What I Learned From Emerson.

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I was really excited when I discovered that today’s blog posting is on “Peace.” Peace is something I’ve often thought about. I don’t think that I could justifiably call myself a pacifist, although I wish I could. I strive to the best of my ability to be calm and fair, and to do things without aggression but I, like so many others, often get caught up in my emotions and lash out at times. My least favorite quality about myself is my impatience; often I think that if I took the time to slow down that so many bad, hurtful, or upsetting things wouldn’t happen to me or those that I influence. More often than not, I find that if I had just taken the time to really take apart a given concept, situation, relationship etc and analyze it on it’s most basic level to really understand what is actually happening I’m less inclined to become frustrated and solve it with force rather than skill.

My freshman year here at ASU I was required to take a class called, “The Human Event” in which we were asked to read a number of texts and reflect on them. One of them happened to be a book by Existentialist Ralph Waldo Emerson; I was intrigued by his work and continued to study him after the class ended. Now,

one of my favorite quotes (I love quotes… often times when I’m feeling blue or bored I hunt for inspirational, funny, or thought-provoking quotes on the internet! Yes, I’m strange…) by Ralph Waldo Emerson is, “Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”

To me, that simple sentence carries an enormity of weight. Primarily, I find it- for lack of a better word- completely logical that Emerson would suggest that peace is in no way discovered through the use of violence. It baffles me when people, countries, groups etc. use violence first when evaluating their options for any sort of relationship, whether it be stable or on the mend. I know that, for me, anyone who is coming at me straight off with any level of aggression is going to be met with the same aggression. It’s human nature to be defensive when attacked and to protect yourself! Aggression will most likely be met with aggression, and violence will be met with violence in the same way. That being said, I’m not disregarding the need for a military- of course leaving an entire country unprepared to defend themselves is almost insane. I’m merely suggesting that if we start with ourselves, one relationship, one conversation, or one introduction at a time that we might be able to learn completely civil interactions in our Utopia.

His statement claiming that peace can only be attained through understanding also intrigues me. This touches a little bit on what I was talking about in my last blog post. I had mentioned that I believe that trust is, of course, based on a healthy relationship but that more importantly it can be gained through understanding. Nowadays our lives are so rushed that we rarely spend time where we’re supposed to. We spend more time waiting in line at Starbucks than we do hearing about our friends’ days. Because of that, I feel like I, among so many others, am too impatient for peace. We want what we want when we want it and too often we’re willing to give up the equal happiness of “us” for the greater happiness of “I.” I feel as though when we’re ready to share joy among those whom we share this earth that we will finally find peace.