Journaling prompts, such as the last two weeks’ posts about friendship and personal resistance, can help us reflect deeply about our personal, internal worlds. Journal writing can also help us consider broader, philosophical aspects of life and human nature.
After the death of Osama Bin Laden, I’ve been thinking a lot about war and peace and the nature of hatred. This may be, in part, because I’m also in the middle of reading a provocative interview in the Sun Magazine with Paul Chappell, a U.S. Iraq War veteran who has written a book titled, The End of War: How waging peace can save humanity, our planet and our future. He contends that what we all want, regardless of our political or religious affiliations, is to be safe and secure (I can agree with that), and we’ve been taught that war keeps us safe. But war actually makes us less safe, he says, because the world is interconnected and our safety and security depends on the safety and security of all the countries around the world, not just our own. He insists that violence and war is not a basic tenant of human nature, but a learned one.
What do you think?
This week’s journal writing prompts help us explore our beliefs and attitudes about human nature as it relates to war and peace:
- Freewrite for ten minutes about human nature and violence.
- Think about the polarization of political attitudes and the hatred spouted by media celebrities on all sides. Then read and write a response to the following quote by Albert Schweitzer: The awareness that we are all human beings together has become lost in war and politics. We have reached the point of regarding each other only as members of a people either allied with us or against us and our approach: prejudice, sympathy, or antipathy are all conditioned by that. Now we must rediscover the fact that we – all together – are human beings, and that we must strive to give to each other what moral capacity we have.
- When you think about the death of Osama bin Laden, what is your response? Do you feel jubilant, relieved, conflicted, all of the above? Write about your feelings and what this man represented to you.
- Here’s another quote for your consideration — this one by Winston Churchill: Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war. What do you think Churchill meant? Do you agree or disagree with him, and in what ways?
- Do you believe sustained world peace is possible? Why or why not?
- Write isolated words that represent your response to the state of the world today in random order all over your journal page. Use different colors if it suits you. When you’re done step back and take a look at the page. Do you notice any patterns and/or predominant emotions? What are they? Select at least ten words from the page and write a paragraph or two that include those words.
- If you were in control of the world, how would you go about ensuring world safety and security?
This is not an easy topic to think about, but I encourage you to consider and write about it anyway. Then I invite you to leave a comment and share what you learned in the process of journaling.
Image Credit: Jayel Aheram
P.S. A personal note to my readers:
I moved in mid-April. I’d intended to keep up my regular writing and blogging schedule. Oh, foolish me! I had forgotten how all-consuming and difficult moving can be, and how urgent is the nesting instinct — the need to get everything in order once again. Or, as one friend says, to be “dialed in.” And I’d forgotten how long the process takes, thinking that, by now, I’d be back to my usual writing schedule: Wednesday blogs on topics related to making meaning, telling our stories, memoir, and general writing tips; and Friday’s Blogtalk articles.
If you’ve missed those posts, rounding out the Weekly Journaling Prompts, have no fear. Next week, I’ll resume Blogtalk and, if all goes well, Wednesday posts will resume the week after that. Thanks for your patience and support.