The Blindness of Violence

"But if we want to envision such a world, we must recognize that we are blind, that we can no longer see clearly. We can no longer see our way to peace. We cannot see our way toward dismantling our arsenals, ceasing our bombing raids, supporting the world's poorer nations, ending hunger and poverty, and pursuing universal brotherhood and sisterhood. Instead, we see only war and further wars. We can imagine all kinds of weapons of mass destruction and ever-greater invasions and wars. We put our best minds, our time, our funds, and our energies into this vision of war. In the process, we blind ourselves to the vision of peace.

"Violence blinds us. We think we see, but we have grown blind to our shared humanity. We do not see one another as human beings, much less brothers and sisters. Instead, we see nonhumans, aliens, outsiders, competitors, objects of class, race, or nationality. When that happens, we label people as enemies and declare them expendable.

"If we want to see our way toward a new world without war, we need to recover our sight. We need to meet together in church basements and small grass roots communities to discuss a daring, provocative question: 'What would a world without war look like?' As we ask the question, we can begin to imagine such a world. Then we can discuss and enact ways to make that new world a reality.

"In order to reclaim this vision, we need to teach each other that war is not inevitable, that war is not our future, that nuclear destruction need not be our destiny, that peace can come true for all people. We have to rekindle the desire for the vision of peace. Once we desire it, we will pray for it, work for it, and welcome it — and move our culture from blindness to vision, from numbness to imagination, from war to peace.

"Since our blind leaders are driving us to the brink of destruction, we have to take the wheel, turn back, and lead one another away from the brink. We cannot expect vision from the war-makers or their media spokespeople. Only peacemakers, people of creative, contemplative nonviolence, can see the way forward toward a world of peace."