Wednesday, July 02, 2008

BEYOND WAR (1 of 8 study sessions)

Highlights of “BEYOND WAR” Study
Session I: An Introduction to Beyond War – June 2008
Social Change—how it happens, historical examples

(This is a compilation of “headlines” and excerpts from the 37 printed pages of Section I, “Beyond War”. Rosemary Doyle, Group Facilitator, Citizens for Peace, June 10, 2008.

Participating as a Change Agent, Gayle Landt(Change our way of thinking to build a world of beyond war). What would need to happen in the minds and hearts of how many citizens in order to achieve long-term, life-affirming change? Session I introduces the cornerstones of “a new way of thinking” and puts the work of building a world beyond war into historical context. People who are active in Beyond War are responding to Einstein’s 1946 quote “Everything has changed, save our modes of thinking, and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” The thinking that Beyond War promotes is that war is obsolete in the nuclear age—and it is an ineffective response to terrorism—and that we all live on one planet and the means are the ends in the making. These are the ideas that people must adopt in order to build a world beyond war.

Beyond War: A New Mode of Thinking: (Make the shift and give up the habit of war.) This will require knowledge, decision and action…time has come to give up the ancient habit of war…war is here, not just over there…problem is our mode of thinking…change our thinking that war is inevitable…we are connected through our common needs and cannot separate ourselves…what is fear’s role in war…we must be the change…our intention must be nonviolent, nonwar…education is the most effective action…educate on the values of not having a war system but a peace system…history shows that governments and leaders will respond to the will of the people…to resolve a conflict, I must have an attitude of goodwill…I cannot preach peace while waging war at a personal level. THE SHIFT IS A PERSONAL ONE—A NON-WAR ATTITUDE.

(The Section I discussion group responded to the question of “Was there a point in my life when I began to question whether war might not be an option to resolve conflict?” with “during the Korean War; Vietnam War, current war, some were unsure, others never thought about it, and there was commentary on government integrity as it relates to ending wars.)

Beyond War is a revitalized organization which peaked in the 1980’s with over 24,000 members in 23 states and several countries. In 1991 it shifted its focus toward cultural and environmental issues and formally became the Foundation for Global Community, 1991.

Optimism of Uncertainty, Howard Zinn: (Super Powers have failed to accomplish their goals because they were unable to control what seemed to be the “powerless”.) (Headliners) Don’t let those who have power intimidate you…understand that the major media will not tell you all of the acts of resistance taking place every day in the society…power is fragile, it depends on obedience…see engagement as an ongoing struggle with victories and defeats…what leaps out from history of past 100 years is its utter unpredictability…Rosa Parks refused to move from the front of the bus…the Russian revolution to overthrow the Tsar startled most advanced imperial powers with its results…the Chinese revolution…Spain became an astonishment…the end of WIII left two superpowers, U.S. and Russia…the failure of the Soviet Union to have its way in Afghanistan…the U.S. sent an army into Korea but could not win…apparent power has proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience…no cold calculation of the balance of power need deter people who are persuaded that their cause is just…there is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue…pessimism becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; it reproduces itself by crippling our willingness to act…the bad things that happen are repetitions of bad things that have always happened…the good things that happen are unexpected…people are not naturally violent or cruel or

greedy, although they can be made so…revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzags toward a more decent society. (This article appears in the book, The Impossible Will Take a Little While, copyright 2004, Paul Rogat Loeb.)

The Process of Social Change, Professor Everett M. Rogers, (Stanford Research Institute, Diffusion of Innovations, Third Edition, New York, MacMillan Free Press, 1983: (The phases of a new idea being adapted.) Studies at Stanford University tell us that when only 5% of a society accepts a new idea, it is “embedded”. When 20% adopt the idea, it is “unstoppable.” The studies also
show that it normally requires 50% of the population to be “aware” of the idea in order to reach the 5%
who will adopt it. (Related website:

Examples of the Process of Change, Leon Friedman, Civil Rights Reader, 1967; Alan P. Grimes, Equity in America, 1964: (A historical perspective of major social changes, time, and individuals who started the momentum.) It took 200 years to abolish slavery; women’s suffrage, 80 years; Civil rights: in 1896 with Supreme Court held that “separate but equal”; in 1954 the Supreme court ruled that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional; in 1964 the Civil Rights Act was passed; in 1965 President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

Dancing With Systems, (Donella Meadows, professor, Dartmouth College. The Sustainability Institute that she founded before her death will publish her uncompleted book: (Do not assume that technology and data analysis will predict and control results.) People in the industrial world are likely to make a terrible mistake in systems analysis, in interconnection and complication, and the power of the computer if they think that there is a key to prediction and control…The goal of foreseeing the future exactly and preparing for it perfectly is unrealizable…The idea of making a complex system do just what you want it to do can be achieved only temporarily at best…We can never fully understand our world, not in the way our reductionistic science has led us to expect. Our science itself, from quantum theory to the mathematics of chaos, leads us into irreducible uncertainty…The future can’t be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being…We can’t surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them…We can’t impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone…We can’t control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them…Get the Beat…Listen to the Wisdom of the System…Expose your Mental Models to the Open Air…Stay Humble, Stay a Learner…Honor and Protect Information…Locate Responsibility in the System…Make Feedback Policies for Feedback Systems…Pay Attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable…Go for the Good of the Whole…Expand Time Horizons…Expand Thought Horizons…Expand the Boundary of Caring…Celebrate Complexity…Hold Fast to the Goal of Goodness.