“Peace is the only battle worth waging.” ~ Albert Camus
There is so much going on the world right now to cause fear, worry, concern, alarm, sadness and suffering. This is not new, of course. It’s also always true that a serious confrontation with the demons within can, slowly and surely, transform the world.
I truly believe that we, as people, groups, nations, the world-galaxy-universe—all of it— are always evolving.
We don’t need to think about things in terms of progress or achievement, as we may have been conditioned to do: imagine, rather, a situation where we are following a beautiful, if obscured trajectory, as though mirroring a great, awe-inspiring goddess who lights the way even as she shrouds herself in mystery.
It is so difficult to remember we are on the march of consciousness-evolution when we look around us and see so much hurt and suffering. Nor should a “things are as they should be” mentality be misconstrued: The key to life, to everything, is finding that delicate balance between believing we are working in accordance with laws of nature or necessity, and resisting the impulse to be lax about taking (compassionate action) to better our collective situation.
Sometimes, we can look back in order to look ahead. I hope that these quotes, by those who have firsthand experience with war and suffering, may be of inspiration during these times.
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” – Nelson Mandela
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” ~ William Wilberforce
“We can not fight for our rights and our history as well as future until we are armed with weapons of criticism and dedicated consciousness.” ~ Edward S. Said
“Humanism is the only—I would go so far as saying the final—resistance we have against the inhuman practices and injustices that disfigure human history.” ~ Edward W. Said
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~ Albert Einstein
“It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore.” ~ Golda Meir
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
“I am become death, The Shatterer of Worlds.” ~ J. Robert Oppenheimer, citing the Bhagavad Gita as the first test atomic device went off.
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity.” ~ H.H. Dalai Lama
“A quiet conscience makes one strong!”~ Anne Frank
“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.” ~ Pema Chödrön
And this, on the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima:
“As the Director of the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos, I participated at the most senior level in the World War II Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic weapons.
Now, at age 88, I am one of the few remaining such senior persons alive. Looking back at the half century since that time, I feel the most intense relief that these weapons have not been used since World War II, mixed with the horror that tens of thousands of such weapons have been built since that time—one hundred times more than any of us at Los Alamos could ever have imagined.
Today we are rightly in an era of disarmament and dismantlement of nuclear weapons. But in some countries nuclear weapons development still continues. Whether and when the various Nations of the World can agree to stop this is uncertain. But individual scientists can still influence this process by withholding their skills.
Accordingly, I call on all scientists in all countries to cease and desist from work creating, developing, improving and manufacturing further nuclear weapons – and, for that matter, other weapons of potential mass destruction such as chemical and biological weapons.
~ Hans Albrecht Bethe
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: courtesy of Tammy Stone