Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Is Peace Just Internalized Conflict?

Came across an interesting passage in, "The Meaning of 'Ethical Neutrality' in sociology and Economics," an essay of Max Weber in which he argues that there is no such thing as peace:

"Conflict cannot be excluded from social life.  One can change its means, its object, even its fundamental direction and its bearers, but it cannot be eliminated.  There can be, instead of an external struggle of antagonistic persons for external objects, an inner struggle of mutually loving persons for subjective values and therewith, instead of external compulsion, an inner control (in the form of erotic or charitable devotion).  Or it can take the form of a subjective conflict in the individual's own mind.  It is always present and its influence is often greatest when it is least noticed, i.e., the more its course takes the form of indifferent or complacent passivity or self-deception, or when it operates as 'selection.'  'Peace' is nothing more than a change in the form of conflict or in the antagonists or in the object of conflict, or finally in the chances of selection."

So, is peace possible or is it just the internalization of unavoidable struggle?