Peace Requires small steps

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Peace Requires small steps

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Monday, Sept. 20, 2015, was this year’s International Day of Peace, dubbed, as only the social networking age can, as “#PeaceDay”. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) tweeted, “Human rights and dignity must be our starting point, and dialogue must be our most powerful tool.”

The theme of International Peace Day this year was “Partnerships for Peace – Dignity for All”.  Along with the #PeaceDay hashtag was also the #PeaceDayChallenge. Curious as to how there could be any more of a challenge added to creating more peace than all of human kind has created for millions of years, I went to Google to find out more.  The website, peacedaychallenge.org, explains how the initiative is “an opportunity to affirm that peace matters.” At first, I felt only admiration for the commitment and boldness of the statement, followed by a cynical thought crossing out the previous one; “Well, does it?”

Does peace matter today in a world whose darkness we’ve come to terms with?  The hope for world peace has become a cliché we laugh at in cynicism because of its idealistic irony. We all have had someone ask us the question about what we would do with three wishes, and of course you have to reserve one of them to say “world peace”, just to seem like a good person. Other times, we say it’s what we want when we’re too lazy to think of anything more original. Wishing for world peace is nothing but a stale, tired, worn-out placeholder.

Are we past the point of no return? Today, world peace seems like only a vague, ungraspable ideal we hold in our mind’s eye. Everyone has a clear concept of what they imagine it’s like, but no one has truly been able to report back about it with first hand experience. Our ideal state of the world exists as nothing more than a fairytale.

Maybe world peace is too big for us. Maybe only our personal realms can be as fortunate as to capture peace within for a moment, until urgency and conflict overwhelm our thoughts. World peace can’t be possible, when inside my own mind, which is only one in over seven billion others, it is so difficult to tame. But despite this, a sliver of hope remains.

The words “world peace” exist as a loaded phrase. The idea is a huge responsibility to pick up and balance on your shoulders. “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for only a short while before it vanishes,” the Book of James in The Bible reads. So how do we maximize our impact? Beyond our few grains of sand in the hourglass of history, how do we affect everything that comes after us, protecting and promising that things will one day be better?

The sliver of hope I most believe in is that our fleeting individuality in the small amount of time we are given holds the key. We need to seek to humanize each other with raw minds and hearts. As long as we come as we are and do no harm, hopefully that will be a life worth living, and one that can be marked as worthwhile, successful and peaceful.

The uncertainty will always linger. Are we fools wandering around focusing on an unattainable goal? Is accepting the darkness of the world as being beautiful and tragic acceptable, or can we be more, and do more than we ever thought possible?

World peace is something to be achieved, and our cynicism is logical given the circumstances the world faces. However, no harm is done with having good intentions. It’s never too late to acknowledge the small effects we can have on the world and never let go of the hope that future generations will have it a little bit easier than we do.