Peace vs. Truce

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My massage therapist at Travaasa Austin and I decided on my latest trip that people who hope for world peace are misguided.

(How we got there? It had something to do with humans relieving innate aggressive energy—after all, we’re animals—and how often we do so through sports and fitness.)

Here’s the thinking:

What we call “peacetime” is actually truce. With another entity, we have agreed not to conduct aggressive action. We may even agree to cooperate on mutual interests. Often, the agreement stems not from selflessness but self-interest. The agreement comes from an assessment of our best interests and an agreement to act accordingly.

If our best interests change, our pact of nonaggression or “friendship” may change as well.

That’s truce.

Peace, instead, is like still water. Self-interest has no role. With peace, a tendency toward aggression doesn’t exist. Peace is stasis. Calm.

Which means peace is not possible. True peace and human nature do not combine. We may change our cultures or individual natures to practice nonaggression, but our physiology, with its brain pathways, hormones, pheromones, and personal genetics, will always work against us in achieving the real meaning of peace.

It is just semantics to debate the two terms? Perhaps not. Focusing on achieving truce—the balance of self-interest between people and groups to ensure nonaggression—could truly make the world a better place. Aiming for peace—that we universally simply love each other and never want anything but good for each other in the true sense of selflessness—shunts energies in the wrong direction and sets unreasonable expectations.

Do you agree that peace and truce are different—and that the former is not possible? Do you agree that clarifying the difference and focusing our efforts is important?

Let’s discuss.