Presented here, for comment and discussion, are the five developmental stages toward Active Peace.

[0. 'Surface' -- conformity without question. Unconsciousness, unawareness, denial, or opposition to issues of social conscience involving violence, oppression, subjugation.]

1. 'Aquiescence' -- You know there is something wrong, but take no action, or it doesn't affect how you live your life. Your response is to remain 'quiet' to others and within yourself. "Things have always been this way ... there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to change them."

2. 'Pacifism' -- You are no longer quiet within yourself. Your discomfiture with violence, oppression, etc. begins to affect how you live your life. You might turn the other cheek in a fight, for example. You are likely to witness to others (and to yourself) that organized violence and oppression is wrong.

3. 'Passive Nonviolent Resistance' -- Many or all of your private decisions become influenced or governed by conscience. 'Conscientious objection'. You make changes in your own behavior by reasons of conscience but are not necessarily social about it, or don't publicly, systematically cite your actions or your reasons for them. It's also akin to the concept of 'standing aside' or of 'abstaining' on a vote.

4. 'Active Nonviolent Resistance' -- You take social leadership in attempting to thwart the forces of violence, oppression, and subjugation, or join with others who do, publicly, and attempting to spread the word about the initiative and get others to take part.

5. The triad of 'Active Peace':

5A. 'Peacemaking' -- the transformation of conflicts away from violence, oppression, and subjugation by social and political means. Mediation, conferencing, circles peacemaking, and kindred 'encounter' forms. 'Workshop' methods such as AVP can also be effective. There are hybrid forms (encounter/workshop) such as HROC, a spinoff of AVP in Rwanda.

5B. 'Peacekeeping' -- Nonviolent Accompaniment. Need not be organized or public in its motivations, but is more effective when it is done publicly, and the reasons are publicized. [Not what the UN does with guns and uniforms, though they call it that.] Most well-know exemplars are Nonviolent Peaceforce, the proposed Canadian Civilian Peace Service, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Muslim Peacemaker Teams. "Why are the missiles called peacekeepers when they're aimed to kill?" -- Tracy Chapman

5C. 'Peacebuilding' -- Sustainable Development -- providing for human needs so that the associated conflicts involving sustaining life (land, water, food, health care, etc.) are ameliorated or eliminated. Fair Trade as opposed to '"free trade". Local economic initiatives. Local alternative currencies. Barter economies. 'Organic' agriculture. Methods of redistribution of wealth, including economic stimuli, may be useful on the way to more synergistic outcomes where the weal is more naturally held and distributed in common.

One interesting aspect of the five-stages theory seems to be that the next one only becomes visible or understandable to you once you have attained the one before. In this way, each stage represents a 'perspective', both individual and social, and social 'organisms' can be said to progress through the stages as well as individual ones.

Another dynamic is that, for various psychological reasons I won't go into here, people or social groups can vary in how they move through the stages, and sometimes regress. However, my understanding is that one one has a firm purchase on a stage, retrogression becomes much more unlikely. Human beings and social organizations are very complex, however, so there is still much more to learn about how to bring everyone into higher stages. Education about these things is both inevitable and necessary.

Of the five stages, only Active Peace -- stage V -- can accurately be interpreted as 'the ocean of light flowing over the ocean of darkness.'

Congratulations and acknowledgements go out to Gray Cox for first writing about Active Peace, and to Johan Galtung for his work in refining the development of the triadic theory -- peacemaking, peacekeeping, peacebuilding. Incidentally, many peace studies and conflict transformation programs throughout the world use these terms interchangably, and therefore inaccurately and misleadingly. Of those who do, the ones most likely to do so are those influenced by governmental or corporatist entities and agents.

It is crucial that these terminologies be used accurately and consistently in order that humanity as a whole might progress toward Active Peace -- or alternatively (as some see it) recover Active Peace as our natural state.

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John Woolman College (of Active Peace) [JWC]
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I love this ‘Theory of Peace’ and plan to share with all I know and love! Please? and Thank you!

Our holy interior is Peace, the essence of who we ALL are and happiness is our divine heritage!

“Good-will produces a great aura of protection about the one who sends it, and “No weapon that is formed against him shall prosper.” In other words, love and good-will destroy the enemies with one’s self, therefore, one has no enemies on the external! There is peace on earth for him who sends good-will to man!” ~ Florence Scovel Shinn

To ALL humankind ...I send you thoughts of love and goodwill!;))

Thank you so very much sharing peace!
this is a poem for peace

let us not fight with anger
let us all have hope together.
the wars must stop, for we are all brothers.
the sun the moon and the stars and all planets afar are one.

let us no longer live in fear
let us prey for peace this year and every year.
no more fighting amongst religions.
for we need to work together.

we have all felt pain like the storms and the rain.
for i prey let us just start again.
a new day and a new hope, to help eachother to cope.

to love eachother all races, to have respect for all.
for i wish this could be true.
for i believe it can be true.

a new world and a new life where all live together in pefect harmony.
for all is meant to be, inorder to help us see.

written by russell newboldski send to all who want peace.
This is very interesting. Can you talk more about the process of transformation, the change in beliefs and attitudes, from one extreme to the other. From hatred to love, from a deep seated belief in the power of violence to create reality to the realization that we must give peace a chance. How could we convince / encourage more people to make that leap of faith, sort of speak.
Thank you for this formula for peace. As I see it, the only solution for conflict, non-peace, is to solve the problem where it is, within me...the ho'oponopono technique as practiced by Dr. Hew Len, is the perfect example of how we can all come to peace within ourselves and at the same time heal our perceptions of the world, and in so doing let the world heal. The five steps to peace as listed above are fine, and the fifth can naturally transpire when we have cleaned our own 'side of the street' through this technique or other similar practices of 100% responsibility such as is taught in 'A Course in Miracles.'

Here is an introductory link to this healing practice:
One additional piece for this, I feel, could include the surrender of boundaries. I believe it is that as in death, or the combing of the vipers from our tangled thoughts, we transcend beyond the limitations of our ego and embrace our own divine functions in the world. As in the progression from birth through death the stages follow the evolution of our own soul's progression from mortal to divine. To breath the words of peace is to enter the realm of the divine. The transition from being human to becoming the source of light that guides a process greater than we are requires surrender. The one item many would still have a problem surrendering too is the ownership of the earth. This one great and final challenge will halt many from actually embracing the true reality of peace.

Very enlightening work and good wishes,

Martin Carriere
Very interesting .. thanks
John, thank you for sharing this! Some comments: First, I wonder if there might be another way to language this than the Passive-Active framework - primarily because (especially in Western cultures) the connotation of active is equated with activism of the traditional sort ... You know - the 20th century peace now! activism of the upraised, clenched fist of demanding, rather than the outstretched hand of connecting. To me, that type of activism is an old paradigm we are ready to evolve out of and so is there another word that invites a more 21st century freshness, a more expansive perspective of what these later stages of peace are? Second, I also wonder about weaving into this theory more prominent mention of the importance of paying attention to our private and public discourse in evolving our commitment to and understanding of peace? I meet so many who are dedicated to peace, and would see themselves in the stage/phase 5 placement - and yet still speak and write with words and phrases that perpetuate the energy of violence, conflict and divisiveness. For example, "please join our fight for peace in the Middle East." Third, I'd love to see more voice given in this theory to the contribution of spiritual models and practices. For example under 5A, it says social and political means, but most see social as meaning secular. So why not say social, political, spiritual and other means?

Perhaps some of what I ask about here is addressed elsewhere and if so, I'd love to know where to look to learn more? Thank you again! In service to peace, Lynda


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