Due to generous donations the Atrium Society Youth Peace Literacy Online Resources are Free
A companion workbook to the Hardwired for War curriculum to help students understand what prevents peace. 20 helpful and creative lessons.
Enjoy this adventure in finding the roots of war buried deeply in our old brains. See if this is true or not. Because if it is, then war can end in that immediate insight into what’s preventing peace.
Quote from the Introduction to the Hardwired for War workbook
This workbook is intended to help you understand what creates war. As you will see in these lessons, war is caused by a malfunctioning mechanism in the old brain, fighting to steer us into a dead-‐end mistakenly called “Survival.” It’s like a mechanical defect in our computer-programmed brains that has got a short circuit in it, and therefore keeps on creating conflict without knowing it’s doing it. This may sound very unusual, but as you look over the Workbook and the Curriculum with your teacher, you will begin to see this disturbing error in how we keep struggling towards — and preventing — our own survival.
If it’s true that our old brain is creating conflict by trying to survive in this mixed-‐up way, then we have to look at this error from a totally different viewpoint than we have in the past. You may think that this is a very difficult thing to do, but you will be amazed at how simple it is to correct this error in our primitive old brain’s mistaken way of surviving. It seems difficult because the conflict we are looking to correct seems hidden from us, yet it IS us. It’s like looking for your glasses when they are right on your nose and you’re already looking through them.
So people don’t generally see this. Instead, they say conflict is out there in the world, that they created the war on us and in order to stop this conflict we need to get revenge on them, since they started it. But this type of confused thinking — blaming others — only gets us further and further away from the source of it inside ourselves. In fact, we have unknowingly carried on with a mistaken way of survival that’s actually preventing us from seeing the falseness of it. Or they rush to the experts and say, “Tell us, please, what the answer is!” But they don’t realize that conflict is not “out there,” and it’s not a problem to be solved. And that there is no authority that can give us the answer that will stop this. We don’t realize that we have been thoroughly conditioned to robotically react in this mixed-up way that keeps creating conflict.
Most people believe that war is unavoidable and unresolvable, that war will always happen because it has gone on for thousands of years. But this incorrect type of thinking is looking at war as “out there” in the world — somewhere outside us. We think that it’s beyond our ability to do anything about it, that only “experts” can bring an end to war. But they haven’t, for we still have war.
We’ve been unaware of the fact that the source of war is in ourselves, in each and every moment, in the way we have been conditioned to think and act.
The old brain is used to this way of survival because its habit is to think in a very simple, primitive way based on protecting us from harm. And this creates a very powerful force that prevents us from thinking sensibly. The old brain is deeply convinced we need to act this way for our group to continue to live. Although it’s not working, our brain continues to think it’s working. It avoids seeing this inner error. Even though it’s untrue, this powerful force pushes the old brain to react in this primitive way, convincing us not to look at what it’s doing. It defends its own ignorance by getting us to look outside instead of inside. It wants us to ignore our mistaken survival reactions, because this would undo its false sense of security in its supposed “correctness” and to the old brain this means the end of our group’s continued existence.
Do you know what this means? If we are unaware of a malfunction in the primitive old brain that’s causing conflict because it is trying to survive in this mistaken way, then it means that war is no one’s fault. No one “out there” is to blame. There’s no reason for revenge. It’s just a biological error in the old brain that each one of us is unaware of. This is an entirely new view. Up until now, we blame the other: they are the bad guys, the enemy, the terrorists. So we glorify ourselves: we are the freedom fighters, the heroes, the patriots. But all this is based on they and we. Therefore, each one of us is continuing this destructive separation according to our own mistaken survival needs.
So how are you going to find out if this is true? Are you going to ask the “experts” for answers to the problem of conflict? And are you then going to think about it and think about it? Or are you going to look for a solution out there in the world? Or can you see the source of it in yourself, right here and right now? Enjoy this adventure in finding the roots of war buried deeply in our old brains. See if this is true or not. Because if it is, then war can end in that immediate insight into what’s preventing peace.
(Special note: If anything you just read seems difficult to understand please ask your teacher or your parents to help you.)
— Dr. T. Webster-Doyle