A System for Peace

I am always trying to be more efficient. Or, more precisely, I am always thinking about my need to be more efficient. And, one of my dreams is to become really efficient at having peace as a featured part of my life. I long for a system for personal peace.

The problem is, I’m not sure that peace can be that neatly arranged or packaged. After all systems have a tendency to fail.

We see systems fail around us constantly. In fact, system failure is one of our most popular topics of conversation with our friends and acquaintances. “You won’t believe what happened to me today . . .” we begin. And then we spin our story designed to evoke incredulity and amazement at the way someone or some system has failed. Fast food restaurants that aren’t fast. Parcel delivery services that tell us our address is not valid — by mailing a card to that same address (which we received, by the way, because every one knows this is a valid address). Publishing companies that can’t ship a review copy of a text book.

And with each new failure of a system, we sigh and long for a better way.

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Yet, systems engineers often point out that a system failure can often be corrected by addressing a very small part of the process. For each piece of the process, no matter how small, is extremely important to success.

In a system for peace, small pieces are important, as well. We look at the major conflicts around the world, in our own nation, and our own backyard and we wonder, “Can anything be done?” Often we respond with a “no.”

The truth is that peace systems work when people are actively engaged. Your piece of peace, regardless how small, is important. If you want to be part of a peace solution, you have to address the conflict appropriately. Your system will always fail if you don’t.

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