A Message from the President
One of the most inspiring and unique inclusions in this eNewsletter is a a short report about the first International Day of Yoga, held at the United Nations, where I had the profound pleasure of being an honored speaker as well as practicing a few asanas (postures) with not just the Secretary-General but also many top diplomats from several P5 countries and other governments.
Now at first, a story about diplomats practicing yoga may seem a long way from the abolition of nuclear weapons, but from my view, the issue of nuclear weapons is not only a national and global security issue of existential proportions, but also has a deeply spiritual dimension. Presently governments have committed in excess of $1 trillion to modernize nuclear arsenals and their delivery systems. This commitment to organizing so much energy in the pursuit of security by threatening such destruction is an affront to the spiritual values of every faith tradition. Yoga is not just about exercise but involves cultivating a deep harmony with nature, other lives and the mystery that gives us life. The texts of this ancient tradition emphasize that it is through the cultivation of compassion that that the mind is brought into harmony.
How can people without peace in their own hearts and minds lead in bringing peace into the world? When we forget the deeper purposes of our own lives, how can we guide institutions to fulfill their most human purposes? Without clarity of purpose it is so easy to become distracted by the mechanics of institutions and forget core purposes – the how overtakes the why.
The why of our institutions must always involve the elimination of suffering and enhancement of lives. This is particularly so in the realm of the pursuit of peace and security where current distortions have led to the production of a weapons system, nuclear weapons, which demonstrates the absurd. The more the weapon is improved the less security is obtained. We have achieved an improved means to an unimproved end.
In all endeavors the how must follow the why. Without such clarity we find law without justice, art without beauty, business in the pursuit of capital without providing goods or useful services, philosophy without the pursuit of truth, medicine without healing, education without character, and religion without love and transcendence.
Bringing the qualities of peace and compassion into our reflections, intentions and actions is transformative. That is why it was simply amazing to be meditating at the United Nations.
This eNewsletter also contains some evidence of how GSI and our partners are continuing to bring such qualities into transformative action. We hope you will join us.
Very truly yours,
Jonathan Granoff is the President of the Global Security Institute, a representative to United Nations of the World Summits of Nobel Peace Laureates, a former Adjunct Professor of International Law at Widener University School of Law, and Senior Advisor to the Committee on National Security American Bar Association International Law Section.