Philosophy of Peace Education

Philosophy of Peace Education

For 1986 CPREA Conference

S. Kounosu

University of Lethbridge

Title: On Philosophy of Peace Education

Abstract: Peace Education is gaining popularity among educational institutions. However, there are problems particularly in view of the traditional roles the educational systems played for nationalism and their implicit philosophical or even ideological biases which tended to help the making of wars rather than constructing peace. In this paper, some of the problems contained in the traditional philosophy of education are discussed, and a few suggestions are made for a paradigm shift in education. Taking cognizance of the Pedagogy for Oppressed, the Theology of Liberation, and Critical Sociology that emerged in response to the general crisis of the world today, Peace Education is considered as the transformation of intelligence toward the 21st century. The main basis of this paper is a philosophy of communication, intended t be distinct from the traditional philosophy of knowledge.


The World today is coming to an extraordinary phase of transformation, which contains both a possibility of Nuclear extinction and a possibility for a great social evolution comparable to Renaissance.

The challenge of Peace Education is to perceive the possibility of the great social evolution and to play the central role in actualizing it. That is, the possibility of Peace has to be perceived and the conditions for Peace have to be constructed. In this sense, Peace Education is evolutionary in aiming at the future which is not “reality” at the present moment. And it is distinct in its logic from that of the traditional sense of education which is concerned with the adaptation to a given set of conditions that exist at a time. Peace education proposes the possible future and intends to make what it proposes. In this, Peace Education has to be “prophetic”, and explicitly  “value loaded”, and it cannot stop at the level of transmitting knowledge of fact as unalterable conditions given. If our intelligence cherished in educational institutions so far is the kind that is fixated on “facts”, Peace Education needs reformulation of the intelligence itself. Peace Education is a learning by the humanity as a whole, and it is to transform the way of learning as well.

That we have come to this phase, however, is not an arbitrary intellectual accident, nor is a utopian imagination. The phase of industrialization and accompanying colonialization appears to have come to the final stage. Limits of the energy-material resources and environmental pollutions can no longer be ignored. The ideology of economy, based on a faith in ever increasing production power, is no longer viable. And the educational system, which has been effective in the industrialization phase, now faces the challenge of finding a new paradigm, even if there were no danger of Nuclear Holocaust.

And Peace Education, even if it is conceived as that which is concerned with preventing Nuclear Holocaust as the immediate task, is inseparable from the education for the social transformation. For the Nuclear War is industrialization of wars, and as such it is a necessary consequence of the powerful paradigm prevalent in the past several centuries. It was not a group of mad politicians and military men that made the Nuclear Bombs, but highly intelligent scientists, engineers, and managers of organizations, who were products of the higher education, that made the bombs and systems of the wars. In that sense the educational system is far from an innocent by-stander of the Nuclear crisis that our civilization faces today. Education was not neutral as to the value system that led the civilization to this stage. And if there can be any possibility of Peace on the Earth, the philosophy of Education itself must be changed, starting with the very pretence that it is value neutral.

Historically, it was industrialization and colonialization that made the school system of education both necessary and possible. The technology for the industrialization, or rather”technologization” required the emergence of educated managers and educated workers. It liberated people, to a degree, from the caste system based on inheritance and kinship. But it created a technical elite class which is more efficient and powerful in operating large-scale social organizations than the social hierarchy of the feudal castes. The school system of education played the major role in the creation of the technical elite class. The industrialization did succeed in expanding production of material goods and provide a bases for higher standards of living than what was possible under the feudal system. The production power made large-scale education possible, and the education made further expansion of the production power possible. It was in a “vicious circle” of positive feedback, just as wars are in the dynamics of escalation. In a Marxist term, that was the “reproduction” circuit of the technocracy. And education was a part of the positive feedback loop of the “reproduction” process.

And the modern nation-states with huge mechanisms of bureaucracy and military forces became possible by the emergence of technical elites. They were the governing mechanism of the modern society, the organizers and managers of productions, the officers of military forces, the inventers and maintenancemen of industrial technology. Educational institutions were organized to produce the elites and workers.

Interestingly, the expanded scale of market with heterogeneous population required a new basis of communication. The “scientific rationality”, newly emerged at the outset of the Industrial Revolution, assumed the role of unifying intellectual authority which religious institutions failed to maintain. Although educational institutions inherited many aspects in practices and philosophy of “teaching” from the religious institutions, they had to adapt to the “scientific rationality” which is the infrastructure of the technological mentality.

The historical process then can be viewed as a stage in development of communication, in addition to the development of production power. The socio-historical impacts of printing technology are well known. The machine itself is not, perhaps, impressive but it made the emergence of printed media possible and created professions associated with it. The technology of printing made standardization of language and hence imposition of uniform thinking possible. Without the technology of printing, the bureaucracy of national government, military organizations, and large business firms, would not have been possible. In turn printed media came as a technology of communication and its mastery became the main concern of the education.

The technology also opened a way to what we know as the Democracy, through its capacity of mass production and mass distribution. But we note that the mass media is also a means of propaganda controlled by technological elites. Although mass media does allow expression of the “people’s voice” and entertains a certain degree of “plurality”, it does require the skill of articulation which acts as a barrier to direct access by the majority of people. It also created separation of “the producer” and “the consumer”. If the media is to be a tool for peace, either the general population has to learn the art of communication or the format of the media has to be changed from that of “the superior in power and knowledge talking to the inferior” to that of “exchanges among the equals”.

That the technology of communication is developed in the form of mass production for mass consumption is also reflected in the way educational institutions conduct their business. the dominant format of communication in educational institutions today is that of issueing command. As A. J. Ayer in Language, Truth, and Logic (1946) argued, to the mentality of modern intellectuals, even a simple statement of fact is a political act of the speaker commanding the listeners to know the fact asserted. It presupposes ignorance of the listeners to whom the speaker is superior. “Speaking to” is an assertion of power over the listener. In schools, teachers are the ones who speak. And even in our conversations, we are observed to be playing the game of “one-up-manship”. Our negotiations are often in the form of “power struggle between adversaries”, not the form of “consultation” for arriving at cooperation. Our formal education and academic disciplines do not help us much in communication in the sense of “exchanges among equals”. And, it is not surprising then, our national governments are not competent in the communication that would lead to cooperation for eliminating the danger of Nuclear Ar. We are not educated to communicate efficiently, but rather educated to compete in power struggles.

