Jonathan Brun

The shame of it all

Next week I leave for a trip to China. Before COVID and before the war in Ukraine, you could fly direct from Montreal to Shanghai for less than $1,000 CAD. Today, a return trip is about $3,000 and you need to connect in another city, adding a least 10 hours or more to the trip. When I was last in China, about six months ago, you could feel the slow down of the economy and the change in tone. Things are not as buoyant as they once were.

Nearly twenty years ago in 2006, I made my first trip to China to work for Danieli Corus, a steel equipment manufacturer. That year I was a junior engineer working with the team in Beijing and helping in the small ways I could to support the senior engineers and sale staff. It was a truly remarkable experience. At that time the steel industry in China was red hot, with rapid expansion of capacity and modernization of equipment across the country. Beijing had only three metro lines and China had no high speed rail. Barely 20 years later, Beijing has 20 metro lines and China has twice as much high speed rail than the rest of the world combined. China was growing at insane rates and it was an exuberant atmosphere. Today, China is a modern and advanced country that offers a high quality of life to the vast majority of its citizens. The world around us has unfortunately changed somewhat.

With all the conflicts in the news – Gaza and Ukraine notably – it is easy to think the world is falling apart. I however took great solace in this article entitled “Beware of the Polycrisis” that outlines all the conflicts, wars, issues and nonsense we have survived in just the past 50 years. In short the world has muddled through innumerable conflicts from the cold war to genocide in Rwanda, conflict in the DRC, environmental disasters, rigged elections and much more. Are things worse than they were in the 1970s, 80s, 90s or 2000s – not really. For some people things are indeed much worse – notably Gaza and Ukraine today, but broadly speaking things are better for the vast majority of people. That is not to say that there are not tremendous problems in the world, but perhaps things are better than they seem?

What seems most worrying however is the apparent escalation in violence between large countries who have vast arsenals of weapons. The war in Ukraine is killing hundreds of thousands of people and is keeping Europe on the precipice of a broader conflict that is not prepared to fight. China is being pushed into a corner through trade wars and is turning towards Russia and the global south. Gazans are being exterminated and the support of the western political class for this massacre is creating a generational divide in many western countries. The violent suppression of student protests is making it abundantly clear that western governments have little tolerance for meaningful dissent and even less moral high ground. It certainly feels like the world is changing in a substantive way.

Geopolitical predictions are notoriously unreliable, but the person I currently most respect in geopolitics is John Mearsheimer who has laid bare the situation around the world. According to him, Ukraine will likely lose the war and cede parts of its territory. Gaza will be destroyed and its people will be killed or expelled. China will continue to rise and challenge the US. As for US domestic politics – who knows. Trump could very likely win, though that may help calm tensions on the geopolitical side. In Europe, the rise populist leaders and the right is real and scary. Debt is rapidly increasing due to interest rates. In short, we seem to be escalating unnecessary conflicts in a scary way.

What can be done? De-escalation needs to be our focus across the board. We need to de-escalate the actual violent conflicts in the world – notably Ukraine. This means negotiations and this is not appealing to western elites who think they can win, but it remains the only realistic hope for stopping a broader escalation or a long term problem in Europe. Gaza, sadly, is hopeless and the United States and the West seems intent on supporting Israel no matter what it does. Until that changes, there is not much that can be done. The biggest risk is of course US-China. This is where de-escalation matters most. Unfortunately, it seems unlikely this will happen, but we should aim to build greater bridges between the major powers in the world. In this respect, I do think China has a major role to play and I hope they take more leadership and leverage their relationships in the developing world. For my very small part, I continue to hope we can somehow calm the entire situation down. At home, we need to advocate for dialogue at the political levels and abroad we need to continue to travel, meet, discuss and attempt to build bridges wherever possible.

Published on May 15, 2024

On Genocide and Human’s Social Nature

Before I got married I travelled to Scotland with my brothers, uncle, cousins and father. This was a form of bachelor party where we basically travelled the the country and drank some great scotch. Like many nations, Scotland has a long history of violent conflict. While Scotland’s historic conflicts with England are well publicized, what marked me most was the savage violence between the various Scottish communities or clans.

To be fair, murderous genocidal violence between neighbours is much more common than we care to imagine. Today, our desire to crush our neighbours is carried out in small claims courts, in passive aggressive comments and perhaps a bit on social media. However, a few hundred years ago, neighbours often engaged in cycles of raving violence that would lead to raids and massacres where no one was spared. This is of course not specific to Scotland in any way. European wars of religion, the genocide in Rwanda or even the massacres between North American native tribes are well documented. Sometimes, simply standing in a place reinforces the memory of our past sins.

