Beyond War



The National Peace Academy

The Peace Alliance

Waging Peace

As the leaders of many nations meet to discuss the threat of nuclear war, and sign treaties and propose ways to reduce arms, I would like to raise a simple question:

Are we trying to build a world without war, or one which is beyond war? These worlds are very different.

As was discussed at, there are strategies which are designed to eliminate unwanted conditions (hence,  the acronym TUCAS – Temporary Unwanted Condition Abatement Strategies) and then there is Permanent Identity Relationship Culture (PIRC).

The reason this is especially relevant now is that, if we just focus on eliminating the atomic bombs, we have not dealt with the issue at its most fundamental level. And we will never have the benefit of a safe planet until a change in identity, relationship and culture takes place.


George Shultz (former Secretary of State under Reagan) spoke recently at Stanford University. He is a strong advocate for reduction of nuclear stockpiles. He used the metaphor of climbing a mountain, and said that there was a gap between the “is” and the “ought”, and that, until we close this gap, and achieve a nuclear-weapons-free world, we will never be safe.

He's right...

But here is the problem. If we climb that mountain, and get to the top, where there are no weapons BECAUSE of treaties, or other measures, or whatever external control structure we can devise, we will still have the problem, because it is not bombs that threaten us, it is the people who control them, which includes ourselves.

Now, how can identity, relationship and culture make a difference here? Just this. Think about some of your favorite cities in the world, say Paris, Toronto, Sydney, or Honolulu. Now ask yourself, “Do we have ICBM’s aimed at any of these cities?” And, as a second question, “Do any of them have weapons aimed at us?” The obvious answer is, “No.”


Because we have good relationships with these guys, and we see ourselves connected to them in many common ways. We share some culture, and probably have economic ties with them. We travel to their cities, and they come here. We are "friendly." Get the picture?

It is the RELATIONSHIP that makes us safe, not weapons. This is Big!!

Now, how about identity. How does that fit in? We have seen, over the hundreds of thousands of years of our evolution, a steady expansion of identity, from family to tribe to city to state and to nation. Trouble is, we are stalled at nationhood! As long as we continue to “Pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” and do not affirm our larger identity as global citizens, we are doomed to the creation of borders and boundaries, and to then need to defend them with weapons, conventional and/or nuclear.

Can we disregard the weapons we now have? Of course not. But, if we don’t mix Pirc in with the Tucas, we are missing a golden opportunity to move humanity forward. And, if we don’t get "bigger" pretty soon, we will suffer unspeakable consequences.

What to do?

Contact your political representatives, local government officials, friends, relatives and the President himself. Ask them to go to and read about Tucas and Pirc. Make copies of this essay, posted at, and send it to people you love. Get involved. Tell President Obama we want MORE than just a world without war. We want - and deserve - one that is beyond war. There is a difference.

Also - and this is critical - take the Four Steps to the Conscious Evolution of Culture every day yourself. Change the conversation. Do it personally. Involve your friends... but also be involved yourself. Society cannot outperform the consciousness of its constituents. BE THE SHIFT!

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John Burch, LoveShift author and webmaster.

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