Terry D. Sutherland
What, exactly, is the peace process we human beings are constantly trying to exact? What is peace? Is it freedom from civil disturbance on large scale? Is peace the result of successful conflict resolution? If it is true, that peace is simply conflict resolution; it implies that there will always be conflict within the species of Homo sapiens. It implies that the meaning of peace is dynamic, open to interpretation as the situation demands. It implies that peace is itinerant never finding a permanent situation in which to reside. It implies that peace is a new concept (born with the earth’s newcomer Homo sapiens) and never perused before with any other animal or species.
We know, primarily, through the fossil record that Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthatlensis co existed on earth for a fairly short period of time. DNA evidence strongly suggests that Homo sapiens originated in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Neanderthals were found in Europe. Neanderthals differ in a number of ways from humans. Neanderthals had larger brains and a robust frame and muscular structure. Mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthals is different from humans. While genetics does not rule out human contributions to the Neanderthal gene pool there are other factors that more likely contributed to human and Neanderthal similarities. Humans and Neanderthal were two different species.
In the course of earth’s history species of plant and animal are born and die with great frequency. The Homo erectus, Neanderthal species, for whatever reason, did not survive. Homo sapiens are the successful species – so far. Brain size and intelligence don’t seem to be the single influences for survival of a species. The ability to adapt to a dynamic physical environment seems a more feasible influence. The human idea that Homo erectus/Neanderthal is a sub-human species and therefore the reason it did not survive is a reflection human vanity, and possibly fear (a trait that may or may not contribute to man’s continuing existence), and reflects reasons for man’s behavior.
Diversity through different events, including demographics, the separation of the human species into different races as well as other physical and metaphysical elements has given human beings the notion that one group can be superior to another. The misguided notion that survival of one race is dependent on the destruction of another seems to be a state of existence that human beings cannot modify. When human beings say that they seek peace; what they mean is that they want to live independently of other human influences different than their own. Man is territorial and is willing to destroy his own species to minimize diversity. He wants to be surrounded only by those he perceives to be just like him. He wants to own the ground on which he stands and is willing to send his youth to die for it. Even man’s laws, Natural Law, is based on the premise that – ‘Because it always was that way; it should always be that way’.
Again, what is peace? It is a term with emotive meaning, existential meaning, and a way to change those things diverse to a more humanly comfortable existence. It has nothing to do with living in harmony and co-existence.
We need to look clearly at the meaning of peace and find a means to co-exist.
©Copyright April 30, 2008 by Terry D. Sutherland
This article inspired the poetic response, “Shalom, Peace” ~ ©Copyright April 30, 2008 by Melanie C. Campos ~ MahTame