When we were in Scotland, I can recall standing at the bottom of a grass knoll reading one of those historic plaques that commemorates a place. Those plaques that we often walk right by often do carry powerful stories and lessons. On that plaque, somewhere in the hills of Scotland, there was told the story of two warring clans that fought for generations and centuries. One clan attacked another and in vengeance, the other clan retaliated – sometimes decades later – by coming to the village and killing man, woman and child. They burned each other to death by locking them in churches and burning the church down with everyone inside. Human’s have many great attributes, but our ability to carry out vengeful acts and carry hate is truly remarkable – it should not be underestimated.

A few years later I visited the Cathare region of France. This region borders Spain and includes a part of France that was once inhabited by a Catholic sect. As Wikipedia outlines,

The Cathars originated from an anti-materialist reform movement within the Bogomil churches of the Balkans calling for what they saw as a return to the Christian message of perfection, poverty and preaching, combined with a rejection of the physical. The reforms were a reaction against the often perceived scandalous and dissolute lifestyles of the Catholic clergy.


In 1206, a Crusade was called on the Cathars by Pope Innocent III. This Crusade led to the massacre of most of the Cathars, with testimonies at the time speaking of the streets being filled with the blood of women and children who were all unceremoniously killed by raving mobs looking for land, wealth and power. Beyond the massacre itself, what is interesting is the fact that the build up to the violence took over two hundred years and ultimately exploded onto the scene with a single event. Not unlike the killing of Archduke Ferdinand that led to World War I or the attacks by Hamas on Israel on October 6th or the events of September 11th, 2001, a single event leads to the unleashing of a torrent of unrequited violence. Of course, the event is the proverbial straw that broke the camels back and some other event, eventually would have triggered the pent up rage and lust for land. Wikipedia explains

Between 1022 and 1163, the Cathars were condemned by eight local church councils, the last of which, held at Tours, declared that all Albigenses should be put into prison and have their property confiscated. The Third Lateran Council of 1179 repeated the condemnation. Innocent III’s diplomatic attempts to roll back Catharism were met with little success. After the murder of his legate Pierre de Castelnau in 1208, and suspecting that Raymond VI, Count of Toulouse was responsible, Innocent III declared a crusade against the Cathars. He offered the lands of the Cathar heretics to any French nobleman willing to take up arms.


The Cathars are no more, their land, castles and wealth now belong to France and the Catholic church. This story is far from unique. What can we learn from our ability to inflict great harm on our fellow man? Why has so little in over the course of the centuries. As Israel carries out its massacre of Gaza (now over 30,000 dead or so), likely with the plan to occupy the land and seek vengeance, what can we do? What is most remarkable is not so much that human’s have not fundamentally changed, I think that is obvious, but rather that our institutions and the live-streaming of the violence in Gaza has not led to meaningful action by power brokers. No country is sticking its neck out for Palestinians, just as no people stoke out their neck for the Cathars, those Scottish villages or the nameless other communities that have been massacred over the centuries.

My main lesson from having looked at these disasters is a rather simple one. Humans, at their heart, are social creatures. More than anything else, we want to by part of a group. This is our core and most important desire. Breaking free from that group to contradict the group’s beliefs is something very few of us do – whether we care to admit it or not. Perhaps 1% of us do it in some meaningful way. It is said that if 3% of the population protests a policy, a genuine revolution can happen. The long and short of it is we just want to fit in. Historically speaking – Social homo sapien survives and the annoying homo sapien fact checkers get killed or banished.

If we want to reduce violence and massacres, we have to take into account the social bonds that link groups together and that pit groups against each other. Thomas Hobbes famously proposed the Leviathan which meant centralizing force in the state and taking it away from local communities and warlords. This has generally worked quite well for maintaining peace within states. However, since to Leviathan has been created to regulate states and it seem unlikely states would relinquish the ultimate power of violence, alternative methods must be developed. Bodies such as the United Nations, the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court play important roles, but these organizations are broadly speaking reactive. They react after the fact to events and conflicts, they are not particularly good at preventing or interceding during an active conflict.

