The idea of World Peace sounds beautiful and isn’t it the dream of most people on our planet? I remember watching beauty pageants in the 1970s and the contestants almost always ended their interviews with a goal of “World Peace”. Unfortunately, did anyone take them seriously? Did they even think it was possible? Or, was it simply “lip service” because it’s a nice idea but nobody really believes it is possible?
I believe World Peace IS possible and I believe it can happen within two generations.
The reality is, humans have simply not been capable of World Peace because it was not until quite recently, in mankind’s 200,000-year history, that our basic needs for existence have been met consistently. Even as few as 150 years ago humans could not reliably source or preserve food.
Simply surviving a winter, a natural disaster such as a hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or an attack by a wild animal was not guaranteed in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Our basic survival was being tested daily so the opportunity to live peacefully and actually THRIVE was virtually impossible.
However, for the past 50 years or so, humans have been able to exist, sort of. But, even in 2018, 80% of the world’s population does not have enough food or water in a given day. Therefore, humanity’s basic needs to exist are actually still not being met. If so many people are still unable to meet their needs to exist then how can they possibly meet their human need for love, belonging and connection? In other words, our emotional needs and emotional health.
Still, I believe of the 20% of people who are able to meet their basic needs to exist a large subset can begin to truly nurture the next critical need, their emotional health. And that subset can make a significant difference toward World Peace.
Why Is Emotional Health So Important?
Humans are struggling significantly today. We struggle daily with conflict and destructive behaviors. We fight wars over land and personal beliefs and we are killing each other. We fight wars to “show our power” over another. Why and to what end? Do we need to show power in order to exist? Or, do we need to show power in order to compensate for something else such as not feeling important, valued or like we matter?
Humans are self-destructing at an astonishing rate. It seems we are actually going backwards in life expectancy while the human race does continue to grow. Sadly, most of us are struggling with some kind of self-destructive behavior even if we don’t realize it.
It has become the norm to drink alcohol several times a week after work or binge on the weekends and many people struggle with alcohol abuse. Similarly, drug addiction continues to be on the rise and the opioid epidemic is out of control. Sexual assault is occurring in nearly every industry and gun violence, especially in the US, is practically a weekly occurrence. Depression/suicide and anxiety are seeing record numbers and the medications seem to only mask the problem and not address its root cause. While many of you will disagree, the root cause of most behaviors is NOT genetic or mental. (Afterall, people used to believe doctors were transferring “morbid poison” from dissected corpses to birthing mothers until handwashing became common practice in 1850. [Source] Many ideas we used to believe as “fact” have later been proven to not be true at all.)
The truth is, humans will do anything to avoid pain. The pain being experienced is not physical, it’s not mental either but actually emotional. When a person doesn’t FEEL truly loved, connected and have a sense of belonging they will do anything to compensate for that pain.
Humans will choose, consciously or subconsciously, behaviors in order to meet, suppress, deflect, mask or otherwise NOT FEEL their emotional pain.
Ask any drug addict, self-harm practicer or obsessive eater why they do so and they can probably tell you.
What nurtures emotional health more than anything else (or hurts it) is our relationships and connections. Until only the past several decades have humans even needed to be concerned about emotional health because their primary concern was simply to exist. Now, many of us are existing yet we and most other humans are self-destructing and certainly not thriving.
If enough people can love and support each other, and this happens in small, personal groups, then we will no longer need to compensate for our emotional pain or trauma. We will no longer self-destruct through our behaviors and we will actually participate in more constructive behaviors.
When enough people, and I don’t know how many that is, are constructively behaving then our self-destruction will be limited and the opportunity to thrive will increase. When enough of the world’s population is having their emotional needs met then they will behave more constructively and we will have less conflict and war.
The more emotionally healthy each person is the less destructive they will be to themselves and others and when enough people are behaving this way then mankind will achieve World Peace.
The Next Two Generations
As a middle-aged man, if my kids’ emotional needs and health are nurtured then their behaviors will be more constructive. They, in turn, will teach this to their kids (my grandkids) who will also be more emotionally healthy. At this point, my generation will be close to ending and what is left is my kids’ generation (Generation 1) and grandkids’ generation (Generation 2). If enough of my grandkids’ generation is emotionally healthy and not behaving destructively then THEY could be the generation where World Peace begins to take hold.
The next two generations, behaving more constructively, will help nurture others and their collective emotional health will spread. It can spread fast because emotional health is fairly quick to have a positive impact and even more people will thrive and thrive faster.
World Peace is finally possible and it can be accomplished within two generations if we start now. We need only begin to authentically connect by truly hearing, valuing and supporting each other. With love, connection, and belonging, humans are exceptional animals and we must be there for each other, unconditionally and in return others will be there for us.
Kevin, this is a great article, and you’ve peppered it with insight, which makes me think further about the topic.
