This paradigm is designed to be a simple set of transforming concepts. Framed in a specific order, it is meant to interact with our thoughts and actions. These concepts may be viewed as questions we ask ourselves to help transform good ideas into well-rounded, better ideas. For example: does my idea justify harm, does it recognize need? These concepts are also meant to function as a set of values that anchor us in essential elements that need to be addressed when making peace practical. Like our world, the Paradigm of Peace is not perfect, nor can we follow it perfectly, but it does give us concepts to orbit around in our efforts to gather together a peaceful community. Use it to transform, anchor, gather, and make peace practical.

SEE WHAT WE SHARE IN COMMON – Before we address our differences, it is important to embrace what we share. A foundation already exists for the success of every relationship. We have far more in common than we have differences. We must develop our ability to identify what we share. This alone can make peace. Our lives are interconnected. Individuals may form communities, but communities also form individuals. Therefore, if we want to be healthy individuals we must also want healthy communities. Recognizing what we share is a good first step.

When dealing with others ask yourself, “am I really seeing all that we share?”

LET OTHERS BE DIFFERENT - The opportunity for everyone to be who they are, and choose what they want is not only important for the individual, but also for the community. Freedom is hard to describe because it means something unique to everyone. We can however identify some ingredients that make it possible such as: valuing life, affirming choices, and respecting different beliefs. True freedom is always accompanied by values so it doesn’t become a license to dominate. But freedom isn’t only about doing, it is also about being. This concept could have easily been called BE AND LET BE. We need to develop our ability to just be. In being ourselves we find that we have qualities, tendencies, and affections that help us choose our actions as we progress. We develop into something unique, something new. In this way we have affection for being different, while at the same time we are drawn to the unique qualities of others. This affection for individual diversity is the same affection that draws us back together into relationships with others. This is the beauty of diversity.

Am I respecting the differences in others, or am I needlessly imposing my will?

JUSTIFY NO HARM – On the surface this concept is about having a value that doesn’t change to serve our own self-interests. In its depths, it calls for a real commitment to not do physical violence, or psychological injury. The word harm is carefully chosen for its two definitions: 1. Physical, or psychological injury, or damage. 2. Wrong; evil. We must go beyond making a rule to do no harm, if we’re only going to justify breaking it. Instead let’s offer a concept to help find remedy to situations where it might seem ok to harm. We often feel the need to categorize things as good or bad, as if they could be only one or the other. Life is not that simple. Harm often comes wrapped in something noble like protecting an innocent person. Sometimes destroying one person seems to be the only way to save another. In every action, belief, or idea, we must concentrate on identifying ALL of the elements that are present and make a distinction between the harmful and the beneficial aspects. Harm that is not identified remains unnoticed and the example of our actions inadvertently makes us teachers of the very thing we are trying to eliminate. This is how harm goes on living, even in people with good intentions. Deep introspection is required. Noble actions are tainted when they are accompanied by harm. While it is nearly impossible to stop the onslaught of negative behavior, it is extremely important to have a value that says, once harm is identified, it will no longer be justified. We can then nourish the good aspects and focus on transforming harmful elements.

Am I justifying harm?

HOLD NO GRUDGE – Whatever gets your attention, gets you. Let go. This concept deals with being caught psychologically by our own opinions or beliefs. Grudges get rehearsed in our minds until we are left with an unhealthy outlook that only views things through negative emotions. This is a place where our attention remains fastened to our fears and we are all left worse off. Fear is not a natural place to live or make decisions. View problems long enough to make clear decisions, then refocus and let go.

Am I holding on to an opinion more than I am seeing the potential of another person?

SPEAK FOR RECONCILIATION – Our words should be offered to resolve, not to condemn. We must address the ways we use words in a negative fashion and refocus their power for positive results. It is ok to express anger. It is not ok to do so in a harmful way. Language might just be the crowning jewel in all of creation. We can use language to persuade, learn, and engage. Here we find a way to offer our voices of difference in a productive, healthy fashion. We also find a way to listen to the voices of others. Both are invaluable, if reconciliation is our goal.

Do I use my words to create and restore? Are my words condemning?

DON’T LIVE AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS – This concept speaks of getting the things we want or need in a way that not is detrimental to others. We must be mindful of our methods. We must look at money, how it is received, and how it is spent. Not considering the effects of our consumption and careless treatment of the environment serve as useful examples of how others are often exploited. This concept calls for balance between our lives, the environment, and all living things. It addresses relationships that may not be harmful on the surface, but are harmful underneath. It is OK to work and be rewarded. It is not OK for these rewards to come at the expense of others. All relationships need mutual harmony as a basic foundation.

Does my job make the world a better place? Do I use more than I need?

RECOGNIZE NEED – We can do everything else on this list but if we do not address need we are not truly living in harmony with our neighbors, or ourselves. It is crucial for all living things to have access to the basic necessities, which include: food, clothing, shelter, as well as care for the mind and body. We simply cannot go about our business as if nothing is wrong while others are doing without, just as we can’t pretend nothing is wrong when there is a need in our own lives. Humans are in a constant state of need. Success is when need is met with a constant state of renewal. Meeting need is a natural part of our lives and relationships. Attending to need plays a crucial role in forming character. Poverty isn’t merely living without what you need, but it is also not having anything to give others.

Do I see need in others? Am I addressing need in my life?

DON’T IDOLIZE – ASSIGN PROPER VALUE TO PROPER PLACES Assigning improper value is one of the greatest unseen dangers. It results in racism, making some superior, and some inferior. It can create economic oppression, or a sense of entitlement to wealth. It makes some fanatical about religion, while causing others to invalidate religion altogether. Also, an idol is something that represents something else. To value an idol is to value the wrong thing. A good example is when people value religion more than the reason religion is created, Another is when we begin loving qualities in people instead of just loving people. Idolizing also means to admire to excess, which naturally leads to not loving other things enough. Some of the worst idols we have are our own thoughts and feelings, causing undue worry, fear, superstition and arrogance. We must assign proper value to feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and possessions, remembering they are here to serve a purpose, not be the purpose.

Are my thoughts, actions and beliefs functioning to serve a purpose, or do I make them the purpose?

CREATE PEACE – REPLACE DESIRE TO CONQUER WITH DESIRE TO CREATE - Peace is not just the absence of war. It is the presence of all that is good. It is the harmonizing of life. We must learn to direct our natural tendencies to survive, into creative tendencies that work for the benefit of all. This idea can be used in concert with all that we do.

Am I replacing the desire to conquer with a desire to create?

BE KIND, TRUTHFUL, AND HOPEFUL, ALWAYS SEEKING THE SOURCE OF PEACE – These are some essential ingredients for the WAY we do things. The first nine principles are WHAT we do. Kindness might be the real heart of peacemaking, it is almost magical. Truth is also essential, not merely trying not to tell a lie, but deep introspection of our motives. Truth should be a full revelation of our intentions. We have reason to be hopeful, and that reason is that we are here. We have made it this far. When we think of the future we must remember that it is as big a miracle that we exist now as existing in the future. We have reason to hope. Finally, we must live always seeking the source of peace. For the religious, this is God. For the non-religious it is pursuing and acknowledging something bigger than ourselves that inspires and creates. We cannot make our individual selves the pinnacle. We must view ourselves as being a part of life. Life is fluid. We must always seek.

Am I being kind, truthful and hopeful? Am I seeking the source of peace?




Paradigm – An example; a model; an illustration.