“What is the most peaceful place you have visited?” When asked this question, most people misunderstand; they describe picturesque places with tall, lush green trees; still water bodies with the surface being reflected off by warm and glittery sunlight; tall, snowy mountains dominating the picture frame; places where there aren’t many people in sight and where silence serves as their companion. But, unknowingly, they are answering the question, “Where have you felt most at peace?” and not the original question that was asked. The two questions have only a slight difference that is often overlooked. However, it is this slight difference that makes each answer vary. If we scrutinize these answers, we can assume that the persons have understood the question but choose to answer otherwise because they (or as a matter of fact, anyone) haven’t actually had the privilege of visiting a place that fosters genuine peace.
The world is a cruel and brutal place, with little place for generosity and love. It’s hard to remember the day when upsetting and dismaying headlines were not littered across the newspaper. The status quo of the world is an unfortunate truth we’ve got familiar with over the past few decades. What’s ironic is that most of these problems emerge from industrially advanced societies. With breakthroughs and advancements taking place in the world every few months, it’s almost as if with every new invention, people are becoming miserly with their inherent values like respect for and kindness towards others.
Imagine a cockfighting pit; now visualize a bigger, stronger rooster that represents the terror in the world today, dominating the shrunken and exhausted weaker rooster symbolizing all the good that’s left in the world. Terror keeps viciously attacking the oblivious Good, cornering it in a round pit that has no corners, which makes the sight seem even more terrifying. Soon enough the latter gives out tired and scarred; it lies on the ground, life leaving its body with each passing moment. What happens after? Terror remains the undefeated, reigning champion of the pit.
The word “Idyll” is described in the dictionary as an ‘extremely happy and peaceful period or situation, typically an unsustainable one.’ Why is it unsustainable? Abominable and horrid things happen everyday; we can’t possibly stop all of them from happening overnight. But the bigger problem is that for every uplifting and encouraging thing that happens around the world, there are numerous other horrendous things happening somewhere else. This is a seesaw that will never balance, let alone the day it will incline towards all the positive and good things in the world.
All of this unrest in the world is because of the unrest in the minds of the people. Long forgotten are virtues like benevolence and humanity; they have been replaced by hatred and cruelty. People feel the need to assert their opinions, and their faith in the harshest way possible. In fact, the raging conflict plaguing the world has started resembling a trend: it involves silent spectators who get to sit back on their plush couches, type a few pitying words for those suffering across the world, maybe get a sympathetic hash tag trending on Twitter, and that’s pretty much it.
The truth is always bitter and it is safe to conclude that we’re not anywhere close to what a peaceful society should be like. It’s been said quite often during times of distress, that ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ In such unsettling times, the one thing we can hope for is a united vision – one that assuages the damages at least at a superficial level. It is hard to imagine a world without all this turbulence and negativity, but we’ve got to start somewhere. My vision, in particular, may sound a little far-fetched; but it’s not. Instances that straight out attack humanity aren’t supposed to happen. Whatever happened to the days when people left their doors open at night and slept without any apprehension of an intruder in the house?
My idea of the most peaceful place is a new and improved version of Earth where three mass shootings don’t take place in the span of just five days; where rape victims don’t have to write a letter to their assaulters to justify themselves; where a singer isn’t shot on stage during her own concert; where terrorist groups don’t tarnish a month of charity, prayer and self restraint into a time of terror and bloodshed; where people of colour aren’t ruthlessly shot down because they were assumed to be reaching for their ‘guns’; where the LGBTQ+ community isn’t bombarded with bullets by a hypocrite who resents their very existence; where an Islamophobic, racist and egotistical individual isn’t a plausible candidate to serve as the President of a superpower nation; where I don’t have to keep listing horrifying and toe-curling incidents just to make everyone realize that there is much to be done before everything is right in the world.
Earth 2.0 doesn’t have to be a utopian world. If everything were perfect, it would not only be a monotonous society but also a stagnant one. There is so much diversity in the world, that conflicts in the future are bound to happen, it’s something that can’t be avoided. But as someone once wisely said, “Peace is not absence of conflict; it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”