The modern education that emerged in our technocratic age is “rational” to the degree which efficient production of material goods, and more importantly, transmission of commands in large social scales demand. But it is defective in not only its concealment of the implicit political bias, value choices, but also in not educating people to be competent for political and value choices. It failed to provide the skills and develop means of communicating on issues of social cooperation in political and value choices. Science education did provide the skills and means for large social scale agreements as to “objective facts”. I suppose, that is what is so called “Rationality”. But for setting out “purposes of actions” in a large social scale, we have not developed the necessary competence. We not that “purposes” are not “facts”, and as such , they require a different philosophy to deal with.

The traditional philosophies of Education paid little attention to the “philosophy of purpose” and the problems of how to communicate in such contexts. In the historical context, the neglectis understandable. It is the employer who sets the purpose. Workers and technical elites as hired hands are only expected to be competent in carrying on what is commanded by the employer who pays. In that sense, what the majority of the educated population does is “purposeless” and “value neutral”. Modern professionals and workers are slaves to whoever pays them. Only through indirect means, such as consumer market and civil elections, they come to be of some influence. Occasional references to ideals of Democracy and flairs of Revolutionary movements are not sufficient for motivating educational systems to consider problems of purose and value, let alone problems of communication in these regards. Rather, schools are preoccupied with job training. Academic training is thinly disguised professional training to which the “education for good citizen” is subservient. The practices of educational systems are “value nneutral” in that they effectively block developments of competence in the art of communication with respect to social scale purposes. Peace education is inconceivable within “value neutrality”. Peace Education, if there can be any, has to be “political” to the extent it concerns with choices of values in social scales.

Yet, to construct the competence in communication as such requires competent communication. Here we have a problem of a vicious circle in reverse. We have to start a positive feedback loop of an escalating dynamics for Peace Education from where there was only a negative feedback sense for Peace. This is difficult.

One of the difficulties is our rhetoric. For discussion of social scale communication, it is inevitable that we face the complexity of large interactive systems. Yet our usual rhetoric in intellectual discourses is basically that of simple Newtonian Mechanics of talking “an object in motion under a cause.” A linear sequence of such descriptions constitutes our narration, though linguists tell us that comprehensions require awareness of webbed relations. But the rhetoric of simple object mechanics is hardly adequate for talks of complex webs of interactions and inter-relations which make up systems. We note here that it is not so much because we are “ego-centric” that we have troubles transcending individualistic metaphors in our narrations. Rather, it is the simplicity of talking of one object at a time that bind us in the the individualistic metaphor such as saying “Mr. Reagan (or Mr. Kadafi) is the cause of terrorism.” For the effectiveness of communication in large social scales, the simplicity is an important requirement, particularly in relation to the general competence in communication that exists now. However, it is also possible that the competence in communication can be improved. We can see the history of civilization as an evolutionary process of competence in communication, in parallel to the Capitalist-Marxist view of history as a development in material production capacity.

I am proposing here that development of competence in communication to be the aim of Peace Education. And under the general theme of “competence in communication”, I am thinking of those in the following 4 contexts:

i International understanding and cooperation

ii Change of social structures towards more equality and accommodations, away from power relations.

iii Revolution in our sense of “knowing” (epistimology, science, intelligence) towards “learning” which is a form of mutual interactions and as such “communication”. It is dynamic and closer to “performing” — hence “competence”, not “possession of static knowledge”.

iv Managing of communication internal to “psyche” (mind) as a complex system similar to community.

These 4 contexts are distinguished for conceptual conveniences. They are integrated thruough complex dynamics. Peace Education has to deal with the problems of “Integrated understanding” of complex dynamics. “Communication” for itself is an aspect of the synamics of complex systems. Perhaps, “System Dynamics”, not necessarily as “physics”, but a “philosophy”, is included in the program of Peace Education. I do not have enough space in this paper to elaborate on this, but I think it is important that some attempts are made to elucidate “Peace as a Dynamical system”.

And from the complexity of systems, which defies determinism, we may learn that our assertions of “scientific certainty” are often arrogant illusions. As many accidents in systems demonstrate, we do not have the “knowledge” if it means to have a completeness. Rather, we do have to “perform” with an incomplete set of partial information. The operations in such situations, which happen to be the majority of the cases, are more akin to what existential philosophers talked about. Peace education, in my view, must stress this point that we are concerned with practical performances in less than perfect conditions. “Peace”, in that sense, is a verb, and it ought not be imagined as something perfect and static (a noun sense). Peace that we look for is the kind that can be practiced in imperfect conditions. And we are far from “perfect beings”. Rather, we have to “live with problems” and the degree of competence in the “Art of living with problems” is expressed by an adjective “Peace”.

There are certainly many problems if we are to do Peace Education. It is a big challenge. I shall not be able to discuss all the problems, let alone provide the “answers”. I shall touch upon onluy a few problems as starting points of discussion. Besides, I think Peace Education is not for “teaching the answers” to be memorized and recited by students. It is rather learning the way of dealing with problems. That is to say, Peace Education is “learning of ways of learning”. And the learning has to be done by the community as a whole. I approach Peace Education as if it is “Warmongers Anonymous” — in a pun with “Alcoholics Anonymous”. If that is acceptable to this conference, I would like to practice “conferring” here, rather than taking the academic posture of asserting a great truth (as if!).

II. Education and Communication

Faced with the threat of Nuclear Holocaust, and for that matter with many other socila problems, we come to talk of education as a way of solution. But the term “Education” has two distinct meanings. One is that of education of individuals in adapting to existing social conditions, such as professional training. It is for competitions in the job market, and this is what the practices of school systems are mainly concerned with. Another is that of education in the sense of leaning by a society as a whole to change itself. Einstein is often quoted as saying “The Atomic Bomb changed everything except the way of thinking.” He was suggesting that the human race as a whole must change the old way of thinking in order to survive. And for that we think of “education” in the second sense to perform the necessary transformation of the whole human community.

However, “The education for individualistic competition” and “the education as learning of a community to transform” are not necessarily contradictory. That is, provided an autonomous dynamics often referred to as “the Invisible Hand” of the market competition functions well, the individual competitions are expected to bring about learning of the community. The nominative aims of the two senses of education are dialectically related. And there is an intermediate sense of education as the means of nationalistic competition. But there lies a problem. We usually do not make clear distinctions between them, and when “the Invisible Hand” fails to funciton well, the first sense dominant in school systems becomes the opposition to the second sense.

