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 in western media are in far-away countries, probably with no westerners (or White people) were involved. Even if there are twice as many, three times, four times, as many people killed it doesn’t make the news. The attack in Paris in November 2015 was just one of 100s of terrorist attacks in 2015, as seen in this list.
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.
- 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.
- Meditate on compassion, either on your own, using the steps outlined in this WikiHow guide, or from Jack Kornfield. You can also chant ‘peace’ in any language e.g. ‘Shanti’ in Hindi.
- 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, or the Good News Network instead.
- Avoid ‘doomscrolling’ on social media and rolling 24-hour news programmes.
- 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, and read up on the current list of watch points in 2022.
- Look up the work of peace organisations around the world.
- Maybe donate if you can afford it, to projects such as Medicine Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders), the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) – apparently donating items is more problematic than funding organisations on the ground, which is something I have just learnt about.
- Start planning for International Day of Peace on Sept 21st.
- Look into non-violent direct action, as practised by Gandhi, amongst others.
If you do want more info on wars, there’s lots of facts and figures in the following links:
- Iraq Body Count – very depressing, recording deaths since US/UK invasion of 2003
- List of current wars in the world, and a more detailed version on Wikipedia
(Dove Image CC-0 from Pixabay)
NB Links updated March 2022