Homeopathy works on the basis of treating like with like. A little bit of the thing that is ‘not good for you’, can cure you of the bad thing (‘like cures like’).
This approach does not work with hatred or violence. With these, if you have some violence, then you add more violence, you get even more violence. This can be found in all records of human history.
Even thought it doesn’t work, it seems to be the only approach that nearly all leaders of countries use. Meanwhile, many normal people dealing with war and conflict in their daily lives try to find better ways to resolve hatred and violence. There are also international organisations trying to find better, non-violent ways, of resolving conflict, such as the International Crisis Group, or Search for Common Ground.
Another problem with the violence + violence response is that our Western media seem to prioritise the results of violent actions: some events make the headlines, some don’t. Generally the ones that don’t feature are in far-away countries, probably where no Westerners were involved. Even if there are twice as many, three times, four times, as many people killed it doesn’t matter.
Is it really human nature to only be concerned about things that happen in ‘our’ land, to ‘our’ people? I think not. I think many people around the world care deeply for all other humans, and other living beings.
This can be found in the teachings of the Buddha as well as in many other religions, and in the actions of people around the world.
If you’re feeling despondent because of all the violence and suffering in the world, here are some things you could do. They’re all small actions. Multiplied they add up to a better equation: violence + peace actions = change for the better.
- Write to your local, regional or national government/leaders. Explain why you believe violence is the wrong response to violence. In the case of UK and Syria, the Stop the War Coalition has a template letter you can use.
- Join a local, regional, national or international peace group or organisation. If you feel part of a larger group of like-minded people not only does it reduce your feelings of being isolated in your beliefs, but when people work together they can achieve more e.g. the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
- Meditate on compassion, either on your own, using the steps outlined in this WikiHow guide, or from Jack Kornfield, or with free guided meditation tracks e.g. from Mindfulselfcompassion.org.
- Take part in a public demonstration for peace, if you feel comfortable with this.
- Change your bank if you know your bank invests in companies which fund the international arms trade – read the Ethical Consumer article about this.
- Reduce your consumption of the ‘normal’ news outlets and read things like Positive News, or the Daily Good, the Good News Network, or the Daily Alternative News.
- Practise random acts of kindness.
- Read alternative sources of information for more nuanced background on conflicts e.g. the country profiles on the International Crisis Group website, which is available in several languages.
- For other suggestions and links you may like to read articles by the International Peace and Conflict Org, or the Guardian newspaper’s suggestions for young people.
- Look up the work of peace organisations around the world, and the Do One Thing organisation with their calendar of ideas.
- Maybe donate to Global Giving projects, if you can afford it, or other similar groups/projects.
- Start planning for International Day of Peace on Sept 21st.
- Look into non-violent direct action, as practised by Gandhi, amongst others.
Update – if you are looking for alternative news on war on terrorism, you might find these websites useful: