FIFTY YEARS AGO Bob Dylan sang: “How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand? Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly before they’re forever banned? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind….”
But an answer in the wind does not satisfy, not when we long for peace. Let’s rephrase the question and ask, “Why does war continue generation after generation?” Abraham Hicks answers, “A war is the by-product of the vibration of the masses.”
So then, the answer in the wind is that we will have peace when enough of us really want it.
As John Lennon said, “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
President Dwight Eisenhower once said, “I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.
So if we will have peace when we really want and demand it, when will that be? Perhaps sooner than we think, because according to Harvard professor and psychologist Steven Pinker, war and violence are declining in the world.
Pinker wrote a book, published in 2011, titled The Better Angels of our Nature, Why Violence has Declined. In it he shows that murder and violence occur much less today than in previous centuries, even though it doesn’t seem like it in the news. For example, tribal warfare centuries ago was nine times greater than war and genocide in the 20th century, and the murder rate of medieval Europe was more than thirty times greater than today. Slavery, sadistic punishments, and frivolous executions were common for millennia, and then were quickly abolished. Violent crimes, deadly riots, child abuse and animal cruelty have all declined substantially.
Pinker attributes these declines to the spread of government, literacy, trade, and cosmopolitanism. I suggest we add technology to the list: Air travel and the internet are profoundly connecting people all over the world. We are learning that despite cultural and religious differences, people really are all the same, and we don’t want to fight people like ourselves.
Moving forward, as we individually shift to a higher consciousness, we shift the world of course, and world peace can be the first great outcome. Consider the following insights:
- “If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.” — Nhat Hanh
- “A world of peace is possible only if we relate to each other as peaceful beings, one individual at a time.” — Deepak Chopra
- “The quest for peace begins in the home, in the school and in the workplace.” — Silvia Cartwright
The answer blowin’ in the wind is that we will see world peace when more individuals practice peace… and we are making progress.