[Above artwork by Tsuruko Yamakazi]
I think that peace is the active and difficult resistance to the temptation of war; it is the prerogative and the obligation of the injured. Peace is something that has to be vigilantly maintained; it is a vigilance, and it involves temptation, and it does not mean we as human beings are not aggressive. It does not mean that we do not have murderous impulses. This is a mistaken way of understanding non-violence. Many people think, “Oh, we need to be non-violent; humans can somehow get violence out of their souls; we’re not constituted by aggression.” Rather, I think it is precisely because we’re constituted with aggression, it’s precisely because we are capable of waging war, and of striking back, and of doing massive injury, that peace becomes a necessity. Peace is a certain resistance to the terrible satisfactions of war. It’s a commitment to living with a certain kind of vulnerability to others and susceptibility to being wounded that actually gives our individual lives meaning. And I think this way of viewing things is a much harder place to go, so to speak. One can’t just do it alone, either. I think it needs to be institutionalized. It needs to be part of a community ethos. I think in fact it needs to be part of an entire foreign policy.