Saturday, July 22, 2006

Posted by Picasa
From The Evolution of Brutality and the Skills of Peace at Captain Future's Dreaming Up Daily:

During the brutality of the Vietnam war, an immense dialogue took place on the meaning of war as well as that particular war. It found in history a long list of voices crying out against the futility of war, the needless brutality and its ineffectiveness in solving problems. It demanded that war be evaluated not just with numbers and geopolitical theories, but by suffering, especially of the innocent, and the brutalizing effect on those who inflicted this suffering as well as its victims. As the soldiers in World War I learned, they are often the same people.

This dialogue was central but also other dialogues were part of it. The Civil Rights movement sensitized us to the racial and ethnic component of the us/them equation, to the fear of difference, of the alien. Prejudices of the past were recalled, and the images of those Other racial groups that by then were obviously false. The examination of socially supported gender roles and their implication in violence and oppression began even before the feminist movement, and men reevaluated what it meant to be a man. Many started on a journey then to revive and refine techniques for solving problems without violence, and to develop new ones.

Today there are thousands of Americans involved in developing, learning and using what I call the Skills of Peace. I divide these interrelated skills into outer (learning about cultures and histories), inner (learning about ourselves, our responses and motivations, as well as cultivating attitudes and learning skills to clarify our relationship to the world) and interface (methods of communication, negotiation; skills of mediation and conflict management and resolution.)

Read more at Dreaming Up Daily. And check out The Skills of Peace at the SF Chronicle. Some useful links are here as well.