What our team found at this school in the Bronx is what we see in many intractable social problems. They spring from a complex constellation of ills, and the longer they last the more complicated they get. And the more simple they seem from the inside.
The hard truth is that we know very little about sustaining peace. This is because for decades we have studied the pathologies of war, violence, aggression and conflict – and peace in the context of those processes – but few have studied peace directly.
We know very little about what “peace” is (and what it isn’t), the conditions that promote it, the motives that drive people to work for it, how to measure it, and how to build a climate and infrastructure that sustains it. Why? Because we don’t study peace. We study war, violence, aggression and conflict—and peace in the context of those states and processes—but few study peace directly.
When it comes to climate, data, research and problem-solving are taking a back seat to ideology, sentiment and politics. There is a great sense of disdain and suspicion right now for the liberal scientific elite in a significant portion of the U.S. population, and I’m afraid the feeling is often mutual. What can be done?