I previously blogged about how stifling it can be, having too many ideas, and how it has led to periods during which I would not post much, if anything. I have entered such a period again. I blame my awesome friends for the amazing, eye-opening conversations we have been having! One recent conversation in particular struck me. We were talking about the prerequisites to peace: should we eliminate religion? Should we condemn materialism/consumerism/Lady Gaga? Do we need to have everyone agreeing on everything to have peace?
At first, we had a very, very long list; someone then suggested that we distil it into its core values, and we were left wondering if perhaps, there are only two things that we all really need to achieve peace, two things that feed into each other and create the environment in which all the other prerequisites we had initially listed would naturally emerge.
The first is the unshakeable conviction that we are all noble human beings. We did not feel that everyone has to believe in God to believe in the nobility of man. Rather, everyone has to believe that man has the capacity to create heaven on earth because of its inherent nobility.
The second is the ability to communicate, to be able to listen to radically different ideas without feeling threatened, to be able to accept that a person we disagree with makes sense within the framework they are operating in. For example, the views of an atheist, a Buddhist and a Bahá’í about life after death are different; do we need to convince each other of who is right? Imagine if instead, we would accept that we are different, and focus on understanding the truth of each person’s opinion within the atheist/Buddhist/Bahá’í framework.
Accepting that everyone is a noble human being leads to the belief that differences between different people do not imply a hierarchy of who is right and who is wrong. Rather, it makes us understand that differences are related to just that: differences. When we realize that we can each have our own opinions, we open ourselves to understanding them, and accepting them, even if we disagree. Through conversations meant to understanding one another, we can then learn to create a world within which people with different ‘life prescriptions’ can live together, without anyone imposing anything on the other.
And then we would start working our way steadily towards world peace.
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