Blogging for Peace and Other Matters

It’s only the second day since my resolve to blog every day until the end of the year, and I’m already finding excuses why I should bail on idea. Too tired. No ideas. Nothing to say.

Well, that’s not exactly true. I’ve been planning on doing a follow-up to the Blog4Peace project I participated in on November 4th, but the drift of life had me in its grip. I suppose now is as good a time as ever to offer my retrospective, even though that day is long past.

I’ve been a peace blogger since 2012, though I’m not sure why I decided to participate in the first place. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause. People always talk about the human race as if we are warmongers, and yes, some people are, most notably those who make money and take power from wars, but think about it. How many wars have you personally started? For the most part, we (you and me, anyway) are peace lovers. We shy away from violence. Most of us don’t even start personal conflicts, though sometimes we do unwillingly get involved in contretemps we don’t quite know how to end.

Nor do I believe that nature itself is peaceful.

Just think about it — there you are, having a nice pleasant walk through the woods, having a picnic in a meadow, or perhaps standing on top of a mountain. All is peaceful. Or is it? If your ears were hypersensitive, as is the hero from my decade-old work-in-progress:

All seemed silent, still.

His ears became attuned to the quiet, and he heard insects cricking and chirring and buzzing.

Then other sounds registered, sounds so faint several seconds passed before he comprehended what he was hearing: the relentless hunger of nature. The larger prairie creatures and the most minute devoured each other in a cacophony of crunching, tearing, ripping, gnashing, grinding.

At the realization he was sharing space with things that must be fed, he took a step backward and bumped into a tree, a gnarled oak that hadn’t been there a moment ago. Leaning against the ancient tree, he heard the roots reaching out, creeping, grasping, wanting, needing. He jerked away from the tree and fell to hands and knees. Blades of grass moaned under his weight, and the screams of wildflowers being murdered by more aggressive vegetation almost deafened him.

He opened his mouth to add his own shrieks to the clamor, but closed it again and cupped his ears when he became aware of a long sonorous undulation deep beneath the ground. The heartbeat of the earth.

Yeah. Peace.

If we expand peace to a microscopic or even a cosmic plane, we see a stasis created by opposite but equal forces in conflict.

And yet . . . and yet . . .

On November 4, hundreds, maybe thousands of people were peacefully blogging about peace, creating peaceful images, sharing peaceful words, contemplating peace, visiting each other’s peace blogs. A lovely day. A peaceful day.

We may not have stopped wars or violence. We may or may not have attained peace within ourselves, may or may not have been at peace with our world.

But we mattered.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

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If Everyone Wants Peace, Why are there Wars?

Yesterday, along with thousands of other people, I blogged for peace. If you saw my peace post, you will know that my message focused on being at peace with the world rather than world peace. I don’t believe in “world peace” as a cause, though of course, I do wish for a world at peace.

I can feel your hackles rise and can hear your outraged “What sort of insensitive clod are you? How can you not believe in ‘world peace’ as a cause?” For the record, let me state that I, personally, have never started a war. I don’t think I’ve ever even bloodied another person accidentally or otherwise, and even if I were prone to violence, I still would not be creating world havoc. The truth is, wars don’t just happen. Wars are something politicians and other reprehensible characters create, and never on my behalf and always for their own ends. To say I believe in “world peace” would be like saying I believe in politicians telling the truth. It’s a nice sentiment, but isn’t going to happen until those creating the problem decide to stop creating it.

Traditionally, the United States is a peaceful country. Or at least its citizenry is. We have never wanted war. Politicians, military advisors, tycoons, and other greedy characters are the hawks among us, and they not only have created wars, they have inveigled us into accepting their dictates, sometimes on pain of death. During WWI, so many young men ignored the draft that the only way the warmongers could force them to fight in a war that 90% of USA citizens did not want was to make draft avoidance punishable by death.

A few years later, when world hostilities were fomented anew, the citizens of the USA again did not want to go to war. It took Roosevelt’s manipulations to get people irate enough to want to go. Some of you might have heard but do not believe that Roosevelt knew about the attack on Pearl Harbor and allowed it to occur anyway, but it is the truth. The USA and Britain had broken the purple codes (so-called because that was the color of the folder the codes were kept in) in time to warn those at Pearl Harbor, but Roosevelt and his hawkish advisors chose not to give the warning in order to coerce the USA into the war. (They did manage to move their newest and best warships and submarines out of the line of fire, though.)

Killing is not a basic instinct. Many of today’s — and yesterday’s — video games were developed by the military because studies had shown that repeated images of violence and death inured people to killing. During World War Two, as many as 85% of soldiers fired over enemies’ heads or did not fire at all. After World War Two, there was a concerted effort by the military to overcome this natural reluctance to kill, and apparently they succeeded because during close combat in Vietnam, only about 5% of soldiers failed to aim to kill. (These same desensitizing “games” were later released as toys for children. Is it any wonder that teens today seem desensitized to violence?)

Author Lee Child says that we don’t write what we know, we write what we fear, and that certainly is true in my case. I fear the machinations of the powerful, deadly, and calculating men and women who control our lives behind the scenes. This theme is most prevalent in More Deaths Than One (in fact, I came across the information about desensitization while researching the military, soldiers, and killing for that particular novel) though it shows up in milder forms in all of my novels.

So see? We are naturally a peaceful people who do not want war. It is others who force it on us whether we wish it or not.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the conspiracy novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+