Peace is the state of mutual harmony among people, groups, or countries. It can also be a state of mind that inspires our actions of pacifism. Peace and pacifism, in fact, go hand in hand. Pacifism is essentially the opposition to violence and war to resolve problems, to settle conflicts, or to gain powers; it’s really the opposition of violence altogether, in my opinion, but many definitions of pacifism reflect many different views and uses of the term. Most agree that it is the belief in non-violence.
“Pacifism” as a word took on popularity after the Universal Peace Congress was held for the tenth time in 1901. However, the word “pacifism” originates with Émile Arnaud, a French activist for peace who lived from 1864 to 1921. The ideas behind both peace and pacifism have been held by people for many centuries before the terms were coined.
Martin Luther King, Jr. passionately advocated for pacifism, and he was convinced by such leaders as Ghandi and Howard Thurman that Jesus Christ was also a pacifist. Other famous people who have declared a belief in pacifism include Albert Einstein, Leo Tolstoy, Albert Schweitzer, Carl Sagan, John Lennon, Henry David Thoreau, and John Lennon.
Non-violent protests have proven to be effective and also a testament to the possibility of a truly pacifist world. Even so, sometimes authorities prove to be violent toward those in peaceful protests, such as what happened in the civil rights movement. Ultimately, though, pacifism as demonstrated through non-violent activism has proven to be respected and one of the things that can truly change the world.