Ending Wars and Fighting

Though a war may seem historically justified, its awful weight cannot be minimized. Few would wish to assume the burden of having started it.

But are there not other forms of fighting, off the battlefield, that we sometimes willingly engage in—until, that is, we realize the wrongness of our actions? Envy, jealousy, unspoken anger, prejudgment, disdain, and fear of those who have different social or cultural practices—these do initiate warlike responses. Even between members of the same family, one individual can build a wall of silence that seems quite passive but initiates a hurt response. Often just not caring enough to know what is important to another person can cause serious misunderstanding. "Why, when such attitudes are described that way, they don't look or sound a bit acceptable," a friend commented.

We do not want wars. We do not want those close to us or even strangers needlessly put in danger. And certainly we do not want such torment for ourselves! We can put an end to personal squabbles and national conflicts. The place where you and I begin is quite easily reached by each one of us, so no one need be left out of the "peace agreements." We begin with what we are conscious of—what we accept as decisive, legitimate, and true in our own thought.

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Seeing Without Glasses
February 5, 1977

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