Friday, July 31, 2009

Will War Ever End?: A Soldier's Vision of Peace for the 21st Century

What does an active duty soldier have to say about war?
Quite a lot, actually. In an era where the greatest fans of war are those who dodged it whenever possible, this book is a quick and necessary read.

About the book itself, let me simply quote from the publisher; I'll then add my own remarks.
"Once in a great while, a book is written that substantially changes the way people think about a particular subject. Will War Ever End? is such a book. Written as a "manifesto for waging peace" by an active duty captain in the U.S. Army, Will War Ever End? challenges readers to think about peace, war and violence in radically new ways.

"Are human beings naturally violent?"

"What is hatred?"

"How can love overcome the power of hatred?"

"How does nonviolence overcome the power of violence?"

"How can we prove that unconditional love makes us psychologically healthy and that hatred, just like an illness, occurs when something has gone wrong?"

"How does violence against the natural world relate to violence between human beings?"

These are all questions that Captain Paul K. Chappell leads us to consider in a strikingly new way. In Will War Ever End?, Chappell demonstrates that human beings are naturally peaceful and that world peace can become more than a cliché. He lays out a practical framework for transforming the way we think about war and violence, enabling us to begin the real work we must do in order to achieve true peace for mankind.

Will War Ever End? is a deeply personal story of a soldier's search for human understanding that will lead to universal transformation. Its message is one of hope, offering practical solutions to help us build a better world.

We can all make change.

Now is the time to begin."
I read this book after hearing the Captain on the radio. He seemed to make a lot of sense, and to have the chops to back up his claim.

Many people dispair of an end to war. This dispair is cripples our ability to think rationally on the subject. Perhaps we can overcome this dispair by comparing war to a similar phenomenon that Chappell points to in his book: slavery.

For most of human history, slavery was considered normal and even beneficial to all involved. However, withint a relatively short span of time (one or two centuries) slavery was relegated to the criminal margins. It is far from completely eradicated but we have universal conscensus that it is wrong and no civilized nation allows it.

Likewise, war. Throughout much of my culture's history is has been simply part of the background, and widely praised for bringing out virtue, or some darn thing. We are rapidly coming to the conclusion that this is an error.

The problem remains that we want instant success. When we don't get it, we are tempted to give up. Those persons still sickened by the mind virus of warmongering mock those who think the sickness can be cured.

That's o.k. Nothing good comes easy. If ending war was easy, it'd be done already.

For some of us, that is all the more reason to take on the challenge!

Read the book. Then join the community. You'll like it!

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