By Jonathan Granoff
Nobel Peace laureates have a right, an ability, and a responsibility to articulate a morally empowered vision for all people on the planet. Most leaders, when they say ‘we,’ are referring to their own nation, race, religion, or community. But when Nobel Peace laureates say ‘we,’ they mean the entire human community. Articulating that framework of human unity is the first step that needs to be taken to address the crises facing our world. The oceans, the rainforests, and the global biological, biophysical commons that sustain civilization are threatened because of the provincialism of selfish business and national interests running unrestrained by law and morality. These selfish tears in the fabric of equanimity and justice threaten our very survival. But before we can even devise practical programs to address the problems we face, we first have to re-cognize our common humanity. The Nobel laureates are able to help us do that.
“We must reach for a common source of values. That is the new awakening. It is an awakening that can be perceived in many dimensions—political, philosophical, artistic. It all depends on how you look at the gem. But at its source, this gem of awakening shines with a light that exists as the center of every human heart. This light is nothing new, and yet each time a human being reenters the center of the heart, the possibility of grace entering into the world is refreshed.
“This world is so integrated today. Our collective global challenges are now impacting people’s personal lives at a local level. An interest expressed on the trading floor of the futures market in Chicago can affect agricultural village life in a town in Chad. In so many ways, in the space of a few days, a business decision by a few people rationally acting solely for themselves can either bless people far away with jobs and services or perhaps curse the environment in which others live day to day.
“The Nobel Peace laureates seem to have a real recognition of this interconnectedness, and they are energized by that insight. I’ve just spent several days with them, and I can tell you, it’s hardly work. It’s a huge privilege. And the most important thing that I’ve gained by being with them is the awareness of this interconnectedness—the awareness of being on the same tree of life with everybody else.”
Jonathan Granoff represented the International Peace Bureau at the 2004 World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome. He is president of the Global Security Institute, co-chair of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Arms Control and National Security, and vice president of the NGO Committee on Disarmament at the UN. A student of the late Sri Lankan Sufi master Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, he lectures worldwide, emphasizing the legal, ethical, and spiritual dimensions of human development and security.
Listen to the interview with Jonathan Granoff on WIE Unbound: wieunbound.org/granoff