Complementary Peace(s)
Dr. Susan Corso   
Friday, 12 February 2010
Complementary Peace(s) - image by daphne01 ( may as well cop to my not-so-hidden agenda. I am here on earth to help create peace. I've been working with personal peace for a long time. Peace is my mission, my passion, my fun. I have files of peace quotes. I've written a theatre piece about the women who've won the Nobel Peace Prize. I'd love to make a big enough difference for peace on this planet that I could win it! So you can imagine my delight, I'm sure, when the Global Peace Index ( was rolled out all over the world.

Basically, the Index rates 121 countries on 24 variables that contribute to peace in a nation. Norway is #1. Iraq is #121. (These two make sense to me.) The Netherlands (Ode's original home) is #20. (Bravi!) The United States, where I live, is #96. (There is no other way to say this: I am appalled.)

I'm not going to go into the structure of the Index. It's there for the delectation of statisticians the world over, among whom I do not number myself. However, I do want to address what peace is because I don't think there yet exists a broad enough definition.

The GPI website opens with this: "Peace is a powerful concept. However, the notion of peace, and its value in the world economy, is poorly understood." There are competing definitions of peace...?

There are competing definitions of peace, and not only that, I believe that there doesn't yet exist a big enough definition for peace that will make all beings on the planet stand up and agree to its value as encompassing all other values.

I'm with the illustrious Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "For it isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it." So what would it take by way of definition to make you, personally, not only talk about peace, but also believe in it, and work at it as well?

You see, unless peace is personal, then it stays a concept. Concepts are nice, but unless they have practical applications, they stay... well, conceptual. What I've come to believe, because I've experienced it, is that peace, as a concept, a topic of conversation, a belief and an action, has magic in it. I'll tell you why: it's because we have NO IDEA what life will be like if we each choose peace as our guiding principle.

Here's a suggestion. The next time you notice that you don't feel peaceful, stop, breathe, and ask within yourself what you might think, say or do that would create peace in your situation. You should pardon the cliche, but practice, dear one, makes perfect. Or, at the very least, a step on the path toward perfect.

I think we need more personal experience with peace, and when we get it, we'll find that there aren't competing definitions of peace any more. Instead, there will be as many complementary definitions of peace as there are people practicing it; complementary peaces, if you will. How about if we start right now?

Spiritual author and counselor for 25 years; ordained omnifaith minister, corporate consultant on the spirit of business; blogger for Ode Magazine on peace and for The Huffington Post on spirituality in the world. For all Dr. Corso loves and creates, continually visit You can read her personal blog at

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