The Value of Peace; Part 1

When we are unable to find tranquillity within ourselves, it is useless to seek it elsewhere.

–Francois de la Rochefoucauld

Our hectic society

Our hectic society is flooded with communication, information, intense entertainment, and stress. People wake early in the morning and hit the ground running, packing in as much as possible each day. Rarely getting enough sleep each night, we become caffeine junkies, supporting three-dollar habits at our corner coffee bars, or we simply push through the day trying to meet the next deadline while ignoring our physical and mental fatigue. Cell phones, e-mail, fax machines, Palm Pilots, and pagers dominate our lives. We play seemingly endless games of phone tag, and our 40-hour workweeks have expanded to over 50 hours, not to mention the countless and frustrating hours we spend each week battling traffic. We’ve coined the term “road rage” to describe the stress and tension that many drivers feel.

When the day finally ends, too many people gobble down fast dinners in front of the T.V. As many as 500 cable and satellite channels numb us until we finally drift off to a short night’s sleep, which is abruptly ended by a loud alarm…so we can begin the same hectic cycle again. At the end of the week, our choices of entertainment and relaxation are often noisy bars, or the latest box office hit filled with intense themes. If we happen to miss one, our local video store is always there to catch us up on the violence, revenge, deceit, betrayal and sex we might have missed.

The difference between being bored and being peaceful is attitude and perspective.

Constant stimulation

Children and teenagers spend hours each day listening to loud, head banging acid rock or rap music. They chat online with twenty buddies, while simultaneously surfing the internet. Bored with baseball, basketball and football, they often prefer extreme sports–sports designed for the adrenaline rush that are so dangerous, nobody would have dreamed of doing such frightening stunts 30 years ago.

Read next Thursday’s post for part two of this topic.


Sensei Matt Thurman, Shudokan Black Belt Academy – Aikido Nottingham