While it would be nice to hope that governments and para-national institutions might create systems to help prevent group violence, my strong suspicion is that is is wishful thinking. Who is ultimately responsible for what is happening in Palestine, in Myanmar, in the Democratic Republic of Congo or in other conflict areas. The short answer is of course no one is solely responsible, it is a collective failure. Civil society has a unique role to play in this light. The only groups that may be able to reduce group violence are other groups of people who share a common interest and purpose. The groups we need to help reduce unnecessary violence are people who are knowledgeable and trained in human nature. C

Civil society has peace advocates and they can generally be divided into two categories – broad peace groups that do not target a specific cause (i.e. World Beyond War) or those that do have a specific conflict in mind (i.e. Jewish Voices for Peace, Independent Jewish Voices,…). However, as far as I can tell, all of the groups that I have found seem to focus on spreading the Truth about a conflict and its costs in the hope this will reduce violence. The thing is, there is no Truth when we look at it through the prism of a social organization. When we view an issue through a social lens, the opinion of our unit matters as much, if not more, than any objective truth. If we ignore this reality, we will not succeed in affecting change.

The most helpful tools I have found to address this challenge are those of Gene Sharp and the Albert Einstein Institute. Gene Sharp pioneered the academic work on non-violent struggles and he makes many valid points about the prospects of peace movements and disarmament. One point that stood out was his insistence that groups will never give up violence if they believe it will lead to subjugation. The possibility of genuine subjugation is not that important, but it is critical if there is a perception of genuine subjugation. No amount of rational discussion, sharing of facts or highlighting of atrocities will change the outcome of a conflict if a party still feels threatened by subjugation. The only way to break through a logjam of emotional social bonds is through some form of political jujitsu where you leverage social and emotional reality to affect change. This is difficult.

If we want to reduce unnecessary violence, we must address the gap in our toolkit that is preventing us from slowing or stopping the massacres we see unfolding under our very eyes (or computer screens). The end of national conflict is not possible, not is it desirable. The end of violent war is possible. Conflict, group behaviour and social dynamics will be with humans forever and we must therefore create groups and institutions that can work towards affecting change in society that will break through the social bonds that lead to genocide and massacres.

Published on March 10, 2024

The Failing Struggle of Palestinian Human Rights Groups

The ongoing massacre in Gaza marks an unprecedented chapter in Palestine’s tragic history. With over 11,000 civilians brutally killed, half of whom are innocent children, and tens of thousands left physically and emotionally scarred, there’s no comparable violence in Palestine’s past. The closest parallels lie in the horrific massacres of Rwandans in the ’90s, the Rohingya in Myanmar, and the Indonesians under Suharto – hardly humanity’s proudest moments. Though the current Gazan death toll hasn’t reached the hundreds of thousands, as a percentage of the population, it rivals the scale of those atrocities.

Despite this staggering loss of life, Palestinian human rights groups have, regrettably, failed to shift the political landscape, and no state has taken meaningful action to aid the Gazans facing death. Why? After 75 years of conflict, it’s time to ask what’s going wrong. Massive protests, sit-ins, blockades, and media campaigns by these groups have yielded next to nothing.

Having collaborated with some of these groups for the past 15 years, my primary observation is their profound lack of understanding of how political change occurs. They seem oblivious to power structures, influence dynamics, and the intricacies of lobbying. Their view of politics is overly simplistic, fixated on government officials, while they disregard the influential corporations, non-profits, pro-Israel lobby groups, and individuals shaping governmental decisions. Despite advocating for training and research into societal power structures, many Palestinian human rights groups claim to be too occupied with petitions, emails, meetings, and protests. The remarkable failure to recognize that 75 years of effort has fallen short is baffling.

The core issue lies in the human rights groups’ reliance on tools and communication tactics that preach to the choir, missing the mark with the broader audience. In contrast, pro-Israel groups have adeptly engaged across society, working within existing structures to shape a narrative that aligns with mainstream voters and party donors. It’s like the two groups are playing tennis, but the Palestinian human rights groups find themselves on a different court, continually hitting the ball against an impenetrable brick wall. The brick wall may return the ball, but victory against it is impossible.

The primary challenge faced by Palestinian groups is that pro-Israel advocates have successfully shaped a narrative convincing the public that there’s no alternative to the current situation. Politicians and mainstream voters often side with Israel, believing it has a right to defend itself, justifying Israeli aggression – even when it goes too far. This narrative is deeply embedded in Western societies’ power structures. Non-Western societies often view the conflict as not their problem or feel powerless due to the American influence. Until Palestinian human rights groups offer a narrative positioned as a credible alternative to violence, they are destined to fail.

