Summary: World Peace a wonderful vision for humanity but it’s not a good goal. It has at least seven shortcomings. One is that it’s too high a standard, too perfect. So it can be counterproductive because people become demoralized since they perpetually fail to reach the goal. The Ai Sakai is an alternative goal for humanity that has none of the flaws. It has three sub-goals. The easiest to understand is a hundredfold reduction in preventable suffering and death before the end of the century. While this will initially seem as impossible as world peace, the more you understand its advantages the more you will value the Ai Sakai. One big advantage is that the progress toward the goal can be measured, and celebrated. For instance if we find out the number of deaths from hunger or war in the year 2000, the baseline year, we can celebrate even a 1% drop in the number of deaths each year, rather than feeling bad that we don’t have world peace. Even a 1% annual drop would come close to a 99% drop in human suffering over the century…and a hundred times less suffering o Earth would be almost another world!
The Ai Sakai
by Tim Cimino
The Ai Sakai is a new concept that can raise the self-esteem of humanity. It will make creating a more beautiful and harmonious world easier.
Twenty years ago I had a table at an Earth Day event for my organization, World Peace One. A young man walked up to the table, glanced at the literature and said, “There will never be world peace” and walked away.
The biggest problem with world peace as a goal is that the standard is too high. One war anywhere and we’ve failed. It’s like being a first-grader whose parents tell him or her that they expect straight A’s all the way through school. Their expectations would cause bad feelings each time the child got a B or worse. Or else they’d learn to have contempt for the goal and your parents, and reject those expectations. The vision of world peace causes similar feelings — either inferiority, or a contemptuous rejection of world peace as being unrealistic, just as that young man scoffed at the idea.
Here are seven other drawbacks to “world peace” as a goal.
1. It’s vague. Does it mean no war or no conflict at all? Would that include environmental balance or not?
2. It emphasizes disagreements between various religions and philosophies. Are we aiming at a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Atheist world peace?
3. There’s no time frame. World peace by when?
4. The “world” is so huge that it can kill the incentive to act. On a global scale, individual action seems insignificant. (Of course it’s not, but the framework de-motivates.)
5. Total peace seems unnatural, since some conflict is part of life.
6. Peace has negative connotations of being boring, un-dramatic, or no fun at all.
7. Even if armed conflicts were to end, there would still be people who were immature and having to learn life’s lessons. The suffering and damage they cause in the process of growing up precludes that perfect peace.
Here’s an alternative vision: The Ai Sakai. (In Japanese, Ai means harmony or love. Sakai means frontier or limit.)
The Ai Sakai has three parts:
- A hundredfold decrease in preventable suffering and premature death before the year 2100. (Make the year 2000 the baseline. Pick 40 major indicators, such as deaths from war, deaths from disease, hunger, political imprisonment, child abuse, violent crime, etc.)
- A 90% return to environmental balance by 2100. Again, pick 40 major indicators, such as amount of forests, amount of desertification, species diversity and preservation, population growth rate and so on.
- A significant annual increase in the happiness of active participants (perhaps because they’re using ongoing personal support to learn at least one or two major beneficial habits, skills or attitudes each year.)
This alternative vision has none of the flaws of “world peace.” It’s not absolute. It has a time frame, a target date. The focus on practical efforts produces unity rather than arguing because everyone is against suffering. The third sub-goal, personal happiness, helps people connect to the big picture.
Most importantly: Because progress is measurable, we can celebrate progress along the way. Humanity can feel good, rather than feel bad each year because we’re not perfect yet. Even a roughly 1% annual drop in hunger, for instance, would be on track for a 99% reduction in suffering by the end of the century! Also, rather than being boring, the Ai Sakai creates dramas: Will we or won’t we reach the targets for reducing hunger, deaths from war and for all the other indicators this year?
Please go to Page 2 for a short summary of all the benefits of the Ai Sakai!