The Way of a Peaceful Creation
Hearing creation stories always thrill me as what was once a speck of a thought could turn into such a huge impact on the society and culture we find ourselves. These stories span more than the traditional Judaeo-Christian Adam and Eve, or even the Iriquois’ turtle and
mother, but even span into ideologies and such as is read in Invitation to Peace Studies the beginnings of modern “nonviolent action” (122). This is further developed by Henry David Thoreau in his essay on “Civil Disobedience.” Within both of these sources there is an underlying call to action that can’t be ignored. When powers at hand are getting out of control it is up to the people to stand up in nonviolent action against the threat that is either being imposed or quietly setting up ambush.
Treating nonviolent action as a method of war is important to the rationalization and justification of it. Many people unfortunately believe that we can not live without war or violence and that humans are programmed for it, though war and violence are a means to death. Taking the non-combative course is necessary but must still take on some characteristics of war. So much energy and time is devoted to running scenarios and planning for the worst and best scenarios, and nonviolent action requires the same if not a little less of this. If this sort of discourse was spoken more often in real war situations we would certainly see a much more rational means to an end of the war. The act of war isn’t reserved for whole countries violently fighting interstate wars but is also standing up against an institution or program, law, etc. to positively affect our own situations on behalf of humans and their rights.
A population growing restless is a threat to the order and governance of a government that is why peaceable solutions need to happen when these arise. Gene Sharp “described 198 different nonviolent actions used in dozens of nonviolent campaigns across diverse societies and eras” (122) but perhaps some of these nonviolent campaigns came too late. As is later pointed out in the text some of them moved on to actual wars within only a few years time. Then, I have to wonder how many heard the call to start speaking out in a positive light to try and quell the storm rather than waiting. Thoreau explains it just as I’d imagine that “they will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret.” The regret paints the first sign of a brushed off obligation that one holds. The idea of waiting means they already have a goal in mind but have only time between them and that goal. Waiting is sometimes something that’s inevitable but actively waiting spells a totally different story.
The truth that is making the distance between action and inaction lesser is the availability of facts and methods. “Never again will people be…faced with inventing tactics on their own” (122) to combat what ails us as a nation. I have waited long enough to have the guilt to begin weighing on me. If I’m getting discouraged because no one is standing up and saying “Enough!” then maybe it’s time someone like me does. There is enough good intention in this world that could strengthen the pleas and add formula and further planning to such an outcry. There is a lot that goes into organizing and pulling off such a strong feat with building momentum. But as with all creation stories it could be your spark that starts the new beginning.
Thoreau, Henry David. “Civil Disobedience.” Blackboard. Sdccd.blackboard.com. 1849. web.2 Oct. 2016
Wood, Houston. Invitation to Peace Studies. Oxford. Oxford University Press. 2016.
Within every moment of our lives there are decisions that need to be made. Forks in the road in which you, the traveler, must decide which path to take. Small moments such as your morning coffee: homemade or Dunkin Donuts? To greater moments: college or vocation? Either way it is these moments that define us. They shape us. They create a unique story and perspective into who we are. It was in one of these simple opportunities when I had decided to move to San Diego.
I had been afforded the wonderful opportunity to be in a relationship with a great guy for four years. In these four years I had found my strong ability to settle down. To change small habits of my own to fit what made him comfortable. To understand how best to address or go about handling situations with him. And to build a small tolerance to being alone all though he was off and out with his friends. Ultimately it was in this that I recognized my ability to establish longevity and common grounds. It was also in this where I had lost major parts of myself. The man everyone loved, the one that he had ultimately fallen in love with.
During this lovely relationship, I had been introduced to my friend Austin Stannius. (You have read about him before) Being as he’s in the Marines and stationed in San Diego, conversation often turned from our books to the fun that he was having out there. Weather, stories, and experiences had sounded like an amazing endeavor. I began to check out what was really going on out there. I fell in love with the pictures and the weather reports. I learned they had a football team, the Chargers, Coronado Island was a huge tourist attraction, and La Jolla hosted some of the finest restaurants in all San Diego. My interest was aroused. I had always wanted to go to the west coast but I had never truly looked into what it would be like.
On October 1st 2011, the lovely relationship aforementioned, came to the end it was destined for. Holding my head high as best I could I continued to work, read, smoke, and drink as usual. I began hanging out with friends to prevent myself from slumping into the looming depression. The nights I was forced to spend alone would be spent in solemn numbness. An occasional tear, or thousand, but I kept my thoughts from drifting. They would only feed the monster in the corner with the red eyes. Made of wisps of imaginary darkness heavy enough to drag one down, hold him there, and torture him there. A fight that would only end in surrender before the beast would hurl one into it’s dark cave, cold and lonely. I had to pretend it wasn’t there. It called to me everywhere and yet I had to keep on.
Before long, I was on a roll. Social life blossomed again, new friends and situations. People genuinely interested in me. Interesting people of which I couldn’t learn enough about. Friends who lent an ear, gave advice, offered living space, made me smile, danced the night away, enjoyed each others company so much there was no need for any television, and all around great people. There was a hitch. The decision had already been made. It was several weeks in the planning, but it was now time for me to move on. I had convinced myself of that.
It had actually been weeks. I knew of San Diego. I also knew of the constraints my work put on my quality of life and writing. Writing. That’s what I’d love to do. I wrote three books, two in the years I held a manager position, working 60-70 hours in a week. “What could I do if I had more time?”
When I was a young boy, I always watched Emeril Lagasse cook. When I was old enough to get into a serving position, I wanted to work as a fine dining restaurant manager for Emeril Lagasse. A beautiful life goal right? I accomplished this. I loved it. But I then began to ask myself, What else? I don’t feel like that is the top of the ladder for me, but it was the top of that ladder in my life. What else can you do there? Stay – and be on top of that goal ladder and know you made it or, Jump! Jump to the next ladder that extends past this current ladder, gets you higher in the proverbial ladder maze of life.
Scary as the leap is it will prove worth it. Even if this one extends only fifteen feet above the last, I’m still further.
It is with this thinking that I chose to pick up and move everything to San Diego. Press the Re-set button. Bring my life lessons, experiences, and goals with me for a trip to the next big thing. Feb. 20th I begin my trip. I intend to stop at Myrtle Beach, Memphis T.N., the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, and Vegas. I will be taking pictures and posting as much as I can here from thoughts to fears, woes to victories, and scary to funny.
See you soon, and thank you for taking time to read this blog!
Caleb A. Mertz