Numerous examples demonstrate alternatives to violence. One crucial mistake made by non-violent advocates is the use of the term “non-violence,” which often conveys pacifism or subjugation. Gene Sharp, years ago, highlighted that given the choice between subjugation and violent resistance, people will choose violence. No population will indefinitely surrender their right to dignity and independence. However, alternatives to violent confrontation exist. The terminology is critical, and I prefer the term “counterviolence.” It implies action and fighting, yet rejects violence as the solution. Numerous examples, from Gandhi and King to the Maori in New Zealand and Mandela, demonstrate the effectiveness of counterviolence. Even the Indian response to the terrorist attacks by Pakistani groups underscores this (link).

To advocates of Palestinian human rights groups, I wish you the best. But more importantly, take the time to understand how politics truly works. Yelling, screaming, email campaigns, and protests are futile unless they disrupt the existing power structure. Ask yourselves: Are your actions challenging the power structure of the society you operate in?

Published on November 18, 2023

Double Standards

I have little time to write these days. Kids, work, priorities. However, the last few days in Israel and Palestine have been shocking – and that says a lot for Israel – Palestine.

In the past four days, every twenty minutes or so, a Palestinian child is killed by Israel. The total is currently at 326 dead children and counting. You can follow the killing of Palestinian children via the organization Defense of Children Palestine.

I do not understand how so many “mainstream” people can justify the death of children as good. The carnage in Israel was real and terrifying for Israelis and to a certain extent, the larger world community. That being said, killing hundreds of people – nearly half being children – in indiscriminate retaliatory attacks cannot be defended. Yet, if you read mainstream newspapers or mainstream news channels, you would never know that Israel is committing war crimes, deepening the crisis and killing children and women who have no responsibility for the crimes of Hamas. I feel like a crazy person.

In Canada, politicians have been completely unable to show even the slightest bit of sympathy for innocent Palestinians. Without any form of shame, Canadian leads have applied a double standard to death. It is shocking and saddening to see the racism and discrimination by so many people in positions of wealth and power. This reality is so terribly saddening because it outlines that Palestinians have no hope of any support, not even moral, from the West. Not only has the West long abandoned Palestinians, the Arab world has too. 2 million Palestinians are trapped in Gaza with no food, no water, no recourse and no hope. Israel is preparing a ground invasion that will likely see high casualty rates on both the Israeli and Palestinian side. The conflict seems worse than it ever has been and the fault, as Haaretz has explained, lies on the Israeli side.

This interview with the editor of Jewish Currents, a centre-left Jewish magazine, does a good job of explaining the conflicting emotions that a select few people have. While some people may have some conflicting feelings about the war, the fact that so many “supporters of Israel” are calling for genocide and vengeance on a biblical scale is what truly depresses me. In Canada, organizations that purport to support human rights, such as the Liberal Party of Canada or the Raoul Wallenberg Center, are oddly silent on the death of children who are not Jewish. This double standard is being applied across the western world by mainstream organizations and people who claim to believe in liberalism and equal rights. Real liberalism does not discriminate. Death does not discriminate. Suffering is felt by all.

So far, the best statement by a Canadian organization or the current escalation is the statement by Independent Jewish Voices, one of the few organizations that actually called for a cease-fire. Death will only bring more death, vengeance will only come back to haunt Israel. As Gandhi said, “an eye for an eye will leave the world blind.” We have become blind to the death of Palestinian children and the situation is only getting worse.

During the siege of Melos in the Peloponnesian wars, the conquering Athenians proudly claimed, “, “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”.[29]

Published on October 12, 2023

On War and Peace

Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, 1212. Credit: Francisco de Paula Van Halen / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

As I wrote the title to this blog post, I thought to myself, “I should really read the book War and Peace”. A few years back, I did watch the excellent BBC mini-series based on Tolstoy’s famed novel and one of the most searing moments in that mini series is when the father learns that he has lost his son in battle. The father’s expression and his decline into deep depression and death brought home that no amount of glory, fame or merit can overcome the abyss of losing your child. As I write this, on father’s day, with two of my own boys, I cannot help but think of all the parents and family who send their children to war – voluntarily or not – and who may very well never hug them again. Why do we do this?

