The word Peace in itself holds no meaning. It is not the opposite of violence. A hungry man’s idea of peace is a full stomach. A nation at war may claim the end of violence as peace, even though it may come at the price of hunger. Similarly, a man may seek peace from the stress and tension of the everyday life. A priest may seek peace in communion with God, perhaps even death, the ultimate representation of God’s embrace.
Many would suggest that the absence of violence or war is peace (“What Is Peace?”, 2017). But can we equate a ‘just’ peace with a peace of slavery, or injustice? Can we dare suggest that just because an unjust society does not have conflict its idea of Peace has the same value as that of a honourable society? If that is the case, then we should accept the conflict free regimes of dictators and tyrants as peaceful (Rummel,1975, 35). One may derive from the above argument that peace is not a static phase that either exists or not. It is a dynamic feature of society that has less to do with violence and more to do with human interactions and mindset (Rummel,1975, 36). There exists a relationship between peace and conflict, such that the conditions necessary for peace and any changes in such conditions make conflict more likely or less likely. We need to consider the idea that peace does not exist in a vacuum. It might be better to treat peace as a social contract, such that we as the members of society achieve peace through negotiations, adjustments, resolutions and decisions. Such a scenario makes peace an active, dynamic part of society and not a passive tenet (Rummel,1975, 102). It is through our cooperative existence and interaction that we bring about the conditions of peace. Peace also holds a pivotal relation with power. It is only through a balance of power that the conditions of peace are fulfilled (Rummel,1975, 102).
Peace can both be external and internal from the point of view of an individual (Rummel,1975, 40). As a social construct, peace is limited to the external sphere where the interactions and actions of other members of society plays a role in bringing about peaceful environment. But if we were to consider human nature we would find the flaw in such an arrangement (“What Is Peace?”, 2017). If a person is not at peace with himself and finds chaos in his heart, it won’t be long before the said chaos leaks to the external world. Perhaps we may call the internal peace a ‘spiritual peace’. If the expectations and desire of an individual are not in congruence with the social reality there can be no peace.
The social reality that is evidenced in the world in the forms of contracts, governments, national and international interactions are just the manifestation of the expectations, values and meaning inherent in the minds of the people that are party to the social contract.