Posted by: Michael George Daniel | January 5, 2009

I’d Rather Teach Peace

While I’m on the subject of book reviews,¬† I may as well include the following review on the book¬†I’d Rather Teach Peace by Coleman McCarthy. This book is so inspiring, I don’t know what to do about it. It describes a vision of a life that breathes pure oxygen on the embers of my heart. It creates a longing in me for a life of service that I have scarcely ever before felt. It brings right back to the surface those silly questions about how will I pay the mortgage, how can my wife retire, how will we pay for food? Silly. I know. That’s the blessing of this book for me – bringing those questions that I thought I had begun to shed back where they belong – in my face. Maybe I can disgorge myself of them yet.

Anyway, here’s the review. By the way, you can see all of my book reviews on Amazon by clicking on the word Amazon.

I’d Rather Teach Peace

That’s the name of the book too. If you read this book, you may find yourself agreeing. Don’t read this book if you’d rather not find a place for your ideals in your life. That’s how many people will conclude they need to be. We are conditioned and rewarded to abandon our principles in the quest for success and in our striving to dominate and eliminate perceived threats to survival.

Coleman McCarthy understands that we have it upside down. Don’t read this book unless you want to be inspired. We are taught violence from the moment we are born and McCarthy describes a simple alternative that he has been living for more than twenty years; teach peace. He leads students of all ages – including elementary age, where we most need to begin – and prisoners, including the many young, black male victims of culturally ingrained injustice – to the study of Ghandi, non-violence, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Daniel Berrigan and others like them. He suggests, yes illuminates, the fact that we can and must act on the ideals of peace and non-violence that exist in us all, but are only buried by the current institutions of our culture and the world.

Don’t read this book if you want to stay asleep. Right now, in today’s world, as the US financial system spins quickly into oblivion, we need to orient to the values of peace; need to quickly develop a felt understanding of the quality of life available to each and everyone of us if we teach peace, live peace, give peace, are peace. But we will naturally respond differently to the catastrophe. We will grip even harder onto that which we know, are comfortable with, have been taught. We have been taught violence. We will need to learn something new or suffer greatly.

In this book, Cole McCarthy describes his life of teaching in schools and prisons the elements of peaceful conflict resolution. He teaches the absurdity and ineffectiveness of pursing peace through violent means.

As we struggle in the coming years to resolve our personal confusion between survival and success, we will need to grab hold of peace and nonviolence lest we simply fall back into the dead end beliefs of fighting and overcoming instead of collaboration, compassion, relationship – not only with each other, but with the natural world as well. Our violent beliefs have brought us to where we are now, a catharsis of civilization.

Read this book. Pass it on and go forth into the emerging paradigm with an evolved consciousness. And if someone tells you that you are being too idealistic, politely, lovingly, emphatically teach peace. Suggest that they read the book too!

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