The Science of Peace Review

The Science of Peace Review
This book review is on The Science of Peace: How to Apply Nonviolence by Suman Khanna Aggarwal. The author is a scholar on the life and teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian lawyer renowned for leading his country to independence from British rule. She is also a well-known proponent of Gandhi’s legacy of nonviolent conflict resolution and interfaith harmony.

‘The Science of Peace: How to Apply Nonviolence’ – what it covers

This is the second edition of the book The Science of Peace by Suman Khanna Aggarwal. It is a deep insight into Gandhi's philosophy, his stance on war and violence, and how his ideas can be applied to resolve current global issues.

The book is divided into four sections, each comprising three chapters, and begins with messages from several eminent and key figures along with some reviews of the first edition.

Following that are simple examples of conflict in everyday life, e.g., within families and between motorists. You learn why conflict is natural between people and why it exists “at every level of human interaction, be it personal, professional, political, regional, national or international.”

You also learn about the different types of human violence, including ones you may not immediately think of, like violence of the environment. You get an appreciation of the significance (and importance) of resolving conflict in all areas of life and how it can be applied to attain global peace.

The book gives an insight into life in India which is often hidden or misunderstood by outsiders. An entire chapter is dedicated to the historic ‘Salt March’ in 1930 that subsequently led to the independence of India. There is also a fascinating look at the significance of salt in Indian communities.

The book also touches on cosmic law, Indian mythology, and the effect the teachings of Christ had on Gandhi. The chapter on truth is most interesting, especially as this topic has been hotly debated for decades. You understand why Gandhi chose truth as “one’s highest value,” how it is achieved in practice, and why you should pursue it as an individual and collectively.

Throughout the book there are relevant quotes by Gandhi and by many luminaries, scholars, and historical figures including political scientists, historians, lawyers, theologians, and psychoanalysts. There are also numerous references to affiliated activities, works, and publications.

In her acknowledgements, Aggarwal says her daughter created the title ‘The Science of Peace’, in sync with Gandhi’s belief that nonviolence is a science and could be researched academically. She discusses how scholars and peace researchers have investigated nonviolent (versus military) defence, and why this should be introduced globally.

The Science of Peace – what it also includes

This comprehensive book gives you a deeper understanding of war, the hidden consequences of conflict, and the importance of trust at all levels between people, countries, and nations. It also covers:

* The secret of Gandhi’s power
* The creation of the world’s first nonviolent army
* Why war and conflict are so complex on many levels
* The importance of recognising nonviolence as a science
* The science of conflict prevention and conflict resolution
* Alternatives to spending “huge financial and human resources”
* The assets of “studying, teaching, and researching” nonviolence
* What a “peace army” is, and the spiritual versus political aspects of it
* How and why wars affect you even when you live a long way from them
* The many different meanings of power and the two major types of power
* The difference between “nonviolence of the weak” and “nonviolence of the brave”
* The importance of challenging ingrained beliefs and attitudes that lead to violence
* Why history books on battles and wars should include nonviolent conflict resolution
* Why young people should know about nonviolence and non-military defence as early as possible

The Science of Peace – the self development angle

From a self development viewpoint, when you read what Gandhi achieved for an entire country (India), you realise that with total focus, determination, and drive, anyone can change the status quo, effect socio-political change, and alter the course of history.

In self or personal development, you are always aiming for peace within yourself, and harmony with people from all walks of life. The book illustrates how the teachings of Gandhi can be used in any work or personal relationship to figure out how best to interact with others to prevent situations from becoming violent.

In discussing the importance of self-awareness and understanding why people around you behave the way they do, Aggarwal covers the value in being committed to nonviolence as a way of life, i.e., part and parcel of self-mastery and personal development.

She explains how to address conflict with the core values for harmonious and peaceful living, i.e., unconditional love, patience, trust, respect, empathy, compassion, forgiveness, and truth. She also addresses the different forms of genuine love, the connection between love and nonviolence, and the power of universal love that is spontaneous and unconditional.

The book mentions violence that is often overlooked, i.e., spiritual violence, and the negative effect this can have on interpersonal relationships and the development of the Self. It emphasises the importance of being aware that “we are one in spirit though divided in body,” and why you should think of yourself as a citizen of the world rather than an isolated individual.

Finally, Gandhi was always learning with an open mind. There is much you can learn from this book related to developing your Self.

The Science of Peace – who would enjoy this book

There is considerable literature on Gandhi and his important teachings, mainly written by scholars for scholars. One of the many assets of this book is that it can be read and understood by nonexperts.

This is a book that could be of great benefit to young people who have the opportunity to change the world, e.g., students of social science, political science, economic science, and similar disciplines.

It would also appeal to scholars, researchers, analysts, politicians, and anyone interested in nonviolent peacemaking, peacekeeping, and peacebuilding, especially as towards the end of the book there is a summary of relevant groups and organisations.

The Science of Peace – self development summary

A vast amount of work has gone into the creation of this book. It covers the assets of resolving conflict in a nonviolent way, and the need to teach and practise nonviolence at all levels of society. It makes you stop and think about the beauty of living in a world of “enduring peace.”

It also reminds you of the enormous cost of war (monetary, medical, social, mental, emotional, ecological, environmental, etc.) and inspires you to learn how to resolve conflict more effectively to prevent wars at home and globally.

In essence, this book makes you realise that Gandhi’s teachings are just as important and relevant today to achieve peace and true freedom across the world. It is a positive book that reassures you that all is not lost for our fragile world.

To find out more about the book, see
The Science of Peace

(Disclosure: The reviewer received this book free of charge from the author for review purposes. She is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme.)

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