Sunday, January 29, 2012

transformative peace

All systems of life are complex. No matter what a person does there is history, emotion, reason, impact, understanding, judgement and many other elements that will lead into future decisions and possibilities. The complexity comes down to asking, why did I act the way I did, what was my desired outcome, did I get that, how should I have acted, what should I do differently next time, etc.. Also there is an element of conscientiously and unconscientiously knowing what you are actually trying to achieve. Many have no idea what they truly want to accomplish in life, other than to have an easy life.  How do you know?
To be as honest as possible I am one that has no idea what I really want for myself. The one thing I have always strived for is to understand the world as deeply as possible. This leads me to seek out situations where everything is unknown – chaos. I seek such situations so I can help others more than anything else. As I think about that though, I question many things because I can see how I have acted in ways which have caused harm. Once that harm has been caused no amount of life will change that. That leaves me with the knowledge that I am not a peaceful person. Even though I work to bring a greater understanding of peaceful methods of managing difficulties, to decrease the amount of violence in the world and educate others on peace, I am a student as well with much to learn. Enough about me.
As society roles along we seek to understand and manage the complexity of our interactions. In this we are building our culture, our identity and the world. Most of us manage the complexity of interactions well enough that we get through life with relative ease. For others the journey is a bit more complex. This is where the larger society must assist.
As far back as life has existed for us, we have always had some sort of structure of behaviour. For any two people that interact there has to be an understanding of social agreement. Even if that agreement is to kill one another there still exist the understanding as to how each other will act. In the rational world you still may want to kill but understand that doing so is contrary to ensuring a safe and secure society. Due to this we have built systems to deal with those that do harm.  
At the outset there had to be some sort of ethical code which we all agreed upon. This code of ethics/law has evolved into the court systems many countries have today. Yet before the current system there existed a great many other systems. One such system that is being put back into use is the idea of restorative justice/transformative peace.
The current system of courts is an adversarial system mixed with retributive justice. One side works as hard as it can to destroy, defeat or prove the other side wrong/false. Once a person is found guilty they are sentenced. Off they go and that is about all the society does. The transformative system is similar in many ways but one. Transformative peace seeks to heal the entire community.  It is a co-operative system that looks to understand, learn, improve and heal as one. For example;
A person does harm in the community and is captured. That person is taken before the community.  The focus of discussion is on how society has failed in such a manner to allow a person to feel the best thing to do was to commit that harm. Transformative peace looks at the entire society and seeks to change both the person and the elements of society which contributed.
Of course there are elements of the adversarial/retributive system that address the same issues but they do so in a manner where the entire societal element remains broken. Society continues to erode in such a system because the focus is more on the individual.  The circumstances of the individual  environment is not seen as a large contributor to their character in the current system.
No matter what a person does there are circumstances of history, emotion, reason, impact, understanding, judgement and many other elements that will lead into the decisions made and possibilities seen.  Transformative peace seeks to understand the circumstances to improve the chances for everyone else to not choose harmful actions.

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