Building Our Future on Global Values

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We have become a divided society that seems to have temporarily lost its collective center in values. We have worked globally for many years to define that center in values and we should continue to look to it to guide us now.

“The values of peace, freedom, social progress, equal rights and human dignity, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are no less valid today than when, over half a century ago, those documents were drafted by representatives of many different nations and cultures.” 

Secretary-General Kofi Annan, “Do We Still Have Universal Values?”, in United Nations Meetings, Coverage and Press Releases

I wrote an article for the Non-Violent Change Journal about creating a better world through values. Here is an excerpt from it that speaks to how moral development plays a role in how we deal with our greatest challenges:

“Leo Tolstoy said, ‘All violence consists in some people forcing others, under threat of suffering or death, to do what they do not want to do.’

If we are to protect human life and liberty, our societal goals should be to protect, to care and to serve. If people are continually exposed to violence, they may become desensitized to it and forget that it is not the desired solution to problems, and does not represent a high level of human or moral development…

Because violence is based on power, not cooperation or mutual benefit, it can lead to more violence, a vicious cycle that is hard to break.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, ‘Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.'”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Nonviolence and the Greater Good, Nonviolent Change Journal (page 148)

Disagreements themselves are not harmful. It’s how we act on them that counts. It is important to remember that a better future cannot be taken by force. It has to be built over time on a base of values, understanding, and cooperation.

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership

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1 comment

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