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Viewpoint: How can we become a more peaceful people?

Riley Gulotta (left) received a $500 scholarship from Veterans for Peace Chapter 115. The Red Wing High School 2017 graduate is pictured with Bill Habedank of the local chapter. Photo courtesy of Veterans for Peace

Peace is possibly the most noble goal a person can search for and many people believe that the lack of peace is at the heart of what prevents happiness and fulfillment. There are many social and institutional expectations that can prevent us from being truly peaceful people and in order to achieve that we have to accept the fact that not everything we were told is true.

There is a great conflict between the ideas of capitalism and charity. In theory, we all believe that charity is a great and wonderful thing. Yet whenever most see the homeless man on the street, we automatically assume that he's an alcoholic, drug addict, degenerate, etc.

But what if we were to consider for a moment that perhaps that man is a decent human being? That dollar in your pocket could be the difference between him eating or going hungry.

What it boils down to is pure, unconditional compassion. If we were to be more unconditionally compassionate toward one another, I believe that peace would soon follow.

The second thing to do is eliminate greed. This relates to compassion, but exists on its own. By accepting principles of greed, we allow ourselves to fall into a trap of never ending consumption. This leads to conflict with others over things that we don't even need. By eliminating greed we can learn to be content with the things we have and allow others the opportunity for things they may need more than ourselves.

The third thing we can do is to become tolerant of others. We must be tolerant of different races, religions, cultures, and ideologies.

There is far too much diversity in this world to hate people simply for being different. By accepting those that are different from ourselves, we become part of a much more peaceful society. Tolerance can also mean forgiveness for wrongdoing as well. We must always seek forgiveness over revenge. When I was younger I used to get bullied often and after a while, I discovered that simply turning my cheek was a much better alternative to being bitter.

Peace is an incredibly important aspect to society and we should all strive to become more peaceful throughout our lives. By being unconditionally compassionate to one another, eliminating greed from our lifestyles, and being tolerant of one another, we can all contribute to a much more peaceful world that's happier and more pleasant for all people.