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\”Peace\” – Word of the Week

Definition of the word of the week (PEACE): Inner contentment; serenity

Dutch philosopher and theologian, Benedict de Spinoza, wrote, “Peace is not an absence of war; it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, and justice.”

When I think about peace, the movie Starman starring Jeff Bridges comes to mind. He was an alien explorer who visited Earth. Like us, his earthly body wore out fairly quickly and he had to return home or perish. While on his last legs, he sluggishly moved across the desert until his spaceship returned for him. Within a broad beam of light, a light snow-like substance fell. As soon as it touched his skin, he was instantly rejuvenated, felt tremendous joy and was ready to go home.

When we reach our final days, I think we will experience something similar. Our bodies will wear out and physical tasks will be much more challenging. Then, we will feel an overpowering sense of peace and contentment and be ready to head to our home. The sense of peace will be so powerful that all of our earthly cares will vanish like an ephemeral mist. If that’s not the case and something else happens, please come back and let me know.

But, we can have peace throughout the course of our lives as well. To know lasting peace, we have to do several things. First, we must reconcile ourselves with our Creator and other people. We can voice our differences but eventually, we will have to move on. Holding onto resentments and remembering past wrongs that we have done or that have been done to us only harms us. Anger and grudges form insurmountable barriers to inner peace and harmony.

Sometimes, letting go of something is difficult. But, peace does have a price tag. As the American aviator and author Amelia Earhart noted, “Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things.”

Are we in a state of mind to embrace this virtue and have the courage to apply it in our daily lives?

The following quotations are intended to assist in explaining and exemplifying the word of the week:

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety-first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living, and the get-rich-quick theory of life. Theodore Roosevelt, President

Money may be the husk of many things, but not the kernel. It brings you food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; acquaintances, but not friends; servants, but not faithfulness; days of joy, but not peace and happiness. Henrik Ibsen, Dramatist

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if they are to be ultimately at peace with themselves. Abraham Maslow, Psychologist

Avoid popularity if you would have peace. Abraham Lincoln, President

Nothing that I can do will change the structure of the universe. But maybe, by raising my voice I can help the greatest of all causes – goodwill among men and peace on earth. Albert Einstein, Physicist

Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust and only secondarily on institutions such as courts of justice and police. Albert Einstein, Physicist

Until he extends his circle of compassion to include all living things, man will not himself find peace. Albert Schweitzer, Philosopher

Right human relations is the only true peace. Alice Bailey

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace. The soul that knows it not, knows no release from little things; knows not the livid loneliness of fear. Amelia Earhart, American aviator & author

Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms. Andrew Jackson, President

Peace is more precious than a piece of land. Anwar Sadat, Egyptian President

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice. Baruch, Benedict de Spinoze, Dutch philosopher and theologian

In moderating, not satisfying desires, lies peace. Ben Hecht, Novelist

Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace. Buddha

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S. Lewis, Author

No sacrifice short of individual liberty, individual self-respect, and individual enterprise is too great a price to pay for peace. Clark Minor

Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn’t be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice. Corazon Aquino, Philippine President

Never for the sake of peace and quiet deny your convictions. Dag Hammarskjold, U.N. Secretary General

In His will is our peace. Dante, Italian philosopher & poet

Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin. Dwight Eisenhower, President

Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace. Dwight Eisenhower, President

COL Patrick Beer, the Dean of Students and Commandant of Cadets at Georgia Military College, prepares this study guide each week as part of the institution’s character education program. He welcomes comments and suggestions from readers. He can be contacted by phone, 478-445-2710 or by email, pbeer@gmc.cc.ga.us