Everyone seems to agree that war ravages horrors on people, the environment, and particularly – the collective and the individual psyche. A war and its consequential traumas can easily cascade down generations, leaving debilitated populations who struggle to advance because they are trapped in the memories and losses of their ancestors. In struggles where no clear wrong party emerged, the sense and desire for vengeance can easily last hundreds of years. At the moment I am reading the excellent book, Bush Runner, the life of Pierre-Esprit Radisson which tells the tale of the french explorer Radisson. He roamed North America, Europe and the Caribbean in the 17th century and through his adventures we see the vengeful wars between the various tribes in eastern North America. The wars between the Iroquois and the Algonquin and Huron, like many wars, only ended when one size was utterly and completely destroyed. Like with all wars, there were too much death, maiming, torture and horror to count. 

It has been said that sport is very much like war, but without the killing. While I do think this analogy is correct, my take is that the way we can understand war best is by looking at sport. Humans love sports. The amount of money, time and resources allocated to training athletes, watching sports, talking about sports and betting on sports is truly stupendous. I could find the numbers somewhere online, but I think it is clear that competitive sports are deeply ingrained in the human identity. The comic Seinfeld poignantly explained that a set of sports fans seem to have no problem cheering on different people as long as they are wearing the same jersey. A player who was on an opposing team last year can very quickly become the hometown darling when he dons the right jersey. What we care about in sport is not the person, nor their history, but rather whether we win. Humans want to win. This competitive spirit can be found even among toddlers who have never been taught to win. My three-year-old insists that he must be the fastest, the strongest and the quickest – we never taught this need to win, it is in him and most other children. Our personal thirst for victory carries over to our favourite sports teams and to our armies. 

If we look to sports for an analogy, we can often see that parents are willing to sacrifice their children’s happiness to satisfy their own un-quenched thirst for glory. How many parents cheer on their kids at hockey games, football games or at the gymnasium to vicariously live their kid’s victory? How many parents who had hoped to go further in sports, secretly (or not so secretly) hope their offspring complete what the parents could not achieve? War is no different. Parents very often see their children not as separate and distinct individuals, but rather as extensions of themselves. The children must bring glory and respect to their parents and their families. In peaceful times this often means becoming a doctor, but in war this can mean heading to the front-lines to sacrifice themselves for country and family. 

Social pressure is perhaps the third most important factor in our willingness to die for war. No child wants to be seen as the wuss. Look at any group of children anywhere on the planet in any culture and we will quickly see that peer pressure and a desire to fit in are present. From the jungles of the amazon to the elite schoolyards of private schools – kids are driven by their peers. The same can be said of adults. So much of what we do, from the things we buy, the things we say, the places we go, and the drive to work are driven by what our peers do. We just want to fit in. When it comes to war, there is no greater glue to pull a society together than a shared life and death conflict. It need not be an existential threat, even a small scale war where our own society is not threatened will create social coalescence around the cause, the war, and the sacrificed children. If we look at sports, a hometown team that is going to a league championship will make sports fans out of nearly everyone in town, even if they had no prior interest in the sport of the players. In a conflict, when we come under physical and psychological attack, this desire to collectively seek vengeance is even stronger. We very rapidly gravitate towards the cultural centre and align with the leadership even if we previously detested them. The examples are too numerous to count – U.S. after 9/11, Germany after WWI and then again during the fire bombings of WWII, or the French after the Franco-Prussian war. We want victory, we want revenge.

This reality of competitiveness, projection and social pressure is the underlying structure for war. Breaking through this reality is the fundamental challenge of the non-violent movement and the anti-war movement. These two movements, which as distinct, have struggled to make progress lately and I would argue it is because many of the people involved in the fight against large scale violence fail to recognize how deeply ingrained and natural it is for humans to want to kill each other. The late and great Gene Sharp wrote extensively at the Albert Einstein Institute on how to effectively wage non-violent battles and even topple dictatorships without bloodshed. Books such as A Force More Powerful or Nonviolence: The History of a Dangerous Idea chronicle successful battles for dignity through non-violence, from the Maoris in New Zealand to the end of the U.S.S.R, but these books do not explain how we can shift society from our tendency to embrace war to a desire to engage in non-violence. Even the word non-violence is counter productive. Non-violence or even worse, pacifism, gives most people the impression of giving up, of surrendering to an enemy. As discussed above, human nature is such that victory is critical to identify and social cohesion is essential to life. Therefore, any concept that implies limp submission will receive vigorous antagonism on the part of mainstream society. Gandhi attempted to create a new word, Satyagraha, to denote a fight for truth, but the word never caught on. As an entrepreneur myself I can assure everyone of something self-evident: branding matters. The peace movement has a branding problem. 