In our history, we might acknowledge that competitions within each nation and among nations brought human race as a whole to closer inter-relations. Although the sacrifices and costswwer very high, even wars could be seen as opening intimate interactions and communication among people. Given the levels of competence in communication at those historical stages, colonial trades and even wars may be recognized as parts of the historical learning process. Taht i, after all empires fell, we are left with an enlarged scale of communication and hopefully we have learned the art of communication in that scale. Today, we have a “World Community” — or we ar about to make one, if we succeed in overcoming the problems of power struggles. We made our lives so interdependent that there is no escape from it, even if the interdependency is about to bring us a disaster. The only way out is to manage the system of interdependency well. And the way to manage the system is the “communication”.

Perhaps, when people come to talk of Education for Peace, they implicitly mean the learning of communication by the world community. I think that possibility is worth a serious exploration and I shall argue a case for it. In order to do so, however, a few explanations about “communication” are necessary.

The view of the world history as a process of learning to communicate — or rather of learning to construct a collective “intelligence” by competent communication, is just an alternative view, parallel with the dominant view of the classical economists (including Marx) who saw the history as an ever enlarging reproduction of material production power. The views need not be in conflict, though they are a pair of dialectical opposites. Only for the sake of making things explicit, I shall stress the opposing aspects, particularly in their implications to the philosophy of education and the issue of war/peace.

The role of communication is to make things explicit in the social scale. In this aspect, communication is concerned with “knowing”, or “discovering” in a social scale. But it is done so as to construct cooperation in that scale. Particularly, in the context of Peace Education, the most important aspect of communication is that of “proposing” actions by the community. As such, communication is “value loaded” and “political”. I suppose from this political naturee of communication, we come to regard “communication” to mean “transmission of commands”, as in such usages as “Communication-Command Centre”, etc. but I shall be talking of “communication” in the sense of mutual affairs, such as “interactions”, “exchanges”, “negotiations”, “consultations”, etc. I regard the communication in the sense of “transmitting commands” as a primitive form, although the most technological theory of communication appears to be preoccupied with communication at this level. The communication at the level of “mutual affair” requires competence in the art. It has to do with “performance” than “knowledge”. Peace education has to be of relevance to this “performance” , not just “knowing what peace is”, but becoming competent in “performing peace”.

The above summarizes my opinion, but there are a few notes to be added.

Needless to say, to make something “explicit” can be concealing what is not said, as in the case of propaganda and implicit censorship. The concealments come because a society cannot talk about and be aware of everything that goes on. There is “political hegemony”, so to speak, as to what is to be communicated to what extent. There exists a certain paradigm at a time in a society that a certain set of things are “of interest” to be talked about and others are not. And the

efficiency of communication favors a certain fixed pattern, often with metaphorical images and metaphysical assumptions, if not ritual symbolisms. Unfamiliar tacts are disadvantaged because they require a longer time and more effort than that along the established patterns, even if there was no prejudice. If there are prejudices, particularly implicit ones, communication would be blocked. In such occasions, we used to appeal to force-violence to break the blockage. In the Nuclear Age, we can no longer afford such an easy way out, but we have to try a highe art of communication. We note education as such has to do with “performance”, not “knowledge”. And in this, a paradigm shift in education is inevitable.

There are natural obstacles in communication and if a society is not competent in the art, it can easily fall into “prejudices”, “superstitions”, etc., by default. It may well be true that many Europeans under the Nazis did not “know” the systematic ethonocide was going on, just as many Americans did not “know” they were killing off Indians even after the Civile War.

I add here that if one view of “thinking” is to be a particular kind of “communication” inside a “brain as a community”, the above role of communication still holds. “To know” is to make explicit in the intellectual sense. We note that our “psyche” does conceal what is going on in our “mind”. Many functions of our brain are not “known” to ourselves. By our “vergaization”, we “know” and “knowledge” as such is very limited even as to what our brains are doing. Consequently, communication at the intellectual (verbalized) level is very limited in its scope and difficult. This is more reason why we need education in the art.

But we can regard knowing operations, such as “Discoveries” of laws of motion, etc. in physics, as “verbalization” of what were not expressed in human languages. The verbalized “laws of Nature” are important to the community, for they can be communicated and provide the basis on which cooperation in the community can be built. That is, intellectual “thinking” is social to taht degree and distinct by its communicability. And the ability of a community to respond to its needs and environment is critically dependent on its competence in communication — to verbalize problems and to allow efficient transmission within.

This is the reason whey we need the second sense of education cited previously. You may understand this by noting that the kind of societies depicted in The Brave New World by A. Huxley, for example, does not give a sense of being “educational” despite being “knoledgeable”, because they do not have efficient communication in the sense of “learning by community”. I suppose our world community at this moment is somewhere in between the ideal learning kind and the extreme non-learning kind.

I have contrasted “materialist view” to communicational (information theoretical) view in the above. This may require some explanations. The “materialist view” of either the right or the left, is the dominant view in our society in the past few centuries, and it constituted the metaphysical foundation for education. And, in the context of considering Peace Education, the “materialists” would think of teaching how many Nuclear Weapons are made of what materials and what material damages are expected from their use, etc. Warning camps are accounted in terms of how many men, tanks, guns, planes, battle ships and carriers. Something physical takes the centre of attention, perhaps simply because it is easier to imagine physical objucts. It does give a feeling of familiarity and concrete immediateness, as terms like “objective”metaphorically suggest.

Perhaps, it is natural for us to pay attention to “objects”. It is like watching “actors” on a theatrical stage. The actors are not the “play”, but we only come to comprehend the play as a whole by tracing what the actors do.

But such a strategy of thinking is too limited to be of help for comprehending complex systems and situations. The complex systems and situations contain “feedback loops” and the “tracing object” type narration-representations is useless for them, if not misleading. We do have to use “abstract” terms such as “force”, “energy”, “time”, etc. in physics for example. The advantage of “materialist” strategy of narration in giving the feeling of “concrete immediateness” and “familiarity” in metaphors, now acts against developments of the art of describing. Without cultivating abstract imaginations, we cannot even do simple physics of mechanical motions, let alone comprehending the dynamics of systems. Modern physics since Newton is not “objective” at all, if people mean “object-likeness” by the term “objective”. In fact, the notion of “objectivity” itself is a highly abstract one and very elusive at that. Nonetheless, the term was useful in the historical context by suggesting a certain “feeling” by the metaphor. It came tbe a mislieading one, only because people forgot that “objectivity” is an abstract metaphorical notion.

