Love. Jampolsky (1979) had a best-selling book, Love is Letting Go of
Fear, which helps some people. The ideas are simple: We have a choice to
love or to hate and fear (fear is really a cry for love). For peace of mind
choose love and be concerned with giving, not getting. Through loving
forgiveness we can avoid judging others and eliminate our own guilt. We
believe the world makes us upset; but really, we (our thoughts) make the
world. So, we can change the world by changing our thoughts--from fear or
hateful thoughts to loving thoughts. We can't hurt others without first hurting
ourselves (thinking bad about ourselves), so give up your attack thoughts. Do
not judge, have only tolerant, understanding thoughts. It's your choice: love
There are many similar popular books that focus on attitudes. They sell
well. Unfortunately, science has not evaluated the effectiveness of such
books. My impression from reading self-reports from thousands of students is
that this kind of change-your-attitude approach may have a temporary
impact, but often needs to be repeated or re-learned after a few days or
weeks because we forget and revert to our old angry ways of thinking.
Accumulate logical and moral arguments against aggression and
for love. Psychologists apparently believe rational arguments are powerless
against emotions as powerful as anger. Aronson (1984) writes, "such
arguments probably would not significantly curtail aggressive behavior, no
matter how sound, no matter how convincing." Such pessimism may account
for the lack of effort with our children to curtail violence. Doesn't it seem
strange that humans can learn the malicious, vile, sick, destructive ideas in
racial and sexual stereotypes but we can't learn logical, cogent reasons for
not abusing, slandering, or cheating on someone? Many people have become
vegetarians and pacifists, how do we explain them? Didn't they hear and
accept the arguments against killing animals and then change themselves?
Are arguments against killing and mistreating humans less persuasive? Nagler
(1982) gives many rational arguments for non-violence.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting
the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you can not murder the lie, not
establish the truth. Through murder you murder the hater, but you do not
murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate... Hate can not drive out
hate; only love can do that.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
We believe there is an inward teacher...by this inward teacher we are
convinced that there is a way of death, and a way of life. The way of
death is the way of threat and violence, hatred and malevolence, rigid
ideology and obsessive nationalism. This way is all too easy to find.
The way of life is harder to find... Neither rulers, nor parties, nor
nations, nor ideologies, nor religions can command the legitimate
loyalties of people unless they serve the way of life.
-Quaker Readings on Pacifism