The Concepts of PeaceThere are a number of different concepts that are important to understanding what is involved when a person talks about peace studies. Most academic students and researchers agree upon a certain point of reference in defining peace and the human motivation that drives a desire for peace. There are two main distinctions that identify the two types of peace that can exist. The first is called negative peace and means that there is no direct violence present. The second type is called positive peace and is a state where there is not only no direct violence present, but that there is also no indirect or structural violence present.
One of the main concepts that advocates of peace studies argue is that peace is part of the normal human condition. Therefore, the opposite state of war exists as an unnatural process in humanity. The basic idea behind this thought is that the instinctual drive for humanity is to survive and multiply and that war or violence that costs human lives will go against this principle. Experts in peace studies try to present their leaders with information that will help them make long term peaceful decisions that follow this concept.
In the religious sense of peace studies, many church organizations that believe in the peaceful way of life see violence as being an unskillful act or one that is born in sin. By contrast, nonviolence is thought to be virtuous or skillful and is a trait that should be honored and grown. This type of religious peace is present in almost every modern day religion, including some forms of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and some forms of Islam. In this way, organizations that exist to promote peace studies are often composed of members from many different religions and work toward the common goal of educating the public about the true concepts of peace.