In the above, the point about “objective knowledge” is stressed, because there is a well observable trick in media manipulation. That is, government and military officials often come out with impressive sets of numbers — known as the “number game”, to say in effect that people who say something critical of them are “ignorant” but they know the “objective facts”. Tp an extent, ordinary citizens are disadvantaged in terms of “factual information”. Many things discussed in the context of the Arms Race are military secrets. And, even if some information is not secret, it is not easily accessible to ordinary citizens. What are so called “Weapon Experts” come out and try to intimidate and discredit critics.

But other than impressing someone by possessing “knowledge” , the cited numbers, etc. are not important at all. They are cited for “ritualistic effects”. The fact that a guy happens to know exactly what the explosive power of a certain specific type of warhead is, does not make his opinion trustworthy as to military value of the weapon system, strategy or political implications. But the problem is that we have a habit of being impressed by numbers that we have a fear about. We do not listen to people who do have wisdom in their plain talk that we can understand. It is as if we do not trust our own intelligence and we look down on someone whose talk is understandable to us. We respect what we do not understand, perhaps out of fear. In classroom teaching, it is a well known trick to exhibit a big word or a big equation to impress students. Unfortunately, students would not pay attention unless they are threatened a bit. So that such a practice goes on as “educational technique”. I wonder if Peace Education also employs such a trick.

Our ways of communication are multiply layered and we are affected by many factors which we may not be conscious of. Our modes of communication are highly “redundant”. That communication is multi-layered and redundant is actually advantageous in the sense we have several channels to override noises and judge reliability of signals. But that makes our communication very complicated. For example, it is very simple to instruct arithmeatics to a simple computer. But it is very hard to do the same to humans. Humans have advantages in performing complex tasks such as pattern perceptions, or anticipating motions of evading an enemy plane, etc., but not in simple tasks. I imagine, this is because our brain is a very complex system. And the way two or more brains interact through exchanges of symbolic signals, such as series of alphabets, is very fascinating dynamics which we understand very little.

In talking of “communication”, we are talking of very complex systems, situations, or dynamics. The kind of Communication we are concerned in peace education is at least “two way interaction” and it presupposes “loop structure” of feedback to begin with. We may have to learn about system dynamics as such. This would be one agenda in peace education. It is not so much the question of “knowledge”, but the question of “competence” in performing the art. This is another paradigm shift in education, if there is to be peace education. And the only way we can learn the art is to practice it. That is, the peace education has to be on a format which allows and fosters development of “communication”, not just “transmission of knowledge”.

III. From the Pedagogy of Authority to the Pedagogy of Liberation

We know how to teach ourselves to be “good soldiers”, “good inventors of weapons”, “good competitors”, “efficient destroyers of environment”, etc. That is evident in our history. But we have not developed “Education for Peace”. The educational system itself has to learn the way of peace. We do not have ready-made “peace education” but we have to construct one by learning without prior knowledge.

This is paradoxical. One might ask if Peace can be learned at all. However, this paradox is not new. Some 2000 years ago Aristotle heard and recorded the same paradox about learners. His version of the paradox was narrated like the following.

“the learners wish to learn only because they do not know the object of the learninig. But, without knowing what to learn, it is impossible to know how to learn. Hence, it is impossible to learn.”

I imagine the argument was invented by Sophists and they were waiting for people to step into the trap by saying, “Therefore, students should follow the master.” The sophists, although they might be game players, knew better. They would point out the problem of how th master had learned. The paradox is interesting in that the answers to the paradox set philosophy and operational modes of education. Let us see some of the responses to the paradox.

Religious teaching had a neat metaphysical escape from the paradox in that “God”, who is external to the ignorant humanity and knows everything, supposedly teaches. To that extent, a religious institution held a monolithic control over a population; it acted as the authority to arbitrate conflicts among people within the dominion and thereby reduced the frequency of violence. On that merit, religious institutions could have been “peace teachers” to the “ignorant and violent people”. This constitutes a philosophy of teaching.

I shall nickname the above “Pedagogy of Authority”. It is characterized by having some “superior being” teach someone inferior. And we notice in this context that “knowledge” to be taught must be justified as much as it is to be imposed on learners.

To be sure, our educational institutions are by and large “secular”. To the extent the religious institutions in the past were often instigators of “Holy Wars”, the secularization was an improvement. We have learned to live with religious tolerance. However, we have today “Nationalistic Wars” and “Ideological Wars” which resemble religious wars in many aspects. And in educational practices, we have inherited the “Pedagogy of Authority” from religions, despite the secularization.

The idea that an absolute authority act as the peace-teacher and peace-keeper on the basis of power to  suppress undesirables still has a strong influence in our society. In the the present context of the Superpower competition over Nuclear hegemony, the idea that one superior power can be the peace-keeper and hence the achieving of the superior status is desirable for the world peace is apparently popular and the idea is driving the world towards Nuclear Holocaust. Therefore, we need to analyse this philosophy in some more detail.

We note that the authoritarian philosophy of education persists even today, despite the secularization that took place in our history. The modern Nation-States are more efficient in organizing the population under its dominion to fight wars than religious institutions and Feudal kingdoms. In a sense, the Nation-State suppresses small-scale violences and moderate struggles within, but it has the monopoly of violence against people within and against other nations.

There, religious dogma was replaced by the “scientific-technological rationality” which is more competent in providing grounds for social scale consensus. Science-technology is liberating in that it allows a degree of “plurality”, while maintaining an effective control over population. iN that sense, science-technology is the replacement of religion as the authority for the social scale thinking. The philosophical discipline of “epistemology” emerged as an art of justifying the “knowledge” to be imposed by some power authority. Rules of Evidence, Logical Proof, etc., are needed to justify the power implied by “knowledge”. They are the means to subjugate “less intelligent people”. And the metaphorical image of knowledge transmitted from supperior to the inferior persists even in Information Theory in terms of Entropy Law.

