The word Peace in itself holds no meaning. It is not the opposite of violence. A hungry man’s idea of peace is a full stomach. A nation at war may claim the non-existence of violence as peace, even though it may come at the price of hunger. Similarly, a man may seek peace from the stress and tension of the everyday life. A priest may seek peace in communion with God, perhaps even death, the ultimate representation of God’s embrace.
Many would suggest that peace is the antithesis of violence and war (“What Is Peace?”, 2017). But is it logical to view the different instances of peace, in different societies, with the same glasses? Can we dare suggest that the peace that exists in a ‘Just’ and tolerant society is comparable to that of an unjust and fundamentalist society that keep its citizens in line through fear? If that is the case, then we should accept the conflict free regimes of dictators and tyrants as peaceful (Rummel,1975, 35). One may derive from the above argument that peace is not a static phase that either exists or not. It is a dynamic feature of society that has less to do with violence and more to do with human interactions and mindset (Rummel,1975, 36). There exists a relationship between peace and conflict, such that the conditions necessary for peace and any changes in such conditions make conflict more likely or less likely. We need to consider the idea that peace does not exist in a vacuum.We might be better off treating peace as a social contract, such that we as the members of society achieve peace through negotiations, adjustments, resolutions and decisions. Such a scenario makes peace an active, dynamic part of society and not a passive tenet (Rummel,1975, 102). It is through our cooperative existence and interaction that we bring about the social contract that is necessary for peace. Peace also holds a pivotal relation with power. It is only through a balance of power that we can bring about the genuine and worthwhile instance of peace (Rummel,1975, 102).
Peace can both be external and internal from the point of view of an individual (Rummel,1975, 40). As a social construct, peace is limited to the external sphere where the interactions and actions of other members of society plays a role in bringing about peaceful environment. But if we were to consider human nature we would find the flaw in such an arrangement (“What Is Peace?”, 2017). If a person is not at peace with himself and his role in society, it will only lead to dissatisfaction and resentment and it won’t be long before the same chaos leaks to the external world. Perhaps we may call the internal peace a ‘spiritual peace’. If the expectations and desire of an individual are not congruent with the social reality there can be no peace.
The social reality that is evidenced in the world in the forms of social contracts, political entities, national and international interactions, are just the manifestation of the expectations, values and meaning inherent in the minds of the people that are party to the social contract i.e. Peace.