The New Intimacy


The World Longs for Peace

The world longs for peace. Talk of peace is part of every language, every epoch. The idea of peace is used to inspire, manipulate, coerce. The hope of peace is wished for at the height of battle and in the quietude of prayer. And yet peace remains illusive, a specter that haunts our yearnings, teases us, and then slips away.

War, on the other hand, is so commonplace as to be prosaic. Although begrudgingly, we take it for granted, as though it is so deep a part of the human condition as to be natural, part of the sinew and artery of life on this earth. And yet, who wouldn't, if given the power and authority, banish war from the mind, making it unimaginable

Consider this:

At it's essence, war is the conflagration that erupts when two (or more) sides, for whatever reasons, become so entrenched as to be unwilling to allow any point of view but their own, any outcome but that which they imagine and insist upon. No matter how they may explain, justify, vindicate, or expound their point of view, each side demands to be the sole arbiter of reality and is willing to kill and be killed to achieve that end.

War is the ultimate expression of being closed--invulnerable, impervious, untouchable, dark, opaque, airtight to any other point of view but one's own.

Just think of the battles that rage in divorce courts and the fury threaded through custody hearings to appreciate what war looks like on a personal scale.

So what about peace? Can we assume that peace resides where openness, understanding and remembering that "we belong to each other" is experienced as natural?

You don't have to look beyond your own personal relationships to find out.Bring to mind a time (not current) when you insisted on being the sole arbiter of reality--your way or the highway (which, by the way, is a bloodless form of war).

Now, looking back, what would you have had to do to bring peace to that situation?

You would have had to relinquish your position as the "only" bearer of truth and open to the differences between you and the other person. Without acknowledging the truth of both sides, as well as the distortion on both sides, including your own, the stalemate cannot be broken. The doorway to resolution--to peace--resides in recognizing and valuing the right of each side (each person) to be who they are, and that their thoughts, feeling, hopes and dreams are as important to them as your's are to you. Only through recognition and respect of differences do you grant the possibility that two sides can live together while not having to become one another. To use a biblical phrase, the lion shall lay down with the lamb, and visa versa.

The possibility of peace awaits us in our differences, so that we can understand and remember that we are different as well as one, unique and common, individual and in community.

We must imagine what real peace looks like or we won't be able to bring it to life.

© 2005, The New Intimacy

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Intimacy is spelled "in to me you see". - Stan Dale

I have always made a distinction between my friends and my confidants. I enjoy the conversation of the former; from the latter I hide nothing. - Edith Piaf


Husband and wife psychology team, Judith Sherven and Jim Sniechowski, are the bestselling authors of "The New Intimacy" and "Opening to Love 365 Days a Year." Their latest book is Be Loved for Who You Really Are: How the differences between men and women can be turned into the source of the very best romance you'll ever know. They provide corporate trainings on breaking through resistance to success and relationship workshops about The Magic of Differences--romance based on respect and value for each other's unique ways. As guest experts they've been on over 600 television and radio shows including Oprah, The O'Reilly Factor, 48 Hours, Canada AM, and The View. Visit their website at

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