In Handbook on Peace Education, edited by C. Wulf and published by International Peace Research Association, in 1974, Haken Wiberg pointed out a “caste distinction” between Peace Researchers and Peace Educators. He observed that Peace researchers as the producers of knowledge assumed a superior position to peace educators who were perceived to be merely the transmitters of the knowledge produced. The reason for this was division  of labours and the specialization strategy of “science”. But it does reflect the authoritarian tendency even in peace researchers to imagine human relations in a metaphor of “from superior to inferior”. Communication is recognized as being of a secondary importance, and the question of integration-synthesis is altogether forgotten. I think this is a manifestation of “technological elitism” that is prevalent in our age, and one obstacle to be overcome in the waty to peace. So let me elaborate on the point further.

In the modern age, the idea that an authority can impose peace upon a barbaric population by force came out in a form of colonialism , as one might read in the poem, “The Whitemen’s Burden”, by R. Kipling, composed 1899 when the U.S. took possession of the Philipines. The “Whitemen” wished peace and went out on a crusade to impose their idea of peace on other people. The method was wars and education.

We can also read the poem as an expression of a philosophy of education which missioned itself to impose “civilization” on the “barbaric” people within a society, as well as ones outside. IN that sense, it was also applied internally to the whitemen’s society. Population had to be pacified and domesticated for the production capacity to grow and commercial enterprises to go on unhampered. Education as such is admittedly more “peaceful” than repression by physical violence and perhaps more “cost effective.” But the psychology of fear was necessary in the maintenance of the ultimate authority which is a disguised violence.

Education as such did not eliminate physical violences but rather it stood on violence. We see even today that “teaching” is still accompanied with “corporal punishment” and it does stress “classroom control” as confinement and restriction of children. The notion that children are “ignorant barbarians” who have to be kept under strict control, if necessary by force, is fading gradually. And perhaps in higher education that is practically extinct. But nonetheless, the authoritarian sense of “teaching” is still prevalent event today. And recent reports from Japan talk of rampant violence in schools. Educators attribute the violence to be the results of stresses in the highly competitive society and the “authoritarian pedagogy” required for the competition. In terms of armaments, Japan is one of the most “peaceful” nations. But in terms of lifestyle and education, Japan is not “peaceful.”

Perhaps, however, the degree in which we dissociate the notion of authority from fear of violence is a measure of internalization and it is also a measure of success in “Education” as such. We no longer need to appeal to violence to get necessary accommodations in ordinary social relations. We know if we fail to be “reasonable” , whatever the level of “reason” we can practice, we would have to use physical forces which are very expensive in termssocial costs as well as in terms of personal safety and property damages. In that sense, we have achieved a degree of Pacification through Education. This has to be acknowledged. But, “pacification” is not “peace”.

We might say, in a large-scale historical view, that we have come a long way towards Peace. We might even congratulate ourselves by saying that only a few more steps to reach the point of no-return on the way to Peace. But a few remaining difficulties, if so perceived, are not the same kind that stem from the general population being ignorant and barbaric. Rather they come from the power structure of our domesticated life that depends on ultimate violence. The “education” which it practices for maintainance of the power structure as such, is then a part of the problem for itself.

If the efficiency of the modern nation-states is less, say not able to organize Nuclear War capacity, we may have had a longer time scale to solve the problem of wars. But, as it is, the efficiency or rather the technical “intelligence” of the Nation States is very hight and we are almost overwhelmed by it. Once triggered, our Nuclear Intelligence can destroy the life systems on the Earth in a matter of a few hours. We must credit our “education” for the achievement of high efficiency in that particular aspect. That is, the Pedagogy of Authority worked successfully in that respect.

Of course, the problem is our dismal failures in other aspects of our social organization. For Peace the authoritarian education would not do. For it was the authoritarian education that taught how to fight wars. Authoritarian posture is no different from the way a Baboon colony establishes who is the Boss, although it does replace small violences among members of the colony by a large one and thereby reduces frequency of violence. The theory that humans ar viciously aggressive “Naked Apes” is wrong in terms of anthropology and biology, but it is correct as a description of our social practices.

I view that the aggression of the scale we practice today is not an innate nature in us, but it is “education” into us. As human communities came to face problems of increasingly large scale social interactions and communication, they have “mis-developed” out of fear and by the appeal of power to secure the safety into the authoritarian direction. It was essentially a “defensive’ strategy, although it came out in “offensive postures”. In this sense, I have a doubt if the fear of Nuclear destruction and death is an adequate basis for peace education. “Defense” and “Offense” may be two faces of the same coin at the depth of psychology, beyond just being propagandist manipulations of the two words. That is, the “authoritarians” may be aggressive because of their paranoic fear. The way out may be found in courageous exploartions which transcend fear and even take risks.

And as to alternatives to the pedagogy of authority, there are interesting hints from “Liberation Theology”. Liberation Theology is interesting, because the religion that invented the “pedagogy of authority” contained in itself antidotes to it. The religion in each ancient community functioned as “the collective intelligence” of the community, and as such it had to contain some elements of practical wisdom for good life. Christianity talks of Love, and it has a particular preoccupation with the “oppressed”. We note that “love” was a practical necessity without whichh the community would have become extinct. Naturally, therefore, it contained Liberation Theology. It was the “establishment” of a power institution that inhibited developments in the domain of Love. That is, the dynamics of love relations in communities had to exist anyhow. It is only in intellectual recognitions that the dynamics was concealed and barred from intellectual communication and thereby being kept ineffective in social-political sense.

Interestingly, the rhetoric of the religious dogma asserting its institutional authority was basically that of “fear tactics” — such as the devils who would attack if one has no defense. Whereas, the stories for Love show no concern with safety nor preoccupation with defense. Love often involves courageous sacrifices of personal safety. If there is danger, then the strategy is to share the danger at one’s risk. I think this psychological dynamics is very important. For, we can compare the rhetoric with that of the Arms Race which requires existence of a “devil”. And, in a contrast, the advocacy of peace which involves risk taking — which thereby become vulnerale to labels like “unrealistic”, “irrational”, “utopian”.

