The Evolving Peacemaker, A Commitment to Non-violence ISBN: 9781504371049, Balboa Press, an e-book by Leona Evans and Matthew J. Evans.
The author opens with an explanation that the book is “based on the Gandhi philosophy of nonviolence and contains a set of principles and practices designed to guide us on a powerful journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. It begins with the premise that peace is not a one time achievement but a lifelong practice that starts with our willingness to “be the change we wish to see in our world””. She follows with the admonition that peace is much more than a task with a beginning and end. That it is an abstract spiritual process of discovering who we are, why we’re here, and how we can honor our relationship with all creation; that Peace is acquired through use of words instead of weapons; having respectful and ethical relations with those of other faiths, cultures, mores and other unique qualities; that it is most important to remember that in a win-lose system EVERYBODY loses; AND most importantly the person responsible to accomplish this feat is ME.
There follows a step by step procedure to attain this ME person and to gain its acceptance. One must begin with a search for the truth both introspectively and through education so that eventually the “art of self-acceptance” is attained. Along the way an understanding of Gandhi’s Satyagraha, or Sanskrit title for his Philosophy of Nonviolence must be absorbed along with understanding: “the many faces of passive violence”; existence of both overt and concealed anger; how to turn this emotion into a positive influence; obtain an enhanced ‘social and emotional intelligence’ so that eventually that ME will have “malice toward none”; project the “forgiving power of love”; ultimately “understanding our purpose” and pass this on “one person at a time” so that it eventually may become a universally overriding theme. If this can be accomplished, the world will come to respect all life, end discrimination, promote equal rights, ensure protection for children, eradicate poverty and illiteracy, save the environment and reduce inequality among nations. An epilogue summarizes the presentation and a set of questions offer the reader an opportunity to intensely review exactly what he/she has acquired and retained from the presentation. A sizeable number of individuals are acknowledged and biographical data of the author and co-author are included followed by a suggested list of readings.
Discussion: This indeed is a most interesting and ambitious project set forth in a somewhat unusual manner. It is part ‘how-to’ and part memoir and/or autobiographical. A forward by the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi explains that the co-author came to him at the age of fifteen with a film proposal. Wondering what a fifteen-year-old would know of non-violence, he recalled the words of his grandfather: “If we are going to create peace in the world, we will have to begin with educating the children.” He discovered the lad to be “wise beyond his years” making a film that changed the life of his mother, the author and Unity minister Rev. Leona Evans who “has put into this book everything that Matthew put into his film-and more. This book will take humanity another step closer to peace and harmony in our world”. The film’s subject projected all-enveloping peace and gained recognition from the United Nations. Chapters in this book written by co-author Matthew, Leona’s son, are interspersed with those by the author whose words provide the volume’s main message. From Matthew’s words we gain an understanding of Gandhi’s remarks and understand the pertinent autobiographical material.
Conclusion: The author(s) have set forth a very ambitious proposal for establishing a far better world than the one in which we presently live and have done so in a quite clearly presented manner from which many will gain much. It may be exactly the ‘tonic’ required for the sick condition in which today’s world exists, even though ‘time appears to be running out’.
5* Well-presented ambitious proposal for a ‘better world’.