A peace sign cloud floats among other normal clouds in the sky.

Peace can mean inner peace or civil peace.  Peace is the absence of violence or war, and even the absence of uncomfortable disturbances.  Peace implies a calmness or tranquility, so peace goes beyond a mere absence of active violence and war; tranquility requires a stable system that is fair and just to all, or living a life that is in harmony with others and the wider world.  Peace also carries a connotation of unity and lawfulness. Here are some of the comments of the world’s thinkers on the subject of peace.

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There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.

— A. J. Muste

We cannot have peace if we are only concerned with peace. War is not an accident. It is the logical outcome of a certain way of life. If we want to attack war, we have to attack that way of life.

— A. J. Muste

I have now reigned about 50 years in victory or peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen.

— Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain

When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.

— African proverb

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.

— Agatha Christie

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding.

— Albert Einstein

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

— Albert Einstein

Joy, sorrow, tears, lamentation, laughter — to all these music gives voice, but in such a way that we are transported from the world of unrest to a world of peace, and see reality in a new way, as if we were sitting by a mountain lake and contemplating hills and woods and clouds in the tranquil and fathomless water.

— Albert Schweitzer

Almost all of us long for peace and freedom; but very few of us have much enthusiasm for the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make for peace and freedom.

— Aldous Huxley

Even if we are spared destruction by war, our lives will have to change if we want to save life from self-destruction.

— Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.

— Alex Noble

War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.

— Alice Walker

Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace.

— Amelia Earhart

All who affirm the use of violence admit it is only a means to achieve justice and peace. But peace and justice are nonviolence…the final end of history. Those who abandon nonviolence have no sense of history. Rather they are bypassing history, freezing history, betraying history.

— Andre Trocme

I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that cruelty too will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.

— Anne Frank

We shall find peace. We shall hear angels. We shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.

— Anton Chekhov

As things are now going the peace we make, what peace we seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of shipping, a peace in brief, without moral purpose or human interest.

— Archibald Macleish

We make war that we may live in peace.

— Aristotle

Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to finding peace of mind and happiness inside. No matter what is going on outside of us, there’s always something we could be grateful for.

— Barry Neil Kaufman

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.

— Baruch Spinoza

If we desire a society of peace, then we cannot achieve such a society through violence. If we desire a society without discrimination, then we must not discriminate against anyone in the process of building this society. If we desire a society that is democratic, then democracy must become a means as well as an end.

— Bayard Rustin

Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

— Benjamin Franklin

There never was a good war or a bad peace.

— Benjamin Franklin

Compassion is more important than intellect in calling forth the love that the work of peace needs, and intuition can often be a far more powerful searchlight than cold reason.

— Betty Williams

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

— Bible, Proverbs 17:28

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

— Bible, Ecclesiastes

The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don’t have to gain, develop, or attain them. We’re like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don’t need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are — as soon as we quit pretending we’re small or unholy.

— Bo Lozoff

In the midst of global crises such as pollution, wars and famine, kindness may be too easily dismissed as a ‘soft’ issue, or a luxury to be addressed after the urgent problems are solved. But kindness is the greatest need in all those areas — kindness toward the environment, toward other nations, toward the needs of people who are suffering. Until we reflect basic kindness in everything we do, our political gestures will be fleeting and fragile.

Simple kindness may be the most vital key to the riddle of how human beings can live with each other in peace, and care properly for this planet we all share.

— Bo Lozoff

Choose
The single clenched fist lifted and ready,
Or the open hand held out and waiting.
Choose:
For we meet by one or the other.

— Carl Sandburg

The peace and welfare of this and coming generations of Americans will be secure only as we cling to the watchword of true patriotism: ‘Our country — when right to be kept right; when wrong to be put right.’

— Carl Schurz

Leave oneself an open door, a free unconscious channel, for the deep rushing flood of life to pour through. To tell and tell forever humanity’s greatest secret — that each one is all the rest, and each one can do the world’s work. A calmness born of the immeasurable power that moves us. A rich Peace, seeing that life is good. A joy, deepening daily as we understand. And love — the love that all things live in — To feel it and give it. To give it. Give it. Give it everywhere.

— Charlotte Perkins Gilman

A great deal of chaos in the world occurs because people don’t appreciate themselves. Having never developed sympathy or gentleness toward themselves, they cannot experience harmony or peace within themselves, and therefore, what they project to others is also inharmonious and confused.

— Chogyam Trungpa

Meditation is applying mindfulness without feelings of being hurried or under pressure.

— Christopher Titmuss

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take everyone on Earth to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

— Clarissa Pinkola Estes

The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace.

— Colman McCarthy

Everyone’s a pacifist between wars. It’s like being a vegetarian between meals.

— Colman McCarthy

The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace.

— Colman McCarthy

Never, ‘for the sake of peace and quiet,’ deny your own experience or convictions.

— Dag Hammarskjold

Never does hatred cease by hating in return; only through love can hatred come to an end. Victory breeds hatred; the conquered dwell in sorrow and resentment. They who give up all thought of victory or defeat may be calm and live happily at peace. Let us overcome violence by gentleness; let us overcome evil by good; Let us overcome the miserly by liberality; let us overcome the liar by truth.

— Dhammapada

Peace has to be created, in order to be maintained. It is the product of Faith, Strength, Energy, Will, Sympathy, Justice, Imagination, and the triumph of principle. It will never be achieved by passivity and quietism.

— Dorothy Thompson

Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.

— Dorothy Thompson

They have not wanted Peace at all; they have wanted to be spared war — as though the absence of war was the same as peace.

— Dorothy Thompson

I know war as few other men now living know it, and nothing to me is more revolting. I have long advocated its complete abolition, as its very destructiveness on both friend and foe has rendered it useless as a method of settling international disputes.

— Douglas MacArthur

We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom.

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.

— Francis of Assisi

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships — the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.

— George Bernard Shaw

To witness that calm rhythm of life revives our worn souls and recaptures a feeling of belonging to the natural world.

— George Schaller

No, I know all the war rhetoric, but it’s all aimed at achieving peace.

— George W. Bush

There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.

— George Washington
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