Emotional health is essential to many areas of our life, so what you say holds merit with me. It also resonates on many levels. I think many of us forget about our emotional health and can tend to become robotic in our daily actions and intentions. But, we are complex, and with that complexity comes a whirlpool of emotions.
Recognizing, acknowledging, and understanding our feelings is vital to a healthy emotional path – for all. It doesn’t necessarily happen overnight, but it can happen one step at a time.
Thanks for shedding light on this topic. I enjoyed reading about it.
Thanks so much Laura and I’m glad the article resonated so much with you. If you’d ever like to have a deeper conversation on the topic please find me on LinkedIn or the the UchiConnection.com website (or Uchi app). I would like to clarify though, I believe part of what you mention is related to Emotional Intelligence which is different than Emotional Health. I’ve found someone can have high EI/EQ but still be struggling greatly with Emotional Health. And that latter is what is grossly unfulfilled within our species as is evident by our behaviors.
Interesting article and hypothesis (or purpose?) Fascinating.
And even achievable, I agree, if we all start taking care of our emotional health first.
Karol Wojtyla said “Peace cannot reign among men unless it reigns in the hearts of each of them”.
But for this purpose, some essential conditions are needed.
For example, it is necessary to effectively close the previous phases and, first of all, learn to forgive. Although forgiving is not easy, it is essential. Accumulating hatred, resentment or resentment binds us even more to that past. We are prisoners of memory. Still, living a reality that does not make us happy damages our emotional health. Perhaps it is work, where we do not value ourselves, where we do not feel fulfilled or maybe our friends, family or couple’s relationship make us unhappy.
Furthermore, our emotional health does not depend only on how others treat us. Sometimes we sabotage ourselves.
I agree, however, that through good culture and emotional literacy it could help create a climate of peace and tolerance in various contexts.
Even the Bible could help us, because it warns against harmful feelings and encourages cultivating healthy ones.
Thank you for your support Aldo! At least there are a few of us who believe it is possible and are hopeful. But as you said, key elements are necessary. I agree forgiveness can be incredibly helpful and it is something worth pursuing by us all. However, I do not believe forgiveness can replace connection. I may be able to forgive my mother for the unhealthy emotional environment she created for me as a child but I’m not sure it will help the two of us to connect in a way that I FEEL she really hears me and values me. Even so, it is not just one element that will change everything but if a critical element is missing, we’ll never reach our potential.
I’m reminded of the car tire analogy. You cannot inflate just one tire and expect it to run well. Similarly, if just one tire is flat, the car does not run. Our well-being is like those 4 tires – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. IMO, humanity’s emotional health is completely flat.
Thank you Kevin for reading my comment and for the considerations you make and I agree with.
Quite thought provoking, Kevin. I’ve had similar thoughts and as I view it, one of the biggest challenges is for humans to realize that money, fame, and/or power is NOT the substitute for World Peace. Somehow, these “virtues” need to stop getting so much importance and “must haves.”
I also believe that the quickest way to dissolve these beliefs is to become more kind, passionate, and caring to others. I do wish you all the success.
Thank you so much for joining in the conversation John. I agree, humanity’s “value system” is not consistent with our basic needs. We value money, fame, status, power when what we NEED is authentic connection – feeling loved, connected, heard and valued just for being us.
Kindness, compassion and caring are nice virtues but still do not quite fulfill our need for authentic connection with those who matter most to us. If we do not receive the love and connection we need from ages 0-6 we become conditioned or “wired” to protect and defend ourselves in any way we can. Therein lies the root of our destructive behaviors. We serve our own short-term needs because dealing with the [emotional] pain we’re experiencing is far to painful to address. And we really don’t have the tools to do so.
At least now there is an app for helping people to connect authentically and it’s called Uchi. https://UchiConnection.com
Kevin, thank you for drawing our attention to world peace. Peace in itself is a profound word. Every human being will have his/her own interpretation to what they individually understand peace to be. I personally believe that this ‘peace’ should start with each of us, in our hearts and minds, as individuals before it can have any meaning to the world around us.
I understand Peace to be a state of non-suffering as well as a celebration of life. We now know from many spiritual teachers that we can make a choice to live in peace within our own hearts, that we can actually choose not to suffer and choose instead to live in gratitude and love. Because all of life is interconnected, our fear, hatred and anger decreases the peace in the world, whereas our love, joy and gratitude increases the peace.
As Albert Schweitzer said, “Until man extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
I once read an article by Rev. Kent Winters-Hazelton,”Peace is the desire of every beating heart. Peace is the hope of every nation, the promise of every politician, the pulse of every religious tradition, the goal of every prayer. Peace is the bold, courageous and ultimate response to the notion that violence provides any viable solution for the conflicts of our world. Where war destroys and tears apart, peace builds, strengthens and restores. At the same time peace is personal, for each of us longs for security and tranquility in the face of the troubles, anxiety and chaos that often touch our lives.”
