Humans are obsessed with categorizing. We split the people and things of the world into millions of groups and give them names, characteristics, and stereotypes. Ethnicity, sexuality, religion, political view, genus and species: these all reflect the human’s constant need to note, name, and categorize. Still not convinced? Look at a dictionary. The fact that it was even created proves a tendency of the human mind to solidify things, their category, their characteristics, and their definition. Most brains do not do well with the abstract noun. Words like love, justice, fairness, and peace bounce about and cannot be tamed by a definition. This doesn’t stop humans though. Our constant need to classify and define still raises the incessant question: what is peace?
Dinka Corkalo, an associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Zagreb in Croatia, writes on peace education, its history, and its relevance to related fields of education such as psychology, sociology, and philosophy. In her book, Peace Education, she asserts that peace is broken down into teachable components and identifies these components in order to introduce peace as a subject of education. According to Corkalo, there exist two categories of peace: negative and positive. Negative peace exists in the absence of full-fledged violence, large-scale conflict, and war, while “[p]ositive peace involves the development of a society in which, except for the absence of direct violence, there is no structural violence or social injustice” (Corkalo). She believes that working proactively towards positive peace is the key to preventing conflict.
Corkalo claims the study of peace and its psychological, political, and sociological origins will provide a more efficacious, precautionary solution so as to prevent conflict rather than resolve existing conflict. The author acknowledges that peace is an abstract term whose definition varies throughout history, but argues that in times of world crises, peace’s meaning and implications become more commonly agreed upon. She brings up the creation of the United Nations after WWII and the atomic bomb, in order to exhibit the willingness of nations to strive collectively for peace post-disaster.
Corkalo claims that humans have natural psychological instincts that result in protectiveness and pride for the social, religious, political, or racial group they belong to. This sense of self-importance and righteousness is the root problem of most conflict. Corkalo believes that peace education would work to create intercultural training programs that break down the barriers of misconceptions, stereotypes, and discriminations, while maintaining the worth and validity of each social group.
Corkalo’s proposal is ideal. I agree that giving the young generation the key to intercultural understanding, equal opportunity, and worth would bring great peace. The decomposition of peace for the purpose of education is a fascinating process that unveils its...