The author looks forward to a time when the civilization of war will be replaced by a culture of peace, based on a culture of democracy; a world where individuals work and create and invent the texture of their lives in their local communities, freed from the fears of the war-culture. Nelson Mandela, F.W. De Klerk, Yasser Arafat and Mikhail Gorbachev are used as examples of people who are moving forward and challenging routine and the system. The author argues that to write a new page we must re-dedicate ourselves to the ethical force of peace rather than the coercive force of war. Only by striving for a new renaissance locally, nationally, and internationally, can perceptions and actions determine the shape of things to come.
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The notion of a 'new page' first occurred to me in 1988 as the first agreements on nuclear non-proliferation and on a genuine reduction in tactical and strategic missiles came within reach. Changes in the world, notably rapid transformation in the then Soviet Union, began to indicate that we were coming to the end of the civilization of war that had dominated the lives of all who have lived through the middle decades of the century. The 'new page' which we are turning in this book is one of a culture of peace, based on a culture of democracy. It is a transition fraught with all the dangers of moving into the unknown without much guidance from our personal or collective memories. If this transition can be successful, we will at long last have the possiblity of changing radically our economic, social and political perceptions and entering a new renaissance of hope and creativity in our lifetimes.
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