of a peaceful life is discussed. Afterwards, the difference between “peace education” and “education for peace” is examined and integration of these two types of education is suggested. In the context of building a culture of peace, potential contributions of peace museums for world peace are mentioned, and peace-related metaphors of pre-service teachers are also specified. Finally, the author asserts that there is still hope for a peaceful world although there are no indications yet.
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Life-draining

I want to live

You want to live

S/he wants to live

You will say there is no poetry like that; I know.

But is there a world like that?

Is there any peace like that?

Is there any freedom like that?

Is there any fraternity like that?

I know that you will tell me to put up with it;

But is it possible to live like this!

Written by Metin Eloğlu

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Introduction

What comes to mind when the word “peace” is heard? As each individual defines peace according to his/her own perception, there are many definitions of peace. Although the definitions are different, the basic characteristics that describe peace are similar. As the beginning, the definitions quoted from two different dictionaries are given below. Peace is defined in the Webster’s New World Dictionary (Neufeldt & Sparks, 1990) as “freedom from war, an agreement to end war, law and order, harmony, concord, serenity, calm or quiet”(p.432). According to the Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Education and Psychology (Bakırcıoğlu, 2012), the peace is “the reconciliation between individuals of a community or a family or between opposing parties, and the situation of adaptation” (p.78). Studnicka (2017) defines peace as an ever evolving and enigmatic concept.

Since peace is one of the foundations of wellbeing, people cannot be in balance without it. This thought come to mind the question of where peace starts. The answer may be that peace begins with the individual’s himself/herself. When people have peace within themselves, they can carry peace anywhere and to any relationship they have. Peace does not depend on other people or something else although others can contribute to it or can take it away (Martinez, 2016). According to the Position Paper 3.4 (National Focus Group on Education for Peace, 2006), peace starts with the person and spreads to the family, to the community, to the nation, and finally to the world called global village. Therefore, encouraging a culture of peace includes a two-pronged strategy. The first prong is that a society’s members need to be oriented toward peace instead of violence. The second is that social, economic, and political systems have to be reoriented to peace, and the discipline of peace must shape the way of people's lives. Because the effectiveness of these two strategies depends on education, education needs to go beyond the storage of information, and to provide awareness through education for peace.

It is known that only a person that is at peace with oneself can be at peace with the others. To do this, the person must accept himself/herself with strengths and weaknesses. Only then, s/he learns to accept the others with their defects and virtues. Accepting that no one is perfect is an important step for peace. When people cannot tolerate each other, peace breaks down even among the family members. Therefore, peace also needs respect for others, unconditional acceptance, two-way communication, and positive interpersonal relations. Interviewing with the primary level students on their drawings, Yılmaz (2018) identified the peace under four main themes: (1) universal / inter-communal peace, (2) inter-group / social peace, (3) inter-personal peace, and (4) individual peace. The participating students are found to perceive the concept of peace mostly in a personal-individual sense and the concept of violence directly as socio-cultural violence. In this context, peace education is suggested for contribution to the education of individuals who prefer dialogue in problem solving, develop empathy skills, and refuse all forms of violence.

Love can be considered as a prerequisite for living in peace. Aydın (2009) defines the term of love as the source of individual's power to understand his own value, abilities, limitations, and self-development. According to Aydın (2009), the loving people make their own existence meaningful, are free from inner conflicts, and smile to life. Right here, Freud's concepts of death and life instinct come to mind. In his theory, human urges are explained as a tussle between life instinct (Eros) and death instinct (Thanatos). Life instinct signifies all the life affirming qualities like love, imagination, pride, and progeneration while death instinct refers to the life denying negative impulses of violence, brutality, annihilation and death. Freud thought that these impulses merge and clash inside the individual. Whereas, according to Erich Fromm (2012), there are inconsistencies in these two hypotheses.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Education for Peace: Creating a civilization of peace through helping persons, families, schools, other groups in order to prevent conflict and to apply the principles of equality, justice, and unity-in-diversity.

Peaceful World: An earth having the situation of happiness, freedom and peace of all of the people and nations.

Negative Peace: Situation with absence of any kinds of violence after getting rid of undesirable happening such as war through ceasefire or peace agreement.

Peace Education: A process of gaining knowledge and values, and developing skills, attitudes and behaviors in order to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural setting.

Peace Metaphor: A connotation statement which is produced based on similarities of peace and different objects.

Positive Peace: Situation with the positive relationships, social justice, constructive conflict resolution, and absence of violence.

Peace Museum: A place that makes visitors feel the value of peace, and giving them strengths to the struggle for the establishment of a peaceful world.

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