Almost all wars in history, and there have been a lot, have been forgotten by most people. Who regularly thinks of the English Civil wars of the 17th century, the hundred year war between France and England, or the battles for the control of China in the 4th century BCE? Outside historians and history buffs, very few people would be able to identify who was the protagonist and antagonist in most human conflicts. Even more recent conflicts such as WWI, the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the wars in the Congo, the wars in the Middle East, or the wars in Afghanistan are considered by most people to have been useless losses of life and resources. If we generally agree, as a society, that most conflict is ultimately pointless, why do we still cheer on our country or sports team when a new war breaks out? While most conflicts have been relegated to the dustbin of collective memory, there is one conflict that looms large in our memory: WWII. No one, anywhere on the planet is unaware of the second world war. And nearly no one can rapidly point out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. 

If there is one war that had great branding it is most certainly WW2. I recently read a book titled Leaving World War II Behind which attempts to dispel the myth that WWII was a noble and good war or that it was an unavoidable war.  While I tend to agree with the premise, the book itself makes the error of relying on logic to argue its point. The author identifies the various tactics used by the U.S. to goad Japan into war, he points out how Hitler proposed mass deportation of Jews as an alternative to their murder, and how the measures used by the Allies, such as dropping atomic bombs on population centres and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians was far from moral. All of his points may be true and valid, but when it comes to cheering on the home-team – no one is going to say that Hitler and the Nazis did not need to be taught a lesson. Estimates of the number of dead in WWII are about 75-95 million, with over 25 million coming from Russia and 7 million Jews, homosexuals, and dissenters in the Nazi death camps. It is my firm conviction that Hitler could have been defeated and the death camps prevented if we had engaged in strong nonviolent action and non-cooperation in Europe and beyond. This is of course one of those un-provable historical “what ifs”, but how many strikers would have had to die, how many people who had had to sacrifice themselves in public view for us to change the trajectory of Germany – surely not 80 million. Regardless of this hypothetical viewpoint, the point I wish to make is that until we create a strong branding for the non-violent, non-cooperation movement, we will not be able to stop war.

The rallying of the western world to the side of Ukraine is testament to our deeply ingrained belief that war can still, despite all the evidence, be used for good. Putin is horrible, no doubt, but so is war. Violent conflict between states has only two possible outcomes. First, one side can be completely and utterly devastated to the point of submission (Germany and Japan in WWII, the Britons in France, the Palestinians in Palestine, the Huron in Canada,…) or secondly, a negotiated peace settlement can be made (Germany in WWI, Ireland independence, Indian independence, U.S. independence). Some peace settlements are better than others, but at least they are peace settlements without complete devastation of one side. As Margaret Thatcher used to hammer home, there is no alternative. War only ends in one of these two outcomes. The question of what brings people to the peace table is documented in the book How Wars End by Dan Reiter. Ending war is not easy, fun or straightforward, but it must always happen. The choice we must make is how much death must happen before it ends. In the case of Ukraine, I do not know how this will end, but as long as Ukrainians are willing to die with western weapons and training and as long as Russians are willing to to die, the war will continue. Ukraine is unlikely to invade Moscow and destroy Russia and Russia is unlikely to settle a peace that leaves Nato in Ukraine – so the war must continue. This simple logic is true of all conflicts. 

 What is the point of all this? The historian John Keegan outlines his view of our relationship with War in his lecture series War and Our World and basically outlines how war is “collective killing for collective purpose” and comes from our group hunting skills that allowed groups of people to cooperate for the good of the tribe. There is nothing more fundamental than working together to bring food to the table. Undoing the human spirit is hopeless. We must therefore turn to the only way we have ever achieved progress: education. It has been said by the great H.G. Wells, that “Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe. Let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow. For the truth is the greatest weapon we have.” As with Gandhi, who preached satyagraha – roughly translated to truth force – human society and civil society must find a way to teach the power of non-violence, the fallacy and consequences of armed conflict and educate children that justice is best achieved through the painful, difficult and counter-intuitive practice of negotiating with people we do not like or respect. Breaking free of our natural tendencies and elevating the better angels of our nature is hard work. To make this shift to non-violence compelling, we must use the same sophistication in marketing and communication that the war mongers use. We must find a way to link victory through non-violence with glory. 

Part II : Glorious Victory and Peace (coming soon)

Published on June 18, 2023