Wars grows out of the desire of the individual to gain advantage at the expense of his fellow men, and the smoldering embers of this desire are fanned into flame through the grouping of these individuals who place the interests of the group above those of other groups.
War cannot be stopped suddenly!
It can be eliminated only by education, through the aid of the principle of subordination of the individual interests to the broader interests of the human race as a whole.
Man’s tendencies and activities, as we have already stated, grow out of two great forces. One is physical heredity, and the other is social heredity. Through physical heredity, man inherits those early tendencies to destroy his fellow man out of self-protection. This practice is a holdover from the age when the struggle for existence was so great that only the physically strong could survive.
Gradually men began to learn that the individual could survive under more favourable circumstances by allying himself with others, and out of that discovery grew our modern society, through which groups of people have formed states, and these groups, in turn, have formed nations. There is but little tendency toward warfare between the individuals of a particular group or nation, for they have learned, through the principle of social heredity, that they can best survive by subordinating the interest of the individual to that of the group.
Now, the problem is to extend this principle of grouping so that the nations of the world will subordinate their individual interests to those of the human race as a whole.
This can be brought about only through the principle of social heredity. By forcing upon the minds of the young of all races the fact that war is horrible and does not serve either the interest of the individual engaging in it or the group to which the individual belongs.
The question then arises, “How can this be done?” Before we answer this question, let us again define the term “social heredity” and find out what its possibilities are.
Social heredity is the principle through which the young of the race absorb from their environment, and particularly from their earlier training by parents, teachers and religious leaders, the beliefs and tendencies of the adults who dominate them.
Any plan to abolish war, to be successful, depends upon the successful co-ordination of effort between all the churches and schools of the world for the avowed purpose of so fertilizing the minds of the young with the idea of abolishing war that the very word “war” will strike terror in their hearts.
THERE IS NO OTHER WAY TO ABOLISHING WAR!
The next question that arises, “How can the churches and schools of the world be organized with this high ideals as an objective?” The answer is that not all of them can be induced to enter into such an alliance, at one time; but a sufficient number of the more influential ones can be induced, and this, in time, will lead or force the remainder into the alliance, as rapidly as public opinion begins to demand it.
Then comes the question, “Who has sufficient influence to call a conference of the most powerful religious and educational leaders?” The answer is:
The President and Congress of the United States.
Such an undertaking would command the support of the press on a scale heretofore unheard of, and through this source alone the propaganda would begin to reach and fertilize the minds of the people in every civilized country in the world, in preparation for the adoption of the plan in the churches and schools throughout the world.
The plan for the abolition of war might be likened to a great dramatic play, with these as the chief factors:
STAGE SETTING: At the Capitol of the United States.
STAR ACTORS: The President and members of Congress.
MINOR ACTORS: The leading clergymen of all denominations, and leading educators, all on the stage by invitation and at the expense of the United States government.
PRESS ROOM: Representatives of the news-gathering agencies of the world.
STAGE EQUIPMENT: A radio broadcasting outfit that would distribute the entire proceedings half-way round the earth.
TITLE OF THE PLAY: “Thou shalt not kill!”
OBJECT OF THE PLAY: The creation of a World Court, to be made up of representatives of all races, whose duty it would be to hear evidence and adjudicate the cases arising out of disagreement between nations.
Other factors would enter into this great world drama, but they would be of minor importance. The main issues and the most essential factors are here enumerated.
One other question remains, “Who will start the machinery of the United States government into action to call this conference?” and the answer is:
Public opinion, through the aid of an able organizer and leader, who will organize and direct the efforts of a Golden Rule society, the object of which will be to move the President and Congress into action.
No League of Nations and no mere agreement between nations can abolish war as long as there is the slightest evidence of sanction of war in the hearts of the people. Universal peace between nations will grow out of a movement that will be begun and carried on, at first, by a comparatively small number of thinkers. Gradually this number will grow until it will be composed of the leading educators, clergymen and publicists of the world, and these, in turn, will so deeply and permanently establish peace as a world ideal that it will become a reality.
This desirable end may be attained in a single generation under the right sort of leadership; but more likely, it will not be attained for many generations to come, for the reason that those who have the ability to assume this leadership are too busy in their pursuit of worldly wealth to make the necessary sacrifice for the good of generations yet unborn.
War can be eliminated, not by appeal to reason, but by appeal to the emotional side of humanity. This appeal must be made by organizing and highly emotionalizing the people of the different nations of the world in support of a universal plan for peace, and this plan must be forced upon the minds of the oncoming generations with the same diligent care that we now force upon the minds of our young the ideal of our respective religions.
It is not stating the possibilities too strongly to say that the churches of the world could establish universal peace as an international ideal within one generation if they would but direct toward that end one-half of the effort which they now employ in opposing one another.
We would still be within the bounds of conservatism if we stated that the Christian churches, alone, have sufficient influence to establish universal peace as a world-wide ideal, within three generations, if the various sects would combine their forces for the purpose.
