War and Peace: Perspectives in the Nuclear Age

War and Peace: Perspectives in the Nuclear Age

War and Peace: Perspectives in the Nuclear Age

War and Peace: Perspectives in the Nuclear Age

Excerpt

Seek peace, and pursue it.

Psalm 34

In their efforts to pursue peace, the authors of this volume explore disparate viewpoints, confirm convictions, elucidate differences, and challenge misconceptions. They concur that to seek and understand peace, they must talk of war and conflict, of technologies that lay waste and mentalities that destroy. They express, directly or indirectly, the need to seek harmony not only among voices from both East and West but also among the cadences of the past, present, and future. Their chapters constitute an attempt to look not only outside but also inside -- to enable man to come to a clearer understanding of war and peace in the nuclear age. To seek peace is also to seek the humanity in each individual, to speak to that humanity, and to discover the brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind that Friedrich Schiller wrote about so eloquently in his "Ode to Joy."

A powerful undercurrent that surfaces again and again in the discussions comprised herein is the theme that the earth is not ours, but that we are of the earth. It is not a matter of individual ownership -- of what is mine and what is yours -- but of collective stewardship. Human beings are but caretakers of the earth -- sojourners -- as were those who came before, and as the generations to come will be. It is as inconceivable for mankind to consider destroying this earth as it would be for a steward to entertain the idea of demolishing that over which he has been appointed caretaker. If men and women are unwilling to recognize that they must act as conservators of this good earth -- stewards of what has been placed into their care -- then mankind is indeed "a poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/And then is heard no more," and life "a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,/Signifying nothing," as Shakespeare would have it in the fifth act of Macbeth.

Ours is not only to seek peace, but also to pursue it, as the psalmist says. Human beings cannot remain indifferent to their future, just as they cannot remain indifferent to each other. It is for mankind to pursue peace, to promote peace, and to work for peace by challenging suppositions that would destroy humanity and by shifting the perspective away from the banality of what is true and possible to the morality of what is right and good.

These conclusions are reflected in the individual chapters of this volume, which collectively constitute a succinct statement concerning . . .

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