Please, I don't want to sound unpatriotic, and I want to keep this simple. I love Independence Day. In fact I held off writing this editorial until after we celebrated Independence Day.
I have had and still have relatives who were real heroes during wars, and my best friend as a 7-year old in Bay Ridge was "Harold the Cop". I cherish our freedoms, and think that defending them and requiring people to "do the right thing" is important and necessary.
But I also have a background in psychology, and having specialized in childhood neurological disorders and neurolinguistics, I continue to have a strong interest in what science says about neurology and patterns of processing and thinking.
We all know that it is MUCH easier to do what we are accustomed to doing, and that it's challenging to do new things as well as those we are not as accustomed to doing.
So when we look at yearly calenders, HOW many holidays are there that recognize wars and veterans and those who died in battle. And just how many holidays are there for recognizing PEACE, studying what works to keep and develop it? How many TV shows and games and reenactments are there of the non-violent actions taken to bring about peace? Yes, there are some, but not nearly as much recognized, and they mostly end up down the same road "Peace by Strength" and that usually means War Tools. And why would we spend billions on war tools and not expect to use them. How much do we spend on peace tools? Well we do still spend a lot of money to feed the hungry, and all it takes is examining a group of animals to understand that when just about every species has what they need to survive they are peaceful. In fact, lions do lie down with lambs. So this is a piece of the puzzle we need to keep.
Thankfully we still have the Peace Corps. During my time in College at University of Kentucky one of my first paying jobs was as secretary to a top Peace Corps officials. Back then there was a feeling that it could make a significant change to have a peaceful world order. They still do lots of good. But what can we do to return to some kind of reasonable hope that we can attain generally peaceful world order.
How about we make a new national HOLIDAY and encourage other countries to do the same, give it a lot more recognition. Not just a date on the calendar, but make a big deal about it so people take seriously the actions/patterns that create and sustain it. And I don't mean mobs of people carrying signs and screaming We need purposeful thought with positive action. How about we have desensitization and de-escalation techniques taught to all children at every level of school.
Of course the ability to feed the masses is contingent on limiting population growth...and therein may lie our greatest challenge for longterm peaceful survival.
The human brain will most likely keep patterning and establishing habits of action that it does and sees regularly..... it doesn't even have readily available cells and synapses to grow the "Peace Trail". So let's get to it! After all, it's simply about survival ...for ourselves, our children, our friends and those who could be our friends.