Peace is surely more than the absence ofwar. It is a state of the community and of the world in which healthy human development can take place. Humanistic psychology has something vital tosay about the transformation to peace. However, because both humanistic psychology and peace psychology have weighed in most strongly with their concerns about war, this good place to start. War is but one of the ways in which we inflict violence on one another. Among all forms of destructiveness, war is special mainly in the ways in which it is justified.A declaration of war gives a state the recognized right to order people to conquer, destroy, and kill. Why do we do it?
The Answer begins with an observation on war that is well documented in Tuchman’s book. Example of societies that have been relatively free of violent wars for long periodsof time are few and lie mostly aoutside of the dominant societies modernized in the western image. The exceptions, alhough rare,are important given that they bear on critical questions debated within humanistic psychology.
Humanistic Psychology was begun by persons whose appreciation for the richness of human experience and for its value convinced them that the psychology of their day gave too little opportunity for the human potential to thrrive. It should be of no surprise that many of these same people were equally concerned about the threat posed by war to diminish not only the hopes of humankind but also the possibilities for its survival, for what does it mean to cherish the individual human while ignoring the human-created cloud that might bring all life to an end?
Many of the legendary figures of humanistic psychology have spoken to the issues of war and peace. Before the advent of two world wars andthe development of nuclear weapons.
Stent, G. S. (1974). Molecular biology and metaphysics. Nature, 248,779-781