Peace is a condition in which all interactions amont humans are nonviolent.
It is frequently argued that peace is not possible because humans are violent. I'd like to bring some context into consideration: Most humans today are violent (in some respects) in the conditions they live in. I believe, however, that for each human, there exist conditions in which they do not use any violence. The peace challenge is to attain such a condition for all people at the same time. This is obviously not trivial, and there is no straightforward proof that such global peace conditions even exist.
However, as it is possible that global peace conditions exist, mankind should continue to try to attain such a condition.
Basis in Theory of Cognition and Information
It is a key human ability to develop mental models not only of the actual state of reality, but also of potential states of reality (known as fantasy, utopia, vision etc.). The discrepancy between an actual state of reality and a desired, mentally modelled potential state results in motivation.
Humans can develop mental models of the mental models of others. (The modelling of one's own mental models would result in a pointless and possibly infinite recursion.) Modelling the models (and thus desires and motivations) of another person amounts to understanding that other person. It is important to notice that understanding someone else does not mean accepting their models: Modelling someone else's model does not amount to adopting their model.
Transparency helps to people to develop adequate models of reality, and specifically of other people.
I conjecture that obtaining a sufficiently adequate model of another person, i.e. understanding them sufficiently well, enables and motivates a human to only interact nonviolently with the other person.
Pacifist Principles and Notes
Pacifism can only work toward achieving peace through informing and convincing others. Applying coercion of any sort would amout to relying on structural violence and thus be inconsistent with pacifist objectives. It follows that pacifism means making and achieving peace with the people who are actually around. Any idea of designating some people to be obstacles to peace and suggesting to get rid of them, or to coercively change them, is not a pacifist idea.
A guiding objective of pacifism is global reduction of violence in the long term. As a result of this principle, pacifism is not always as easy as rejecting violence. It is possible to be in a situation where no non-violent option exists, and it is also possible that some limited violence may prevent some greater or more prolonged violence.
From a pacifist perspective, a conclusive argument that a proposed act of violence reduces violence globally and in the long term is a necessary, albeit not sufficient condition for a moral justification of the proposed act. All major justifications of violence currently fail this criterion. They do not attempt to set out a coherent strategy to reduce and ultimately abolish violence.
A view focusing on the past is complementary to the perspective of minimising future violence: Establishing that violence is acceptable or even required in a certain situation does not constitute an argument for violence as such. Rather, it must be considered how that certain situation arose, and what could have been done to prevent that from happening.
Think Globally, Act Locally
In a densely populated world, extending one's radius of action beyond one's local environment inevitably results in interfering with the self-determination of others. Therefore, each human being has to act within a local radius.
Peace requires understanding others, and that leads to the aspect of "thinking globally".
The aspect of communication is missing from the old adage of "think globally, act locally". More completely, it should perhaps say: "Think globally, inform globally, and act locally based on global information".
Current Problems and Challenges
- too much competition, too little cooperation
- too little education
Humankind is not living in a sustainable way currently. This is a serious problem for promoting peace. Supplies of fossil energy will diminish. Shortages of basic goods are already widespread and they will become much more serious.
Many people do not fully realise the reality that the current way of life is not sustainable. The notion that at least a simple subsistence is possible for everyone and that Nature somehow supplies for the basic needs of all is widely spread, and perhaps even more often built into mental models implicitly and uncritically, even by those who are actively engaged in developing a society that is sustainable, ecological, green etc.
- All ideas that there will always be violence among humans seem to be implicitly based on the assumptions that humans are inescapably egocentric (or perhaps tribocentric, if that word exists).