What is Peace?
Peace is a relative term for sociologists. It can mean different things to various peoples with distinct cultures. People agree little on what is peace. Perhaps the most popular (Western) view of peace is an absence of dissension, violence, or war, a meaning found in the New Testament and possibly an original meaning of the Greek word for peace, Irene.
Peace as absence of conflict is widely adopted by people called “pacifists” who assume that all violence is bad. This meaning is widely accepted among students of international relations. It is also the primary dictionary definition.
In oriental or Asian cultures, peace is generally seen as a harmony and tranquility. It is viewed as peace of mind or serenity. It is defined as a state of law or civil government, a state of justice or goodness, and a balance powers. The oriental or Eastern concept of peace is deeper than the Western notion. Peace is beyond absence of war but harmony and good will with neighbors who are perceived as true friends.
The Western and Eastern Concepts of Peace
When the US President Donald Trump met the North Korean President Kim Jung Un, the concept of peace became hybrid: The Western concept of peace as absence of conflict merged with its Eastern view as harmony and tranquility. Although the agreement that Trump and Kim signed in Singapore was just a framework, hopes are high that in the days to come the denuclearization of North Korea would take place and sanctions by the United States would be lifted. Thousands or probably millions of North Koreans would probably then experience a relief from poverty and global pressure, as well experience economic development in the the coming years with the lifting of the sanctions.
Other nations such as Japan, South Korea, and neighboring ASEAN countries and whole world would also benefit from this peace agreement between the United States and North Korea.
The Other Name of Peace is Development
From a Christian and Catholic perspective, peace in today’s global era is not just an absence of conflict between nations but also economic development. Nations must not only avoid conflict and war, but also help one another in the spirit of charity to achieve economic development and global solidarity. The late Pope Paul VI wrote a beautiful social encyclical on peace and development. The title of the document “Pacem in Terris” which means “peace on earth” provides the basic Christian principles on attaining global and societal peace:
With the summit of Trump and Kim Jung Un, it is hoped that the world is closer to the lasting peace and global stability. Citizens and Christian around the globe hope and pray that this summit would become a stepping stone for global peace and development!
Thank for reading this post. Follow this blog via email for more updates.
Rummel, R.J. (n.d.). “What is Peace”. In Chapter 2, Understanding Conflict and War: Vol. 5: The Just War. Retrieved from https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/TJP.CHAP2.HTM.