First of all welcome to our group. I can only hope that your vision can take root and grow.
Kevin, you and I have already established our respect for each other. And in addition to (as you write) truly hearing, valuing and supporting each other, I make it my mission — particularly in my writing and in interacting with and encouraging others — to restore or help them find their self-faith. But world peace?
But how should we view events such as those chronicled here (as just one example):
Yes. They can be reduced to the actions of two psychopaths. But those actions resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people. If the possibility of people like those men and the agents of their madness existing again in the future is real (it is), how can we achieve a world peace that ignores the darker aspects of human nature and its implications and consequences? For all our attempts, wouldn’t we have achieved Utopia by now if our species were capable of such a thing?
I want to be a believer. But being an empiricist makes it tough.
I admire your optimism, nevertheless.
Indeed Mark, we have begun our conversation elsewhere and it may be time for a real-time, verbal discussion. For now, I will simply say it is arrogant and naive to think “we would have achieved Utopia by now”. I am not calling you arrogant and naive but simply our species. Just because it hasn’t been figured out yet does not mean it’s not possible OR that it is “extremely complicated”.
It was hundreds of years before the “powers that be” and the general population finally accepted the fact that the world is a sphere and not flat.
It was only in 1987 that the American Academy of Pediatricians went on record stating “babies to feel pain”.
I believe it took many decades before handwashing became standard practice in hospitals even though the data was clear so long beforehand.
My point is, just because something hasn’t happened yet, in the history of our species, does not automatically make it complicated. Another example, we’ve been fighting the War On Drugs for nearly 100 years with the criminalization and punishment approach but we know from data the root cause of addiction is NOT the chemical dependency nor the “disease” we’ve been told. And these are the “experts” talking and they’re still missing the root cause entirely.
Yes, there are people causing mass destruction in the world. So, if we don’t start NOW by nurturing the emotional health of as much of the human population as possible then we’ll continue to self-destruct.
You need only observe a person’s behavior to know their state of emotional health. The more destructive their behavior the more emotional pain they are in…. drugs, alcohol, gun violence, genocide, power, status, eating disorders, obesity, abuse, depression/suicide, anxiety, and the list goes on… The signs are all around us we simply refuse to acknowledge or accept what we ALL needs, as humans. It’s a vicious negative feedback loop…
I suspect it won’t surprise you to know I find it arrogant and naive of our species to think it capable of achieving Utopia, Kevin. If the imperfections of our humanity don’t require things like codes of conduct, laws, public policy, social order, and the like — including everything from The Bible to the U.S. Constitution and more — why do we create them? They’re created, of course, because of the predilections of the species to corrupt. And as soon as they’re created, they’re subject to those very predilections.
If we were to start now, would we start in Eritrea, North Korea, and Hong Kong? How would Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Mao, Slobodan Milošević, and others have been different if there emotional pain had been diagnosed and treated? How do we think Kim Jong-un would respond to having his emotional health nurtured? And what, if anything, should we make of works like this:
I’m not sure I’m as concerned about extremely complicated as I am about possible. And I know I must come across as the most negative person you’ve encountered in quite a while. I sincerely want to believe you’re right. I help people, encourage, people, and perform the proverbial random acts of kindness every day. I just don’t know how much evidence I can ignore.
I hear you Mark and the fact that you’re continuing the conversation is evidence to me that maybe there is a hint of possibility or at least hope that a more constructive humanity is possible.
It’s funny… guidelines, rules are laws are typically defined as “the minimum acceptable behavior”. Just because someone has not broken a law or is able to follow the 10 Commandments doesn’t mean their “behaving optimally” or are emotionally healthy. To understand a person’s state of emotional health you need only observe their behavior as any destructive behaviors, to themselves or others, is a VERY clear sign.
Now, I am not trying to layout a plan for Utopia but I do believe peace is possible. What we are failing to do, as a species, is to understand or acknowledge WHY the predilections? Predilections are merely behaviors and what I’ve learned in the past ~20 years is that: Behavior is rooted in emotional health. Unfortunately, humanity continues to believe it is rooted in mental health. This is the path we’ve been on since modern psychology began (~150 years) and well, I think it’s pretty clear it’s not working.
The laws and rules are merely attempting to dictate behaviors and consequences for destructive behaviors but the truth is behaviors are merely the symptom. Again, WHY the predilections? WHY the behaviors? As the article discusses, I believe the behaviors are an attempt to compensate for an unmet EMOTIONAL need. I believe pretty much every person you listed would behavior far more constructively if their emotional needs were met. Again, we know from research that when a person FEELS more connected, their behaviors improve. This has been shown for drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, workaholics, depression, anxiety, bullying, stress, and so on.