Liberation Theology attempts to liberate itself from the power structure of the traditional religious dogma, in order to “liberate people from the oppression”. It attempts to liberate itslef from fear within as well as fear from outside. And the “liberation within” is educational. If we compare, at this point, Liberation Theology with Liberation Pedagogy —say in the form expressed by Paulo Freier in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Continuum Pub. Co. 1985), we see the messages are the same. The armed struggles by the oppressed people today are just as bloody as the ones in the history, but we note that they are no longer simple ones of “seizing power”. Every one of the struggles stresses the liberation within. And the practices of the revolution are marked by very high recognition of the importance of communication among people in learning. As much as armed struggles are there, somewhat “authoritarian” practices of “Revolutionary Leadership” is still visible. But we can observe that “vertical” metaphor of hierarchical power structure is considerably weakened in the rhetorics of the liberation, and increasingly more appeals for “horizontal” metaphor stressing communication are made in them now.

Peace Education can take hints from Liberation Theology. The philosophy of Peace Education has to liberate itself from the power structure that is leading the human race to ultimate destruction. But it cannot stand on the fear of Nuclear Death. We like to free ourselves from fear of Nuclear Holocaust. For that our philosophy must be free from the Fear, and be able to risk the defenseless position. Here, if we need a slogan, we could make up such as: “When all Defenses go, Peace will come!”

To be sure, within our present notion of “rationality” and “reasonableness”, one cannot ask, let alone compel anybody, to be “defenseless”. Even with the “authority” of being Professors of Peace Study or Peace Researchers, we cannot force the risk on anybody. Unlike theology, we do not teach articles of Faith. We can only suggest the “theology” and discuss it as a possibility among others. But then, not compelling peace on anybody may be consistent with the notion of Peace. We can propose, discuss, consult, and negotiate for practical agreements. That is, we are back to communication.

In reference to the Paradox of Learner cited before, we remind ourselves that we are the Learners. And we are searching the ways of learning peace. We do not have “the answer” in deterministic sense, nor can we start from “the answers” in deductionistic sense. Being liberated, that is being Free, is being vulnerable. We are not safe. We must accept the risk for the sake of peace. In practical terms, however, we are not absolutely Free. That gives us practical things to do, in struggles relative to the problems we have. In that sense, we can propose and try certain hypothesis and learn whether or not they work step by step relative to the problems. That is, the problems are our guides. I have criticized the present practices of education and of the intellectuality in general. But I ought to be thankful that there are problems and contradictions which guide my learning of peace. The “liberation” also comes from within.

Appendix to Chapter III.

It is instructive to reread Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden”, for it is not just an expression of colonialism, but also an expression of the dominant paradigm of education in the past and even today. We need to reflect upon the philosophy of education as such and consider if Peace Education  can be on the same philosophy. Therefore I cite the poem here.

The White Man’s Burden


The United States and the Philippine Islands

Take up the White Man’s burden —

Send forth the best ye breed —

Go bind your sons to exile

To serve your captives’ need;

To wait in heavy harness

On flutter fold and wild —

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,

Half devil and half child.

Take up the White Man’s burden

In patience to abide,

To veil the threat of terror

And check the show of pride;

By open speech and simple,

An hundred times made plain,

To seek another’s profit,

And work another’s gain.

Take up the White Man’s burden —

The savage wars of peace —

Fill full the mouth of Famine

And bid the sickness cease;

And when your goal is nearest

The end for others sought,

Watch Sloth and heathen Folly

Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the White Man’s burden —

No tawdry rule of kings,

But toil of serf and sweeper —

The tale of common things.

The ports ye shall not enter,

The roads ye shall not tread,

Go make them with your living,

And mark them with your dead!

Take up the White Man’s burden —

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard —

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —

‘Why brought ye us from bondage,’

‘Our loved Egyptian night?’

Take up the White Man’e burden —

Ye dare not stoop to less —

Nor call too loud on Freedom

To cloak your weariness;

By all ye cry or whisper,

By all ye leave or do,

The silent, sullen peoples

Shall weigh your Gods and you.

Take up the White Man’s burden —

Have done with childish days —

The lightly proffered laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years,

Cold-edged with dear-bought wisdom.

The judgement of your peers!

IV. The Problem of Cooperation in Diversity

There will be many problems in Peace Education. I shall discuss only one of them here, in hope that there are many discussions about other problems in this conference and elsewhere. The problem I would like to discuss here is rather “philosophical” in a derogatory sense that it is a somewhat abstract one of cooperation among people with diverse sets of values, ideals, and cultures. However, the problem shows up in various contexts and perhaps it is of some help to discuss it at an abstract level. And it is important because there is a moral-political notion that for a cooperation perfect agreements on everything are needed. And, there is a tendency in teaching practice to insist that there must be, or can be, only one right answer to any problem.

It is perhaps a residue from the monotheistic religions that we are monolithic in thinking. The rhetoric pretending the best tend to be simple and there appears to be popular demand for it. We think strong assertive posture is effective in mass communication. And we teachers tend to feel it necessary for intellectual coherence that one system of thought must be presented as the best, if not as the truth. Of course, we do know for example that theories in physics disagree with each other and they are not absolute truth, yet they are not entirely useless. Even mathematical routines, such as “differentiation” have many different “interpretations”. But we think it to be “pedagogical” necessity to pretend as if what we teach is the best, or the truth. We may be unnecessarily aggressive from our habit in academic competitions. WE may be free from egotism to think we know the best, but there are practical considerations as to avoiding confusions from too many “ifs” and “buts”. For passive audiences, too many competing ideas and theories may be burdensome in that they have to exercise their own thinking. Under the system of divisions of labour, we expect specialized experts to give us the best answer. Even for Peace, we might unconsciously slip into being the “consumers”, rather than being the “producer” of Peace. Being “user friendly” may be a good thing in many technological developments, but there are questions as to whether that is also applicable to peace education We may have to consider if easy consumability is the way of peace education, for that implies peace to be passive rather than active.

Any society, or any “Culture”, as much as it is recognized as a coherent system, it must have a certain set of fundamental agreements. Cooperation among the members of the Culture is necessary for the Culture to survive as a culture. And if the people involved are “thinking beings” at all, they have to share a certain set of “beliefs” or “metaphysical assumptions”. Particularly, if effective communication within a culture is to be carried at the level of linguistic symbols, sharing of a “philosophy” is the precondition for its practicality.

