War is peace. It was one of the slogans of George Orwell’s novel 1984. War is definitely not for peace but is it always the case? Wars can be fought by people who are in search of wealth and they want to exploit resources of other nations who have plenty. The wars waged on the old Indus valley civilization is attributed to this fact. Another reason is of expansionist approach, the will to have a great empire. The imperial endeavor of Roman civilization, Alexander’s wars, Genghis khan’s regime are some of the examples of this approach. Wars are also fought by nations craving to create hegemony of their civilization or political ideology. American war with Soviet block is based on the very belief that the system of capitalism is better than communist ideology. Although there are material benefits for ruling civilizations but on the surface their claim is of a superior set of ideologies.
Wars are also fought by the oppressed class of people against the oppressors. The oppression can be economic or ideological but it is one of the main reasons of many wars. The wars between Catholics and Protestants were fought because the latter were oppressing the middle class of the society. French Revolution was brought forth by the shear despotic rule of Louis XVI and it resulted in subsequent Napoleonic wars. These wars helped the oppressors vent out their loss against the oppressors but these wars bear witness to the fact that wars are also fought by the oppressed against the oppressors.
Can wars bring peace to the society? Wars have certainly benefited humanity through rapid technological advancements but these wars make human divide sturdy thus slowing down the process of global consensus. Global consensus is the goal of humanity on this earth because it is something that extracts all the goodness in human beings and guides them towards the fulfillment of their purpose of life.
Can we move on towards global consensus (thereby making wars obsolete) through our current political systems and separate national identities? No, in my opinion it is very difficult to do so in the present scenario. The boundaries between nations seems to be mocking this concept of global consensus. Wars will thus remain a potential threat unless we move towards greater understanding of our fellow beings and begin to appreciate the goodness in them.
If we suppose that a Utopian nation is founded on the basis of this coherent consensus of people, does it mean that it will not have any friction with other nations? It will have no friction if others have gone through a similar experience. It means if the basis of this global consensus is formed on the common grounds of what every nation believes, it is possible. It is possible then to make the world a true democracy. It is with extreme difficulty, we humans can be able to perform this feat. The challenge is to cope with those whose authority resides in their vested interests of discontent within people and societies. If we create a world where this consensus can become the driving force, those oppressors will eventually come to the right path or they will be left within small confines of their own world and their authority will be stripped down from them.
From these views I have to conclude that peace does not depend on wars rather it is totally dependent on the ‘will to will the common will‘.
P.S: This post was inspired by nmr.
Excerpts from the conclusions of Islam at the Crossroads by Muhammad Asad.
“Islamic culture has had its splendid rise and its blossoming age; it had power to inspire men to deeds and sacrifices, it transformed nations and changed the face of the earth, and later it stood still and became stagnant, and then it became an empty word, and at present we witness its utter debasement and decay. But is this all?” . . . .
“What appears to be the decay of Islam is in reality nothing but the death and emptiness in our hearts, which are too idle and too insensitive to hear the eternal voice.No sign is visible that mankind, in its present stature, has outgrown Islam. It has not been able to produce a better system of ethics than that expressed in Islam; it has not been able to put the idea of human brotherhood on a practical footing, as Islam does in its supra-national concept of the ummah; it has not been able to create a social structure in which the conflicts and frictions between its members are as efficiently reduced to a minimum as in the social plan of Islam; it has not been able to enhance the dignity of man, his feeling of security, his spiritual hope – and last, but surely not least, his happiness.” . . . .
” By far the most important feature of our present-day condition is to be found in the intellectual and social spheres: in the disappearance of our belief and our creativeness and the disruption of our social organism.” . . . .
“Our first step must be the shedding of that spirit of “apology” for Islam, which is only another name for intellectual defeatism: only a masquerade for our own scepticism. And the next stage must be our conscious, deliberate following of the Sunnah of our Prophet. For Sunnah means no more and no less than the teachings of Islam translated into practice. By applying it as an ultimate test to the requirements of our daily life we will easily recognize which impulses from Western civilization might be accepted and which ought to be rejected. Instead of meekly submitting Islam to alien intellectual norms, we must learn – once again – to regard Islam as the norm by which the world is to be judged.” . . . . .
“But only if we regain our lost self-confidence can we expect to go forward once again . Never will the goal be reached if we destroy our own social institutions and imitate a foreign civilization – foreign not only in an historical or a geographical sense but also in the spiritual one. And the way has been pointed out to us in the words of the Holy Our’an:
“Verily, in the Apostle of God you have a good example for everyone who looks forward to God and the Last Day” (surah 33:21)”
Harry Oldmeadow writes an excerpt from the Vishnu Purana in his “Tradition and the false prophets of modernism”
“Riches and piety will diminish daily, until the world will be completely corrupted. In those days it will be wealth that confers distinction, passion will be the sole reason for union between the sexes, lies will be the only method of success in business, and women will be the objects merely of sensual gratification. The earth will be valued only for its mineral treasures, dishonesty will be the universal means of subsistence, a simple ablution will be regarded as sufficient purification…The observances of castes, laws, and institutions will no longer be in force in the Dark Age, and the ceremonies prescribed by the Vedas will be neglected. Women will obey only their whims and will be infatuated with pleasure…men of all kinds will presumptuously regard themselves as equals of Brahmins…The Vaishyas will abandon agriculture and commerce and will earn their living by servitude or by the exercise of mechanical professions…The dominant caste will be that of the Shudras…”
There are hundreds and thousands of campaigns all around the world, working to change the world. To change it for the better. In my opinion, they cannot change the world. They cannot change an inch of the world because all change derives itself from wills of wills. If we change ourselves, we can see the change. It is the essence of ‘Be the change you want to see in this world’.
Communication gaps will evaporate once we synchronize our hearts. Once we change what is within. Quran says:
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
[13:11 Translation from Sahih International]
Is there something missing in those campaigns then? Yes, there is missing realism, honesty, and sincerity. If they were from the core of the heart I don’t think anything can stop them from seeing the change they want to see. It is true to every religious, environmental, economic and social change that the world wants to see. I pray and hope that we focus on the change required in ourselves. In our behaviors, and in our attitudes, somewhere, something is missing. We have to work on that. This universal change comes from within and from within all the fountains of peace, happiness and harmony sprout.
I do not believe that civilizations have to die because civilization is not an organism. It is a product of wills.
Arnold J. Toynbee