Random acts of kindness, helping others, gratitude, being encouraging are all nice but none address a humans basic need to connect authentically with those who matter most to them. If a person does not FEEL heard, valued and like they matter to those they deem important then it will hurt emotionally. Again, this is what the article discusses. What’s missing is the authentic connection humans need in order to thrive.
Hello Kevin! Welcome! Your article has a combination of facts and forecast of positive and proactive measures we can take as a society now and for the future. I thank you for your perspective and really feel we all need these forward-thinking thoughts for our future and the next generation.
Thank you Maureen! Let’s spread the word and awareness (which is about 10% of the issue) and take action (which is 90%, IMO). The more we each connect and feel connected to others the faster the movement will spread. Emotions are incredibly contagious and for as destructive our compensatory behaviors have been they can flip and become constructive. One way to start doing this, especially with our kids, parents, family and friends, is to use the Uchi app which helps people “connect authentically” with those who matter most to them. I hope you’ll check it out… it’s free!
Thank you for your perspective you’ve offered in this article on a topic close to my heart, Kevin. I think that emotional health continues to be quite important in our lives. Abandonment, betrayal, and feelings of unworthiness are three great challenges and actual lived experiences of most human beings from which we all must heal.
I also know that cultivating a witness consciousness-that part of us that quietly bears witness to our thoughts, emotions, body sensations, other people, etc. can also be an essential part of the pathway to world peace. Grounding inside our own pure consciousness/inner fly on the wall, we connect powerfully with boundless love, unlimited possibilities, deep compassion at the very core of who we are. This being of soft, quiet, presence, awakened awareness can hold an important key to the connections with others. When we bring this growing, expanding “best” part of ourselves to our interactions with others, we bring the opportunity for a transformation. Connecting heart to heart, from this place of both compassionate love-having empathy for the suffering of others-because we deeply know our own suffering and have worked to heal it –and the celebratory love of genuinely being joyous for the good things happening in others’ lives —in this place of Both/And we can find ways to heal, to connect, to love, to be at peace…
Welcome to BizCatalyst360! I really appreciate that you’ve brought this important topic to the table for discussion.
Thank you so much Laura and for bringing such a lovely sentiment to the conversation.
Kevin – Welcome to the BC360 family of authors. Your first piece is interesting and a nice dream. Unfortunately, ego is always a factor that causes humans to seek more for self and to care less for others. Can we change? Yes. Will we change? That is the unknown and the problem.
“Can we change?” Probably not all humans can. “Will we change?” No. Never in the history of humans has there been world peace. It is a wonderful ideal, but not all ideals are reachable. It just takes one human to break the dream. One Hitler, or Stalin, or Ben Lauden, or XXXX.
Kevin, I wish you were right, but I doubt that the dream can be achieved in reality.
I hear you Ken but as the article theorizes, World Peace has simply not been possible until now. For the past 200,000 years, humans have been only concerned and prioritized physical survival. It is only within the past 70-150 years that even 20% of the world’s population has enough food and water daily. I’m not seeing it’s easy or will happen overnight but if we humans can begin to nurture each other emotionally, you might be surprised how quickly constructive behavior can spread. I appreciate your skepticism but frankly, I’m not aware of anyone who has even proposed before what I am proposing here. It took hundreds of years just to get the general population to accept the fact that the world is a sphere and not flat.
Thanks Len! Yes, but WHY is the ego such a predominant factor? I would argue a person feels the need to “boost” their ego, to FEEL more important, to be heard and valued, because they did not FEEL this way growing up. Their ego wasn’t nurtured as a child so now a person become preoccupied with meeting that need. All humans have a basic need for air, water, food, safety/shelter and love/connection. It is the last need that is simply not being met and we know it isn’t because it presents in our behavior(s)… including the ego (e.g. narcissism).
Welcome Kevin and thank you for this! As an optimist, not a Pollyanna, I believe we all must continue to strive to be the best we can be. Perhaps, your hope as I share will come to fruition. We may not see but the next few may and what a gift that would be! ?
Kevin, this is such an important discussion to have and you have done an amazing job of of setting the table in your piece.
“Humans will do anything to avoid pain. The pain being experienced is not physical, it’s not mental either but actually emotional. When a person doesn’t FEEL truly loved, connected and have a sense of belonging they will do anything to compensate for that pain.”
The human brain actually processes physical pain and emotional pain the same way. We wouldn’t tell someone who fell down a flight of steps to “shake it off.” We wouldn’t tell someone with a broken arm to not think about it and focus on the other arm. Yet, we tend to dismiss the emotional pain that results from loneliness, rejection, and fear of failure or humiliation just that way.
Our biggest need as humans is acceptance and belonging. One of our greatest fears is rejection. You close this piece with the key: we need to authentically connect by hearing, valuing and supporting one another. That is what will make this world a better place. We each have a sphere of influence. That where it starts.
Thank you for this one!