A Power Greater Than Terrorism
By Dr. Scott & Shannon Peck



Terrorism feels overwhelming — and everywhere. It dominates our daily news. We see the thousand terrifying pictures. Terrorism is filled with such rage and hate. Victims feel helpless. And so many. And the bystanders — all of us — immensely frightened, angry, or depressed. Striking out against terrorism seems to waken even more terrorism. How can we not sink into an attitude of utter doom in the face of the force of anger and violence that seem to have no end or mercy.

It is precisely at this point in our anguish that we can awaken the one power that is even greater than terrorism. That power is love.

It takes great courage and insight to stand back from the daily reporting of violence and terrorism throughout the world and ask ourselves: What are we envisioning as the ultimate outcome? What are we envisioning as impossible — or possible? This is the core question for us to answer and then demonstrate. Which is stronger: the force of terrorism or the power of love?

If your heart feels faint at this challenge — or it seems highly unrealistic — it is time to stand back mentally and remember Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

At the beginning of their massive contributions to the legacy of non-violence and social justice, there was little hope. It seemed unrealistic — at the beginning — for Gandhi to envision non-violence as a way of being in the face of the “realities.” It looked equally unrealistic — in the beginning — for Martin Luther King Jr. to have a dream about equality and social justice in the face of the “realities”.

What these two peace-creators did, however, was to envision a higher outcome. But it wasn’t just that they “envisioned” that made it possible. It became reality because love — the underlying power of non-violence, equality, and justice — is an irresistible power. Their vision was on the side of love.

Here is a glimpse into the depth of Gandhi’s envisioning. “Hatred ever kills, love never dies. Such is the vast difference between the two. What is obtained by love is retained for all time. What is obtained by hatred proves a burden in reality for it increases hatred.”

This quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. shows the depth of his envisioning: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.”

Progress, historical shifts, and collective awakening do not come quickly. The right for women to vote came slowly, yet it came! And it began with the envisioning of women as equal to men in the face of “realities” that seemed insurmountable. This movement was successful because it was based on the underlying principle of love. Looking back, we wonder, “How could we as a nation or civilization be so misguided as to treat women, 51% of our population, as second-class citizens?”

Looking back at these successful movements that dramatically raised collective thought and action gives us strength to face today’s challenge of terrorism. Terrorism may seem virtually permanent today, but it is destined to dissolve under the power of love that, with our envisioning, will inevitably establish genuine and just peace.

Our envisioning of terrorism yielding to peace is a key to it happening. Otherwise, we collectively give up and surrender to violence and terrorism as just the way it is.

It is helpful to remember that Gandhi’s movement for non-violence, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s movement for justice, and the women’s movement for equality for women to vote were instigated and led by a very small number of people in the beginning. The astute social observer, Margaret Mead, said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This quote by Edmund Burke helps ignite our commitment to envisioning: “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing.”

If envisioning of the end of terrorism is the first step, how might we practically do that?

We can rise above today’s “news” and begin envisioning — in our own thought — waging peace on terrorism.

We can envision dissolving terrorism of its fierce hatred by having the courage to listen to what is needed for genuine justice and enduring peace.

We can envision the replacement of terrorism by understanding and compassion based on a deep awareness that we all share this planet together as equal beings in the eyes of love.

We can envision that our commitment to justice for all parties, based on love’s wisdom, will bring forward practical solutions that replace hate with compassion and ignorance with understanding.

Such envisioning leads to higher actions than “fighting” terrorism or waging “war” against terrorism. We shift to a higher strategy of “cultivating and creating peace”. This is taking our stand on the side of love. This is not a weak position. This is the most powerful position possible. Do we think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and those who brought forward women’s right to vote as weak? The power of their envisioning dramatically raised our standard of living and the way we perceive — and enjoy — our world today.

This is exactly what our envisioning of peace dissolving terrorism will do for our children and future generations. Love will prevail. Why? Because love is the one power greater than terrorism. Welcome to the heart of love.

© Copyright 2006 Scott & Shannon Peck

Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck are co-founders of TheLoveCenter, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to “Raising universal love awareness and Awakening a world of Love Masters”. This column is based on their new book, “Love Skills for Personal & Global Transformation: Secrets of a Love Master” available at bookstores, and For more love and information about our new School of Love, visit our website, email , or call (858) 792-6018.

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