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An Excerpt from “Erratic North”


In March of 2003, the Dalai Lama said: “Today, the world is so small and so interdependent that the concept of war has become anachronistic, an outmoded approach. … War … should be relegated to the dustbin of history. Of course, the militaristic tradition may not end easily.”

However, it is easy to convince people to go to war if you are first able to convince them that they have something to fear. The following appears in Gustave Gilbert’s Nuremberg Diary and involves a conversation he had with Herman Goering during the Nuremberg trials. Goering was chief of the Gestapo and second only to Hitler during the Nazi regime.

“Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter, in Germany. That is understood. The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

Peace is not something that will come from the top down. It cannot come from governments, or the U.N., or religion, from political or social movements, or from anyone outside ourselves. It can only come from finding peace – the dissolution of fear – in each human heart. Peace on earth is intimately connected to peace of mind.


By: Mark Frutkin, award winning author of four books of poetry, three non-fiction works and eight novels.

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