OCT 2010

Vladimir LoncarPaths to World Peace

By Vladimir Loncar

It is when we all play safe that we create a world of utmost insecurity.

- Dag Hammarskj÷ld

The Year 2000 was the United Nations International Year of a Culture of Peace. A number of TOS members around the world lent their support to the UN by undertaking peace-related activities. These days, unfortunately, every year seems to need to be an international year of peace.  Vladimir Loncar of Wellington, New Zealand, long-time peace activist, shares with us his insights and asks our views. Vladimir passed away shortly after writing this article. We wish him peace.

Everyone wants world peace, never more so than after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Iraq, the continuing combat in Afghanistan and the fighting between Israel and Palestine.  If the United Nations had the weight it should have, though, and asked each of us for a plan to bring about peace, how would you respond? What ideas could you come up with?

There are a number of paths, I would suggest. The world’s most travelled path so far has been that of military action. It’s not very peaceful, of course (!), and is a last resort, but the result can eventually produce some stability – from the point of view of the winner!

A second avenue is that of diplomacy. The citizens of the world can work with international laws, conventions and treaties, with United Nations conferences, task forces and so on. These are a useful guide for nice people to relate to people from whom they are alienated in some way. Sadly, even these require force, or threat of force.

What other avenues are there? There are trade and commerce. By developing ties of material interdependence, another kind of stability is produced. Self-interest and prudence (prudence – a kind of cautious, sensible action that does not give cause for alarm) go a long way towards compensating for lack of love. Let’s face it: a lot of normal harmonious social intercourse functions in this way – a kind of mutual cupboard love.

Group and individual friendships, and intermarriage, world-wide, can break down barriers at grassroots level. The friendship has to be of a quality sufficient to transcend other loyalties, especially ethnic and nationalistic ones. There is no reason why global good can’t be a greater power than global greed.

Another way in which people attempt to reach world peace is by embracing anti-war movements and philosophies, especially pacifism. An increasing number of people show concern for the planet and each other in this way. The motivations may not be even, though. Fear, prudence and love all play a part. Pacifism is a position to which one cannot just pay lip service. It is a philosophy, a way of life that requires positive, even radical, action.

A path toward world peace that has great value in my eyes is that of world-wide education on internationalism and interfaith. Organisations such as UNESCO could well lead the field in promoting this crucial form of education for world citizenship. It is difficult to set up in many areas of the globe, though, where nation-states systematically corrupt their people with propaganda of a patriotic and religiously fanatical nature.

The path toward world peace which the Theosophical Society has principally promoted is that of individual spiritual regeneration through an awareness of the unity and love at the heart of the cosmos. One difficulty with this is that it takes millennia and many lives to bring to fruition; hence the need for all the other paths mentioned above. We need the first paths because spiritual regeneration does not get results quickly enough. To save this planet we have to harness fear, anger and self-interest as well as altruism. World-wide education on internationalism and interfaith can go hand in hand with individual spiritual regeneration.

Where does each of us stand in terms of active involvement in any of these paths to world peace? Do you feel that all of them are necessary or inevitable at this stage in humanity’s evolution?


It is high time for humanity to accept and work out the full consequences of the total global and interdependent nature of our planetary home and of our species.  Our survival and further progress will depend largely on the advent of global visions and of proper global education in all countries of the world.

Robert Muller

Former U.N. Assistant Secy.-Gen.

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