Price of Peace

People always talk about peace and attaining peace and spreading peace; but none of this can be done if you are not a peaceful individual. If you are not a peaceful person, you are not fit to lead any campaign for the progression of peace. If you are not a peaceful nation, you cannot lead the world in a campaign for the progression of peace. If you are, in fact, a peaceful person, and you want to make a change that will bring forth peace in any environment, you have to be peaceful yourself first. Then you have to surround yourself with other like-minded peaceful people who can be led towards that one common goal.

Scenario:
There is an island of lawless rebels where only the strong survive. If you are not one of the strong, you have to align yourself with a strong group to ensure survival in exchange for all of your rights as an individual. Just imagine a prison environment on an island.

What would happen if we drop five peaceful people in the middle of that? How long would it take for them to conform to the dog-eat-dog nature? Or how long would it take for them to be… exterminated?

Now if we flip the demographics of this theoretical island and the peaceful are the majority with five violent people… What happens next? Will the peaceful people “get rid of” the violent ones to preserve their ways of life? If they do, are they still peaceful? Or will the violent people have to cause a considerable amount of damage before anything is done at all? The only thing that I’m sure of, is that those five will definitely cause some damage.

Peaceful people will do whatever they have to do to avoid confrontation. That’s what make them peaceful. Often these acts of consideration are mistaken for weaknesses and fearfulness, when in fact, they are direct opposite. It takes a special type of strength to avoid retaliation to direct wrongdoings.

The term dog-eat-dog world has at no time been something that I agree with simply because not everyone is a dog. I’m not a dog and I never intend to be one. I don’t want to kill, simply to not be killed. So what do I do? Do peaceful people adapt to the degree of ferocity around them to survive? To excel? To be noticed?

These are not rhetorical questions. I would honestly like to see what other peoples’ opinions are when it comes to this.

Dr. King led an entire nation to change with nonviolent protesting. Now while this may look like a weak approach to solving such a violent and hateful era that our country was in, I believe it is the only thing that would have worked. It took years of persistence though. It took sleepless nights. It took a vision of a better future for his people and this country. Unfortunately, in the end his life was still the price that had to be paid before change was made. It goes back to my idea that it takes a love that is bigger than the scope of your own life. Many people see the problems, but not many have the compassion and love that it takes to give their all to bring about the necessary change.

Jesus Christ gave his life for the sins of all mankind knowing that not everyone would accept his message; nevertheless he suffered the crucifixion for those who would accept him, even if it was just one. Never did he teach hate. Never did he condone it from anyone else. But yet and still he was executed in the worst and most shameful way, never laying a finger on anyone for their harm.

Hate and violence seems to always overcome those who are against it. The individual becomes a martyr for that belief, but to those who will witness the price that is paid, they are only examples of what not to do. The love of the cause, or humanity, or simply your neighbor has to be greater than the fear of death to begin a peaceful and selfless world.

With that being said, I also understand why some people say, “How can I change anything? I’, just one person.” I get it. It seems to be a task way too large to even make a dent. The way I see it though, is that the only reason the world is still turning is because there is always a man or woman willing to voluntarily pay the ultimate price for the greater good. If it were not for that handful of martyrs, where would we be today? That gives me hope. If we can just get more people to give a little more and want a little less, the price will be less expensive for an individual.

Is it unattainable? Hopefully, at my life’s end I’ll be able to answer more positively than I feel within my heart right now. I can hope though. We are all capable of sharing perspectives, giving in compassion and changing through love. That’s what gives me hope for the world.

The Perspective Park Creed

Sometimes when I look at humanity on a global scale, the problems that we face seem to be insurmountable.

I stand by that opinion with the notion that the reason I may feel this way is simply because I am American. This is the only land that I know, and I am proud to call this my home. However, I cannot help but notice the societal issues that should have been resolved long ago; especially by a country that is widely considered to be the most affluent on the planet.There are millions of people living below the poverty line here, but at the same time we have millionaires by the thousands. We enjoy the luxuries of buffets and running water while people starve, and children go to school everyday just to eat lunch. People drive huge SUVs and live in five and six bedroom (and more) houses, while orphanages are packed to capacity. Now I’m not saying that it is the sole responsibility of the wealthy to fix these issues, but I believe that there should be a personal sense of accountability to do so by every individual. I believe the insurmountable task is actually solving global-scale issues before solving the ones in the nation, and the individuals in that nation.

In the America we live in, everything is about securing as much as possible for yourself. We work hard and save every dime to retire to the beaches of the Key West. That’s basically the summarized version of what we call success. It rarely includes anyone besides those who are directly related to us. I know that this does not apply to every single person, but I am not afraid to say that it can easily be the mindset of 70% of the population.

Government officials do the best they can do by attempting to regulate taxes fairly among the rich and the poor, but then they turn around to steal the very same money. Large corporations do the best they can to create more jobs, but then they turn around and outsource those jobs overseas to maximize profit. The banking industry does the best it can to assist hardworking citizens in securing financial stability for their future, but then it turns around and lose the money in Ponzi schemes. So after all of this, the working man finally gets his hands on a few hard-earned dollars. It is hard to share after all you have witnessed is lying and stealing. The culture breeds attitudes that express statements like, “dog-eat-dog world” or “get yours like I got mine”.

Some people are homeless because they made bad decisions; I get that. However, there are countless homeless people that bad situations just happened to fall on. How often have you tried to differentiate between the two? Or do you treat them all the same? If homelessness is not your soft spot, then maybe you can tell me how many children deserve to be orphaned. It’s a really unfortunate dilemma and the solution that I have for it is so cliché that I don’t think people even consider it anymore. I think that’s because the word is rarely defined in the context where you have to place yourself in the position to do it.

We all need to love more.

Vague, right? Well, I can explain.

I have always looked for opportunities to help those in need and look forward to doing it more and on larger scales in the future. Whether it be adopting a child or simply feeding a man tomorrow at lunch, it will take love to do it the right way. Since becoming more involved in catering to these needs, I have developed a formula which makes it easy for me to love just about anyone. I’m not perfect and I’m no genius, so this formula may not work for everyone in every situation like it does for me, but it may help you understand my point a bit better.

In order to love, one must first have perspective. Perspective is defined as the ability to view things in their true relations or relative importance. If we could all look at a person and his or her life situations, considering the outcome of that life without positive intervention, maybe we would then realize the things we strive for everyday may not be as significant as we think they are. As a person of Christian faith, what is really important is a person’s life and soul. So if you have those two bases covered, you should be able to share – at least a little of – everything else.

The second thing that you need is compassion, which is defined as a sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it. Once we get past the views of “Me, my four and no more”, we can develop a sense of urgency towards those outside of our circles. You will feel a need to help those just like you help those within your circles. At this point, compassion has grasped you, and you will do whatever you can to help whoever needs it. Now once you actually act on compassion and make a conscious decision to help someone in need, you have just committed an act of love.

The world cannot and will not fix itself. America cannot and will not fix itself. We as individuals must take it upon ourselves to change our views towards humanity and change it all one perspective at a time. Everyone can’t give a million dollars to charity, and some of us can’t bear the Christmas season at an orphanage or a children’s hospital, but all of us can do something.

Perspective + Compassion = Love

-Reginald.