If a society cares at all about its survival, the society, as ones in our history, imposes a philosophy and controls thoughts, by coersion, by rituals, by education, or punishments and rewards. To learn a language is to learn the value system implicit in it. Without being competent in responding and manipulating the value symbolisms, one cannot be a respectable member of the society. Besides it is simple and economical, if we can reduce our thinkings into one uniformal system. Many philosophers apparently tried to construct a grand system of thinking for that purpose, though inevitably they failed. Scientists sought after “One Truth”, until the 19th century — many scientists apparently still believe in “Truth” even today, although it is denied at the formal theoretical level of their discipline. We do value “unity”, “solidarity”, “consensus”, etc. and feel pleasure being among agreeable friends. Those are essential conditions for communication.

However, we have another problem today. That is, we live in a “pluralistic world”. By the developments of world trades, or rather the colonial expansions we come to contact societies with different cultures. Just as it was not practical nor wise to insist one religion over everybody, it is not practical nor wise to insist one culture. technology appears to have unified the humanity in a certain world view, but it created complexity in the interdependency of the living in the modern age and breeded diversity in market activities. The size and extent of social domain absolved into technological controls exponentially multiplies complexities, diversities, and entropy costs.

In addition we have Ideological differences in the Superpower Nuclear confrontation. There, we would say that attempt by one side to achieve “unity” of the world under its hegemony is that main reason of the conflict. And here I remind you that until recently, we thought that “science” transcends all cultural differences and therefore it can unify the world. We now pay some respect to “cultural” elements in science, thanks to writing of Popper, Kuhn, et al. And nowadays we find many books on “Sociology of knowledge” in our libraries which discuss dependancy of “knowledge” and even “reality”, on cultures. At least in practical contexts, we cannot ignore the diversity, even if it is considered to be undesirable. And if we consider diversity to be desirable — I do, but there appears to be people who do not, such as Americans who do not understand why Canadians insist a superficial cultural distinction from that of the U.S. in the face of obvious economic benefits in assimilation with them, — then the problem is more serious.

I shall not argue as to whether or not there can be one agreeable frame for knowledge transcending cultural and ideological differences. But, regardless of the super-metaphysical position as to the possibility of the “unification”, we face the “plurality” and “diversity” of the world community today and have to consider Peace in that context. We need not have perfect agreements on everything, particularly on metaphysical questions. But somehow we have to find a practical set of agreements to live together. And, here lies a problem for Peace Education.

We notice in religions, ideologies, scientific theories and even in geometries, that many controversies are about metaphysical assumptions — such as if two parallel lines meet at infinity or not. In practice, it probably makes little difference if two parallel lines meet at infinity. And it is humanly impossible to reach the “infinity” and actually see the differences. It may offend Christians, but it is very strange for outsiders why Christians insist that the “virgin birth” must be believed in order that the message of love is received. Nonetheless, the “axioms” are very important in the linguistic sense. If we are competent in talking and thinking in different language systems, we may not need to fight about such “ideal assumptions”. But at the moment, we do not have efficient ways of communicating without imposing implicit metaphysics as the common ground.

At any rate Peace Education has to deal with the problem of how to construct cooperations in the world with rich Diversity. Puritanic sentimentality would not do, even though we may be sympathetic to it. At least, we need to consider Tolerance as to the differences, if we fail to understand people who think differently from us. If we are to consider the problems of ideological differences in the context of the Superpower confrontation, we need some ground strong enough to sustain our discussion without going into a fatalistic “relativity” that gives up peace. We are required to be competent in elaborating both positions. We not here that this is not “value neutrality”. Rather, it is full explicit discussion of value systems in which we and others live. We must expose implicit assumptions and values that we stand on, as much as we expose other’s assumptions and values.

It would require critical examinations of out own frame of references on which our “knowledge’ stands. Peace Education cannot be the education that imposes our particular frame of references on our students. That is, the bases of “knowledge” themselves have to be made explicit. Perhaps disciplines such as “Sociology of Knowledge” might appear academic mumbo-jumbos and useless snobism to us. But we do need to know and understand our own “cultural biases”, before talking of others. If we are to teach about the self-imposed blindness in Cold War rhetoric, we need to know if our academic stands might not contain equally ridiculous biases.

And beyond that, Peace Education has to propose ways in which people can construct cooperations without subjugating one group under another. Unfortunately, we do not have “epistemology” to do that yet. Peace Education has to develop the “epistemology” of its own. If Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis is of any guide, I imagine the creation of the new epistemology is equivalent to creating a new language, and that would change our mode of communication. We may have to be even poetical in that.

Interestingly, the difficulties with different cultures, ideologies, etc., repeats in smaller scales when we try to cross the boundaries between fragments of science. It was the grand strategy of science, or rather of the modern intellectualism, to fragment thinking into specialties. Presumably there will be integrations after the “Divide and Conquer”, and cross fertilization among specialized knowledge has been tried and even successful in some cases. But it is acknowledged that, by and large, we are not competent at integrations. The majority of practice in various “science” in professional senses is on the strategy of “Divide and Conquer”, and teaching practices follow the same pattern. Peace education, in this respect is exceptional. There is no way that peace education can be a fragmented science. Reports on peace education points out problems of integration — say for a political scientist to understand physics of weapons systems, genetic consequences of nuclear radiation, complexity problems in computer technology, as well as moral philosophies, for example. Peace education carries an extra burden of being a “generalized” intelligence. It is not the teaching of a specialty.

And there we face a problem of learning “second-hand”. It is unreasonable to expect any individual to know everything at the first-hand. We have to rely upon communication from other learners and by imagination we have to digest what is reported. Of course, in practice, people have been doing the second-hand learning. In fact, “science” would be impossible and meaningless, if we deny the second-hand knowledge. But it so happens that the prevalent philosophy of science (knowledge) concentrates its analysis and commentaries on the first-hand knowledge. Such a philosophy of knowledge (epistemology) is totally inadequate for our social practices, besides being dishonest. We depend on each other to know most anything. We do not have direct access to most information that we need to think of the World. Our practical daily life requires that we have to deal with information presented in highly abstract symbolisms at a high speed which hardly leaves chances of deep reflections. In a complex society, therefore, competence in communication if of critical importance.

