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Last Updated: 01/17/2012
Manifestation of Inherent Human Elements in Creating Values for Sustainable Peace
Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D.

Founder and Editor of Peace Education: an International Journal, Dr. Surya Nath Prasad offers an empassioned perspective on conflict and violence within the framework of "valuelessness" resulting from "widespread miseducation for a priveleged few and non-education" for many. Prasad argues for the creation of values for sustainable peace and nonviolence through a holistic approach incorporating body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit as essential, inherent human elements.

Today, every part of the world is in the grip of valuelessness, with its expression of mindless killing of innocent people, not only by terrorists, extremists and naxals (in India), but by their own people, own relations, kin and clans, and by killing themselves, as well. In my opinion, we are all crippled. Some are crippled physically, some vitally, some mentally, some intellectually, some spiritually, and many are crippled in all parts of their being. Because we are handicapped, we have created disvalues of exploitation for ourselves and others. We commit violence against ourselves by ending our lives or becoming mentally ill or mad. Madness over power, money, fame, beauty, and other passions is common. Indeed, the world has become like a lunatic asylum. I attribute this to past and present educational systems, which have led to widespread miseducation for a privileged few and non-education for many people. This is inhuman, antihuman and non-human.

Disvalues leading to violence are inherent in the system of 139 non-democratic countries where a handful of people have the power to declare which persons or groups should die. In 50 to 60 democratic or quasi-democratic countries, the economic and political elite have developed disvalues to commit violence by manipulating power, money and resources. Disvalues have taken lives of 20 million people in World War I and 40 million in World War II. Since the United Nations was founded in 1945, 20 million more people have fallen victim to death due to disvalues. 110 million deaths were estimated for reasons of disvalues in the 20th century. Disvalues have been leading to ‘genocide,’ ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘global terrorism.’ Disvalues have created the violence of hunger, disease and ignorance.

This state of valuelessness has given birth to value education. Value education is remedial education. When there is crisis of values or valuelessness in any society, its poor guardians try to inculcate the predetermined or prevalent values in the minds of students in the classrooms through their teachers and in the homes through their parents, and people in the larger society through religious preachers. But these are not real values to be practiced and lived by the people. They may give temporary relief, but they fail to cure the disease from which they suffer.

The authors of Vedas, Buddha, Krishna, Mahavir, Christ, Muhammad, other true saints and sages, and real scientists are not the only creators and of values; but rather all men and women without any discrimination of caste, creed, colour, race, gender, nation, region, language, etc. are able to create values and to practice them. Sometimes, creators of values had to experience great humiliation, torture and even death at the hands of the followers of prevalent or predetermined values. For example, for the creation of values Christ was crucified, Socrates was poisoned to death, John Huss was burned at the stake, Bruno was burned, Plato was thrown into prison, Galileo was forced to recant. Though they were insulted for the creation of values while they were living, they are praised and worshiped for the creation of values after their execution.

I would like to say to the elders of the society, i.e. teachers, intellectuals, parents, religious preachers and political leaders, to change their mindset concerning the teaching of pre-determined values, which would certainly lead them to create and follow disvalues, which are detrimental to both individuals and society. Truly, values cannot be taught, for in doing so, their effects will not be stable, and this will create disvalues. Values are the products of manmade education. Values like democracy, justice, peace, tolerance, nonviolence, altruism and other values are the integral manifestation of the elements--body, vitality, mind, intellect and spirit--which constitute every man and woman, and the non-realization of these elements leads man to create disvalues like non-democracy, injustice, war, intolerance, violence, selfishness, and other disvalues followed and practiced.

Therefore, let all people have the awareness, opportunities and facilities to unfold integrally all the five basic elements as stated above, to be creators of values to follow and live for sustainable peace everywhere. No person (man or woman) is privileged toward any one or all of the five elements – physical or vital or mental or intellectual or spiritual. All men and women are equally endowed with these five elements to be manifested integrally for creating values.

In this regard, there should be a joint responsibility among teachers, parents, religious preachers and political leaders, and now leaders of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to facilitate awareness, opportunities and facilities for all people to unfold and realize these elements. However, the government’s role should be above all in the sense of providing opportunities and facilities to all for the integral manifestation of these elements in men and women. And the elders (parents, teachers, religious preachers and political leaders) should also be very much aware of the five elements of humankind, because they also have the same elements to be unfolded, leading to the creation of values and facilitating opportunities for youngsters to unfold their elements integrally in order to create values to live by for sustainable peace and nonviolence.

Surya Nath Prasad, Ph. D. is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Peace Education: An International Journal; former Visiting Professor of Peace Studies at Kyung Hee University, Republic of Korea; and Executive Vice President of the International Association of Educators for World Peace.