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Nations that romanticize war will never find peace

By David Scott Clegg | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-04-27 09:50
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People walk near a damaged building in the port city of Mariupol, April 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Perhaps this notion of a wayward devotion borne of inner conflict unresolved within man and nation has never rung so true as in times as these, where once again we have been made witness to the destructive tendency of humanity when the love of power overshadows the power of love.

The Ukraine situation, that leading to it, the attraction for devastation that renders us captive to such cycles — such predictable patterns of behavior — being just the latest. It is not the first nor sadly the last; it's merely the most recent manifestation of the lower will of mankind over the greater will of all kind.

What draws humanity toward such calamity upon the road to modernity? And by modernity I speak of raising consciousness above our seeming tendency to cycle back upon lessons taught, less so learned. For it appears we are entrapped at times within the limitations of a mind that would best serve as a liberator.

That is, if it were aligned with the wisdom of the heart, one earned through trials, tribulations, sacrifices littered throughout human history like ashes upon an earth scorched and scorned, ashes human by actions less than.

We speak of peace, of lasting peace. Yet what should be intuitive to all these days, if not those before, is the seeming absolute, borne-of-choice resolution through outward expression of our aggression: Nations in romance with war will never find peace.

For as with love, peace is derived from within, summoned from an inner knowing of a greater yearning — a yearning for the sound of silence vibrating through the absence of noise that serves as disorder to the order of things, a rhetoric replaced by simply being more than words made empty by actions that speak loudly albeit unwisely.

For what wisdom may mankind find in taking the power of creation granted and using it as a means destructive? There can be no wisdom found in war.

With history our teacher, we see the altering of everything of meaning in this material world by the sheer will of one or a few to force themselves upon another, an unwilling bedfellow for those self-righteous in their pursuits.

We can speak to the many actors and their actions. Rather, I would search for inspiration from countries, peoples with millennia of history, storied more in acts of non-hostility.

I speak of countries such as China, those defined more through an inherent propensity for peace than in the disinheritance of soul through something less than peaceful. Absent much their history is the nature of aggression that constricts.

We are being tested as humanity in this moment, our time together. Ukraine is just the current stage, with actors too common, their roles too familiar. If this reference appears vague, it is by design.

Too many for too long have played the benevolent, professing to be a character of goodness when actions speak both louder and in counter. They spin tales with words that matter but it's actions that matter more. They serve as mere pretender of the very peace claimed as a purveyor.

In the world, we find nations seeded in the forms of aggression, throughout society, violent their tendency, with decorum no longer given due forum. It is dangerous for all when one has grown accustomed to such, appearing at times to revel in it as some wayward show of strength, of bravado.

Juxtapose this with a nation 5,000 years in the making, one that has managed a greater wisdom through experience in choosing more often peace over demonstrations of force. Understanding peace may only be achieved when one comes to terms with what peace really is: the cessation of againstness.

It is elusive until we may allude to matters above those of merely the material mind, into the immaterial truth, directly so and with a level of impeccability, ruthlessness worthy only in such higher pursuit.

Those seeking peace are warriors less so of the battlefield than of a higher playing field, one "out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and right-doing", as a revered master of Persian poetic voice once purposed. They hear the echoed voice of collective wisdom espoused by masters prior, those of cultures, peoples, lands familiar and less so. They all are speaking one central truth: When love leads the way, the steps will be made easy. Harder is the journey when we choose otherwise something less than wise.

Nations in romance with war will never find peace. This is true. But those in romance with what may be through that which is loving in all its varied expression, they will know someday of a greater truth, a greater peace still: one awaiting the awakening to a new and better way, in fulfillment of a promise made, a yearning for meaning. It is a knowing … of the one thing we came here to know.

David Scott Clegg. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The author is the founder and managing director of The Transcendent Group Ltd and former managing director of The HEAD Foundation.

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