Is world peace achievable in this day and age?

Man has been around for about 4-5 million years. As far as we can tell, we have always been violent and agressive. Five million years ago we had to be in order to survive. We were competing with other species for vital resources. That characteristic still survives today after nearly 5 million years. We still compete for resources.

Moving on up through the centuries, we continued our violent ways. Resources have changed, but the competition still continues. We competed for more food, women, religion...the list goes on and on. Man has one inborn instinct - jealousy. We all covet what our neighbor has and try to pursue his or her possesions. If we look back to the ancient texts, one of the ten commandments is "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods". Even if you are not a believer in God or religion, this quotation still shows that even in Bible times, man realized his problem with jealousy. If we look at the great dynasties of the modern era, they were all competing for goods, women and power over other humans. Many wars were fought over resourses, whether it be land, women, slaves, religion, or any other commodity.

The Greeks were the first to try to change this concept. They came up with a new idea called "democracy." The idea was a good one. Everybody has a say in how the resources are given out. The idea was good but had a few flaws. True democracy - 1 person, 1 vote - was changed to dis-allow votes from some of the people. Next came the Roman version, a "republic", where citizens elected representatives to distribute the resources. [in]This quickly became corrupt and gave rise to the Roman dictators, who ruled the world for about 600 years. Kings and Nobility ruled the world until England changed the rules for a limited monarchy with the "Magna Carta." Then we, in the United States, came up with the modern version of democracy. This version spread in various forms throughout the world. In the mid-1800's, a little known economist named Karl Marx wrote a book on another theory called "socialism." This idea took hold in various countries around the world and it was molded and changed and became known as "communism." In this version, the state controls all goods and these are equally given to all citizens. Again, jealousy and competition reared their ugly heads and this concept failed. There are still limited versions of socialism throughout the world. In fact, there are variations of all these concepts still practiced in the world. Wars have been fought over these economic systems, as well over religion, for thousands upon millions of years.

Now let's get back to the original question, "Can we have world peace?"

I think the answer to that question is "YES."

So far I have pointed out all the evidence against world peace. Now I'd like to point out why, and more importantly how, this could be accomplished. If we look at the things happening in the world today, you would say I was crazy. We have war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, Haiti, and many more places - too many to mention. Again, we have many people killing others for the control of resources.
I see these as very positive signs that world peace could work.
But we must also consider the good things that are happening. Many nations are getting help from other nations when they need it. An example was the recent earthquake in Iran. We are enemies with this country for a variety of reasons, yet we still offered help to them. On September 11, 2001, our country had the worst terrorist attack in the history of the world, but yet, many nations, including enemies, came through with support. These are just a few of examples of very public support among people of different beliefs and philosophies. There are many more examples that we know nothing about.

I see these as very positive signs that world peace could work. It all comes down to looking, not at nations, but at the world as a whole. We must be tolerant of differing cultures, religions, races, and ethnic origins. I am not saying that this is an easy concept to put in to practice. Even in our daily lives, we judge people by how they look, speak and pray. In order to achieve world peace, these judgments would have to go away. We would have to allocate resources so that everybody gets their fair share. We would need the United Nations to become a true world governing body. Nations would have to give up their weapons, including nuclear. No one country or religion or race could dominate another. We would have to change 5 million years of history to accomplish world peace. And, yes, we have taken baby steps toward this goal.

I do not believe that people will change 5 million years of history overnight. World peace is a long way off, but we can begin now, if, instead of looking at people as Muslim or Jewish or Christian, or black or Indian, we looked at them with a different set of eyes. In this way, we can begin the world peace process. If we do not try to take advantage of another human being, we only take another step in this long journey. Maybe John Lennon had it right is his song "Imagine." Only time will tell.

Note: This article was first published in 2004.