It’s a Quaker tradition, when seeking clearness, to ask questions rather than to make statements. Today I have some questions.
A few days ago, Dan Harper called for a new peace aesthetic. In the comments on his post, Ted Lemon said that we might be too old to be the ones coming up with new imagery or symbols for the peace movement. When I half-humorously suggested a loaf of bread as good symbol for peace, Will Shetterly said that we’d need an image of bread that could be graffiti’d in “twenty seconds or less.”
I smiled and nodded when I read these comments, but I’ve been thinking since then. What are we saying about the kind of peace we seek?
Do we want a peace that can be symbolized, “image”-ined, only by the young? For that matter, what is “young”? Ted is in his forties. I’m 39. What sort of peace, what sort of peaceful world, has only those under forty as its spokespersons?
For that matter, is the peace we’re seeking a peace of marches, signs, banners, t-shirts? Is it a “movement” in that sense?
What sort of peace requires a central aesthetic, an image, that can be turned into graffiti? That must be rendered in twenty seconds or less? Are we graffiti people? Scrawling our images, our idealism, on other people’s walls in the dead of night? Is the peace we’re seeking a peace that has to be understood in a blip, a few quick lines?
When we say, “Give peace a chance,” do we mean that you get once chance to get it right, or forget it?
What would a slow peace, a complex peace, look like? What would a peace be that incorporates the understanding of those over forty, as well as those under?
Is such a peace even possible? Would anyone recognize it, if they saw it?