2004 — Most Philosophical 7th Grader in America:

Ashlee Kephart, Minnesota

War or Peace?
Is world peace possible…

As long as human nature is involved, world peace is not possible. Human nature can not ignore its quest for competition, and where there's competition, you have individual ideas and different ways of think. It's possible for small groups to have the same ideas and come to a central way of thinking for a while, but even small groups will start to experience some form of competition and power struggle when ideas take on individual interpretation. Individual differences come out inevitably, because all humans do not think, see, or experience in the same way. Everyone has their own unique way of thinking, based on their own experience. So when you try to form larger groups, those differences are now magnified, making it harder to be of the same mind and consensus. The factors that make it difficult involve individual character, culture, religion, environment, status, etc.

There is a longing for peace in every individuals, but conditioning will determine how flexible one can and will be when their own survival, or the survival of who or what they care about, comes into conflict or is compromised. The cost for each individual for world peace would involve sacrificing one's individuality, for one mind, one idea, one way, etc. in order for that to happen, we would have to have one consciousness, that of a higher power, leading each individual to the one "Common Good".

Unfortunately, the longing for peace does not hold the same level of importance for all. Individuals would not hesitate to say "yes, I want world peace", but ask them to sacrifice, and you get varying degrees of hesitation.
The more power in areas of status, money, etc., the harder it is to sacrifice. Since human nature is unwilling to sacrifice all, for the good of all, then it can only dictate a form of tolerance between individual differences, with no real sacrifice.

Longing to get ahead, be the best, and striving for more, will always take the front seat, and war, in the form of competition and power between individuals, will always keep world peace at a distance. Human nature is not capable of allowing itself to believe that world peace is just an ideal, that is unobtainable, without total sacrifice. So instead, we become more tolerant in order to keep the dream alive, hoping that some day, the sacrifice will come.

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