Summary: This page describes the many benefits of shifting toward the Ai Sakai framework and away from the current ‘world peace’ framework. This page is in three sections: Benefits for everyone; special benefits for most peace activists; and benefits for religious leaders and mental health workers.
Benefits for Everyone
Some of the biggest benefits were already mentioned on the “Understand it” page. We can celebrate and feel good about progress, rather than feeling like humanity will never measure up. We can also feel more able to participate and affect the goal. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing something significant for world peace because 1) “world” is too big; 2) “peace” is too absolute; and 3) we don’t have anything close to world peace. But since the Ai Sakai goal has a personal component — your own happiness and growth — you can feel that you are a participant. You can also feel more of a connection to the goal, more of a participant, if you help a charity or organization that addresses suffering or imbalance to one of our life-support systems. Almost every action you do counts toward the goal! At the end of the year, when the statistics come out, you can think, “We are making progress toward the Ai Sakai, and I helped create this better world!”
Here are some other benefits:
1. When the statistics come out and in some areas we fail to make progress, it helps us pinpoint the areas to work on next year.
2. Whenever we read in the newspaper about some crisis that causes the loss of many lives or great misery, we can take some consolation if we know the overall picture, especially if there is improvement in some areas. It doesn’t mean that we don’t feel bad; it would just keep people from sinking into despair if they were aware of the many forms of progress over the past year or years.
3. Because of the emphasis on suffering and not peace, the Ai Sakai will promote more practical discussions, and reduce endless philosophical and religious speculation and arguments. In other words, ‘peace’ tends to have people think about the final state of affairs. For instance the question, “Which vision of peace is best — Christian, Muslim, secular or other form of peace?” could produce endless argument and hard feelings. But focusing on reducing suffering will produce much more unity since almost everyone is against suffering.
4. This may seem strange at first but, since the Ai Sakai is about a 99% reduction in suffering, whenever we come across someone who we can’t help, either because they refuse help or because they cause suffering, we won’t be so upset by it. Instead, we can more easily let go, if we can say to ourselves, “Well this person is part of the 1% of suffering that we won’t reach.”
5. The new, fresher language can be like a beautiful global reset or reboot for humanity. It’s the start of repairing humanity’s self-esteem. If we can achieve some early successes on diminishing suffering, the success and increased-self esteem will help inspire other successes!
Benefits for Most Peace Activists and Educators
Some peace activists may initially dislike the Ai Sakai concept. Here are four reasons. First, they may have many good associations with the word ‘peace’ and this attachment may make them not want to change. Second, the new concept seems to weaken the connection between world peace and inner peace or spiritual peace. Third, aiming for a 99% reduction, instead of being seen as being more realistic, may be seen as lowering one’s standards. Finally, there is the practical question of whether or not to change an organization’s name or the name of certain events.
You yourself will have to weigh the costs and benefits to you and your organization. But here are some potential benefits.
1. Because of the associations with perfect world peace, peace activists are often seen as being idealistic or unrealistic.Sakai activists won’t have that association. Because they focus on suffering and imbalance in our life-support systems, and because they will tend to minimize philosophical discussions, they will get more respect from other people. (I speak from personal experience as the executive director of an organization formerly called World Peace One. I feel that I’ve often been automatically discounted because of my organization’s name.)
2. You can use the new language and ideas to renew people’s interest in your organization and its goals. It can give your organization a fresher, newer sound and greater appeal to younger people and other people who are disenchanted with older language and frameworks that haven’t delivered the world they seemed to have promised. Also, the Ai Sakai emphasis on measuring progress may help your organization be more effective if it also makes efforts to measure its impacts.
3. Because the Ai Sakai has so many advantages and benefits, the case for this alternative vision to world peace is very strong. Therefore organizations that embrace the new language will be seen as progressive. Those who resist or put down the new language may be seen as married to old thinking.
4. If you hate the idea of having to give up the associations with the word ‘peace’ you can use this opportunity to reflect on attachments to words and concepts, and how attachments interfere with inner growth and spiritual growth, as well as interfering with our ability to help others. Clearly this Ai Sakai concept is not meant to replace the word ‘peace.’ It’s just an alternative to goal of world peace.
Benefits to Religious Leaders and Mental Health Workers
1. Many religious leaders spend considerable energy caring for people’s material needs. But their mission is primarily spiritual. Yes, you could say that teaching religious practices and feeding the hungry are equally forms of loving others, but the more primary mission for religious leaders is teaching the religion. In other words, to the extend that humanity is able to eliminate or reduce suffering, it would free up religious people to concentrate on their primary role. So, to the extend that the Ai Sakai succeeds, it will help religious leaders in this way.
2. The Ai Sakai concept can be used to foster a discussion about the inter-relationships between inner and outer peace. Just as an arrogant surgeon may still be the best surgeon and the best person at saving lives, there is no automatic correlation between inner peace and outer effectiveness. And yet, some spiritual or ethical qualities certainly affect one’s ability to improve the world.
3. All mental health workers and all the religious leaders who also counsel individuals will certainly recognize that a large portion of people’s stress and depression has to do with feelings of despair and powerlessness, due in part to the state of the world. People’s personal problems won’t automatically go away if there is no global warming and far fewer childhood deaths in foreign countries, but chronic bad news certainly drains people’s will to live and change. Also, in a small way, the emphasis on measurable goals and the example of changing to a new perspective can serve as good examples for people having personal difficulties.
But just having a much better goal for humanity is not enough. Please visit Page 3 to learn about new, powerful methods to reach the Ai Sakai.