And in addition, since it must be a communal effort by people of different cultural backgrounds and different ideologies to construct a way of peace, each of us as individual thinkers cannot and ought not attempt constructing the “philosophy of peace” as an individual enterprise. We are dependent on others to make peace. We can only do the construction in consultations and negotiations. If we consider peace learning to be the learning of the human community as a whole, then communication among us is analogous to communication among nerve cells in our brain.

We might think of it, in a metaphor, that peace has to be learned by the “collective intelligence” of the humanity as a whole. If such a metaphor is appropriate, then we partake in a collecive thinking for peace. But in order for us to start consulting and negotiating, we need a practical condition of peace for them to be possible. This is a “vicious circle” in reverse.

However, if people recognize the problems at all, people do have a motive to come to conferences with those involved in the same problems. We are somewhat like Alcoholic Anonymous in this respect. We might call ourselves “Warmongers Anonymous” ! We come to learn because we have problems and those who share the problems can help. The mutual helping is an important aspect of peace that we wish to learn. And the key element of the construction is communication.

In response to the Learners Paradox, we could say that we can learn from problems. To deal with problems is the learning. If any accumulative sense of effect is sought , we can point to the competence in learning. That is, we learn how to learn. Interestingly, one can look at the history of physics, which is a series of mistakes upon mistakes, as a “learning of how to learn”. And to deal with problems is to have “interactions with” them, and as such “learning” is a form of “communication”. I would imagine the same may be said about Peace Learning.

And there have been encouraging signs for emergence of new paradigms of learning. Recently, a Japanese journal published, under the title “Networking of the Youth”, reports of six cases where young people started their own ways of group learning. The reports are impressive in several senses. Firstly, the journal has been reputed as that for “intellectual snobs”, or at least it has traditionally kept “academic respectability”, and has never printed anything of the kind. Those six groups of young people are not “famous”. They are not “academic”, nor have any pretence of intellectual superiority. They are “experimenting” and having “fun” doing things. The journal itself is changing. Secondly, it is impressive in comparison with what radical students in Japan used to do in the 1960-70’s. They no longer maintain “elitist” attitudes and they are open to most anybody who wishes to join. Thirdly, their “networking” is international. They go to the Philippines, North and South Korea, etc. They look for direct contact with people. Fourthly, they are impressive in contrast to the highly competitive and high tech style of life that the majority of Japanese now have come to live. According to the same journal, Japanese school education is the most advanced one in the world technologically, but at the verge of moral bankruptcy aunder the stress of the high technology. The youth are trying to find the way out. They do not have “philosophy” of the academic sense, that is in technical sense, but they do have a philosophy in a practical sense, constructed and growing with experiments/experiences. Fifthly, they are different from the “hippy commune” type of the 1960-70’s in that they are articulate in communication with others, or at least try to be. And most impressive of all, one of the organizers of networks says of himself as being “Careperson” (in English). He apparently  understood what it means to “Care”. One can take pleasure in hearing emergences of new paradigms such as those. It may mean the beginning of the end of school education. But possibilities to Peace Education are visible. I imagine there are many such signs elsewhere, and I like to hear of such experiences.

Perhaps the description above may be confusing, but it is partly because of the nature of the problems. And I think it is very important for Peace Education to include considerations on the problems of learning. I acknowledge the above to be a sketchy outline for a philosophy of peace education. There are needs of discussing what we can do under the specific conditions that we have to operate now and in the foreseeable future. I would like to be apart of the struggles. And I hope, the suggestion of general direction is useful as an educational exercise.


On the Pedagogy of Liberation

P. Freire Pedagogy of the Oppressed Continuum, 1985

P. Freire The Politics of Education Bergin & Gravey Pub., 1985

H.A. Giroux “Educators as Transformative Intellectuals”, (Speech given at the Univ. of Lethbridge, 1982).

The pedagogy of liberation has a deep relation to the theology of liberation. See:

G. Guitierrez A Theology of Liberation Orbis Books, 1973

R. De Roo Cries of Victims Voice of God Novalis, 1986.

II. On Peace Education

C. Wulf Handbook on Peace Education International Peace Research Association, 1974.

S. Lee “A Course on the Morality of Nuclear Weapons” Teaching Philosophy, Vol. 7, No. 2, Apr. 1984.

L. M. Grob “Buberian Peace Education in the Mideast” Education Theory, Vol. 35, NO. 4, Fall, 1985.

III. On the Crisis of Technological Society

F. Capra The Turning Point Bantam Books, 1982.

J. Ellul The Technological Society Alfred A. Knopf, 1973.

C. Mitcham (Ed.)  Philosophy and Technology The Free Press, 1972.

IV. On Critical Sociology and Education

P. Connerton (Ed.) Critical Sociology Penguin Books, 1976

J.E. Curtis (Ed.) The Sociology of Knowledge Praeger Pub., 1970.

G. Gurvitch The Social Frameworks of Knowledge Oxford Univ. Press, 1971.

J. B. Thompson Critical Hermeneutics Cambridge Univ. Press, 1981.

M. Murphy “Affective Education: The Future” Toward Century 21st. C.S. Wallia (Ed.) Basic Books, 1970.

E. Hurwitz Jr. (Ed.) Criticism, Conflict, and Change. —Reading in American Education. Dodd, Mead & Co., 1972.

H. Esser (Ed.) Transformation of Knowledge Occasional Paper 44. Mar, 1984. Canadian Commission for UNESCO.

H. A. Giroux “Theories of Reproduction and Resistance in the New Sociology of Education” Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 53, p. 257, 1983.

J. Habermas Communication and the Evolution of Society Beacon Press, 1976.

J. Curran “communications, Power, and Social Order” Culture, Society, and the Media M. Gurevitch (Ed.), Methuen, 1982.

V. On Ethical Questions

H.T. Engelhardt, Jr. (Ed.) Morals, Science and Society The Hastings Centre, 1978.

M. Brown (Ed.) The Social Responsibility of the Science The Free Press, 1971.

These references were used, not as the sources of quotations, but as sources of inspiration. I owe to them a great deal as to the “ways of thinking”. This is an acknowledgement of intellectual heritages.

Philosophy of Peace Education For 1986 CPREA Conference S. Kounosu University of Lethbridge Title: On Philosophy of Peace Education Abstract: Peace Education is gaining popularity among educational institutions. However, there are problems particularly in view of the traditional roles the educational systems played for nationalism and their implicit philosophical or even ideological biases which tended […]