That which the leading churches of all religions, the leading schools and the public press of the world could accomplish in forcing the ideal of universal peace upon both the adult and the child mind of the world within a single generation, staggers the imagination.
If the organized religions of the world, as they now exist, will not subordinate their individual interests and purposes to that of establishing universal peace, then the remedy lies in establishing a universal church of the world that will function through the races and whose creed will be based entirely upon the one purpose of implanting in the minds of the young the ideal of world-wide peace.
Such a church would gradually attract a following from the rank and file of all other churches.
And if the educational institutions of the world will not co-operate in fostering this high ideal of universal peace, then the remedy lies in the creation of an entirely new educational system that will implant in the mind of the young the ideal of universal peace.
And if the public press of the world will not co-operate in setting up the ideal of universal peace, then the remedy lies in the creation of an independent press that will utilize both the printed page and the forces of the air for the purpose of creating mass support of this high ideal.
In brief, if the present organized forces of the world will not lend their support to establishing universal peace, as an international ideal, then new organizations must be created which will do so.
The majority of the people of the world want peace, wherein lies the possibility of its attainment!
At first thought, it seems too much to expect that the organized churches of the world can be induced to pool their power and subordinate their individual interests to those of civilization as a whole.
But this seemingly insurmountable obstacle is, in reality, no obstacle at all, for the reason that whatever support this plan borrows from the churches it gives back to them, a thousandfold, through the increased power the church attains.
Let us see just what advantages the church realizes by participation in this plan to establish universal peace as a world ideal. First of all, it will be clearly seen that no individual church loses any of its advantages by allying itself with other denominations in establishing this world ideal. The alliance in no way changes or interferes with the creed of any church. Every church entering the alliance will come out of it with all the power and advantages that it possessed before it went in, plus the additional advantage of greater influence which the church, as a whole, will enjoy by reason of having served as the leading factor in forcing upon civilization the greatest single benefit it has enjoyed in the history of the world.
If the church gained no other advantages from the alliance, this one would be sufficient to compensate it. But the important advantage that the church will have gained by this alliance is the discovery that it has sufficient power to force its ideals upon the world when it places its combined support back of the undertaking.
By this alliance the church will have grasped the far-reaching significance of the principle of organized effort through the aid of which it might easily have dominated the world and imposed its ideals upon civilization.
The church is by far the greatest potential power in the world today, but its power is merely potential and will remain so until it makes use of the principle of allied or organized effort; that is to say, until all denominations formulate a working agreement under which the combined strength of organized religion will be used as a means of forcing a higher ideal upon the minds of the young.
The reason that the church is the greatest potential power in the world is the fact that its power grows out of man’s emotions. Emotion rules the world, and the church is the only organization which rests solely upon the power of emotion. The church is the only factor of society which has the power to harness and direct the emotional forces of civilization, for the reason that the emotions are controlled by FAITH and not by reason! And the church is the only great organized body in which faith of the world is centered.
The church stands today as so many disconnected units of power, and it is not overstating the possibilities to say that when these units shall have been connected, through allied effort, the combined power of that alliance will rule the world and there is no opposing power on earth that can defeat it!
It is in no discouraging spirit that this statement is followed by another which may seem still more radical; namely:
The task of bringing about this alliance of the churches in support of the world ideal of universal peace must rest upon the female members of the church, for the reason that the abolition of war promises advantages that may be prolonged into the future and that may accrue only to the unborn generations.
In Schopenhauer’s bitter arraignment of woman, he unconsciously stated a truth upon which the hope of civilization rests, when he declared that the race is always to her more than the individual. In terms that uncompromising, Schopenhauer charges woman with being the natural enemy of man because of this inborn trait of placing the interests of the race above those of the individual.
It seems a reasonable prophecy to suggest that civilization passed into a new era, beginning with the world war, in which woman is destined to take into her own hands the raising of the ethical standards of the world. This is a hopeful sign, because it is woman’s nature to implant, in the mind of the young, ideals that will accrue to the benefit of generations yet unborn, while man is motivated generally by expediency of the present.
In Schopenhauer’s vicious attack upon woman, he has stated a great truth concerning her nature: a truth which might well be utilized by all who engage in the worthy work of establishing universal peace as a world ideal.
The women’s clubs of the world are destined to play a part in world affairs other than that of gaining suffrage for women.
LET CIVILIZATION REMEMBER THIS!
Those who do not want peace are the ones who profit by war. In numbers, this class constitutes but a fragment of the power of the world, and could be swept aside as though it did not exist, if the multitude who do not want war were organized with the high ideal of universal peace as their objective.
In closing, it seems appropriate to apologize for the unfinished state of this essay, but it may be pardonable to suggest that the bricks and the mortar, and the foundation stones, and all the other necessary materials for the construction of the temple of universal peace have been here assembled, where they might be re-arrange and transformed into this high ideal as a world reality.
This is an extract and essay written by Napoleon Hill in his book “Laws of Success: Lesson Fourteen – Tolerance.”