Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A World at Peace...

Guess who's only 12 years away from retirement?

No, not Lavar Burton, although the rainbow reader is 50.

It's the Peace Symbol!

Seems like only yesterday it was just a lonely circle...

In honor of this special day, Happy Birthday Peace has been set up so that you may create your own version of this wonderful symbol. As for myself, instead of creating some unschooled Photoshop monstrosity, I decided to study the philosophy I've come to advocate, but never really explore.

For starters, why do we fight? Religious posturing? Not if any of these books/scholars/scriptures are taken to heart. Let's explore...


Blessed are the gentle,for they shall inherit the Earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who have been persecuted on account of justice, for theirs is the sovereignty of heaven.
Jesus in Matthew 5:5-10

Tzu-Kung asked: "Is there one principle upon which one's whole life may proceed?" The Master replied, "Is not Reciprocity such a principle? ...what you do not yourself desire, do not put before others."
Analects of Confucius, 14.22

Those brave in killing will be killed. Those brave in not killing will live.Of these two, one is beneficial, and one is harmful.
Lao-zi, Tao Te Ching 73

Hate is never conquered by hate. Hate is conquered by love. This is an eternal law.
Dhammapada 1

God adjudges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear: that Truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living. Know that we attaineth God when we loveth, and only victory endures in consequences of which no one is defeated.
Prayer for Peace

What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 31a

The wars of mankind are like children's fights -all meaningless, pitiless and contemptible.
Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, Masnavi-I Ma'navi

Below: A Sufi dancer in Cairo, Egypt

All Friends everywhere, this I charge you, which is the word of the Lord God unto you all, Live in peace, in Christ, the way of peace, and therein seek the peace of all men, and no man's hurt.
George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends

Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us, I believe, are all our brothers and sisters, why are there constant troubles in this world? Why do winds and waves rise in the
ocean surrounding us? I only earnestly wish that the wind will soon puff away all the clouds which are hanging over the tops of the mountains.

Prayer for Peace

There is not one soul whose conscience does not testify that in this day there is no more important matter in the world than that of Universal Peace.

If anyone slew a person—unless it be for murder or spreading mischief in the land—it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.
Koran, 5.32

We pray that the wisdom of the great tao be widely spread on earth. Shining the way to all creatures of nature's birth. May all humanity be redeemed, and our whole world know peace. And may the places we meet to worship you be granted safety's lease.
The Five Vows

Below: A Caodaist Temple in Viet Nam

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
Sutrakritanga 1.11.33



But then again, isn't it taking books/scholars/scriptures to heart that, more often than naught, causes/justifies/catalyzes injustice and war? **sigh**

And sorry're not as published on teh interwebs. Not to mention I was too nervous to search the Scientology website.

But I how did the peace symbol come to be?

Design Boom has a great article on the origins of the symbol as whole on the world stage:

The anti-nuclear emblem or the peace sign is one of the most widely known symbols in the world. It was invented on the request of Lord Bertrand Russel, head of the British 'campaign for nuclear disarmament' or CND and sponsor of mass marches and sit-downs in London. The graphic symbol was designed bygerald holtom, a member of the CND movement, as the badge of the 'direct action committee againstnuclear war', for the first demonstration against Aldermaston (a British research center for the development of nuclear weapons) in 1958. Holtom, a professional designer and a graduate of the London Royal College of Arts, had originally considered using the Christian cross symbol within a circle as the motif for the march, but various priest she had approached with the suggestion were not happy at the idea of using the cross on a protest march.

Interesting...a non-denominational approach to representational design. Which begs the question, where would this symbol be if had stuck to its Christian guns? Read more of the article HERE.

Of course, Design Boom also points out that "there have been claims that the symbol has older, occult or anti-Christian associations and that it was a 'symbol of death'." I don't care, I like the first explanation better.

What about the other peace sign, victory, that you can make with your hands? Well, the peace sign or victory salute is said to have begun in Europe during World War II when the V for victory (victoire in French, vrijheid in Dutch) sign was painted on walls in the dark as a symbol of freedom from occupying forces.

Oddly enough, it was also used as a sound, with the dot-dot-dot-dash (di-di-di-dah) of Morse code. Coincidentally this sounds a lot like the opening bars of Beethoven's Symphony No.5 (and the Roman numeral for 5 is V!). As a result these bars were (along with the Morse code signal) broadcast by the BBC constantly during the war and became known as 'Fate knocking at the door'. Very cool.

The victory sign was described as 'the most amazing piece of propaganda devised in this war'.
It became immortalized when Britain's wartime leader Winston Churchill was repeatedly filmed using the sign as a victory salute. The sign was very widely used by peace movements in the 1960's and 70's as a symbol of victory for peace and truth, until Dick Nixon made it even more famous.
Want more peace-related goodness? Why not find out what happened this week in peace history? You'd be surprised how much peace you don't hear about. For instance, today is the anniversary of the WWI Paris Peace Conference.

On another front --this is something that relates on a whole different level-- this is a COMPREHENSIVE collection of historical progression in the United States Peace Corps. It's a pretty amazing account all things Corps. But what I found interesting was the story of its inception. Ideas+Words=Change.

Little known fact, while it was one of Kennedy's most enduring legacies, it started with fortuitous and unexpected moment. Kennedy, arriving late to speak to students at the University of Michigan (Go Bucks!) on October 14, 1960, found himself thronged by a crowd of 10,000 students at 2 o'clock in the morning. Speaking extemporaneously, the then-candidate challenged American youth to devote a part of their lives to living and working in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. He casually asked if students would back his effort to form a Peace Corps? Their response was immediate: within weeks, students organized a petition drive and gathered 1,000 signatures in support of the idea.

Below: President Kennedy greets the very first Peace Corps volunteers in August, 1962.

It's amazing what a dialog can start...

Toss me some ipecac...

I'm full. My dance card is packed to the gills. What's worse, my metaphors have lost their steam...

I'm stuffed this week, deadlines be damned. So the (now) traditional Wednesday post has been pushed back to Thursday.

My apologies.

But if you were wondering what might be on the docket for tomorrow, here's a hint:

Photo source.

It's there, if you want it.