I was listening to Caroline Myss‘ “Essential Guide for Healers” today and she said something that stopped me in my tracks. She said “I’ll tell you why nations don’t heal, and probably why it will be a mighty long time until they do, and that is because there is no money in peace.” Meaning that the profits of peace, the benefit of it, the economic benefit, is hidden. But the total value of peace is not something that most people need explained. The ability to be safe, to work, to raise babies, to have love and friendship, it is something that we have in common with everyone on the planet. It is priceless.
The price of war is quantifiable, it is easy to demonstrate the economic benefits of war. It creates jobs in a down economy. If you were a business person and only looked at the balance sheets you might be inclined to think that war was a good company to invest in, even better if it paid dividends. Peace is nebulous, it is spread out over millions of people, hundreds of thousands of local businesses. It is hard to invest in peace or think about profit margins. Peace’s true value is only felt when it is lost. It is felt when we come to understand that the only thing standing in the way of starving babies and food is bullets in a gun and a propped up ideology.
How many other things in our world do we only truly value when they are lost? Peace is one. But also, health, clean water, clean air, forests, relationships, people we care about. These are things that have quantifiable, monetary value only when they are gone. We intuitively know that these things are precious. That the true worth is not something that can be expressed by money alone. But the interesting thing is, that until we start making choices based on the foundation of love, we easily slide into making the choice that costs the least money, or rather what makes us the most money.
I think the most dangerous force in our economy right now, is love. If people truly cared for their neighbours, their global neighbours, they would stop making most of the foolish decisions they do. Love would crumble the system. If you loved others and loved yourself, then no need to buy the latest keeping up with the Jones’ item. It would be easy to spend more to get less if it meant you were buying local, sustainable and responsible. For a long time we have kept the true cost of our little daily decisions at arms length. It is uncomfortable to acknowledge that our decisions might have hurt the things we hold dear.
But there is power in acknowledging this pain, because it is like the cancer patient that finally stops smoking, through the realization we are given the gift, the push to change. To choose better, to choose wiser, to choose love.