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by Wolfgang Sonnenburg
I
n our body there is a crucial process which
carefully regulates inter-dependent conditions
such as our body temperature, the PH of
extracellular fluids, as well as glucose levels in blood
plasma, and oxygen levels, and which keeps them
constant, despite changes in the environment, and
what we have been eating or doing (for example,
resting or exercising). It makes us sweat when
we're hot, shiver when we're cold. Without this, the
body cannot function effectively. A breakdown
in stabilising blood sugar levels is recognized as
diabetes, for example. Without this process, a
biochemical riot would ensue. The kidneys would
be under stress; sugar levels would be unstable. Our
system would be unable to function. The one reason
that doesn't happen is because of this `checks-and-
balance' system called homeostasis. The conceptual
origins of homeostasis reach back to the ancient
Greek concept of balance, harmony, equilibrium,
and steady-state; all of them fundamental attributes
of life and health. When I applied science to society I
found myself asking: What is homeostasis for society?
How do we reach equilibrium?
A small village between Jerusalem and Tel-
Aviv has been answering this question since 1969.
Started by Bruno Hussar, it is named
Oasis of Peace after the Biblical
passage: `My people shall dwell in
an oasis of peace'. Here Jewish and
Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel
live together. Receiving minimal
government funding, this village
is a demonstration of managing
many inter-dependent relations. The metaphorical
inter-dependent health levels in this village are the
sensitive education of two deeply wounded peoples;
two different faiths; two languages and the ordinary
business of governing themselves as a recognized
state. They are actively successful at, as they say,
`living with conflict'. Terror and tyranny do not rule
in this village. The only security the village has is the
law imposed by government. They have achieved
their homeostasis. In 2016 they were presented with
our Winspiration Award, which they received at our
main stage event in Austria.
However, our global society has poor vision.
Often it does not pick up small initiatives from a
distant place of hope and tolerance. So you have
probably never heard of this practical peace in the
Middle East that has been ongoing for over 40 years.
Rather, our eyesight is used for magnifying possibly
threatening objects so that they appear closer than
they are - just like the sticker on side view mirrors in
our cars. We see the war on terror instead. It seems
bigger, closer, and scarier.
Focusing on terror is reckless abandonment
of our collective self. We can liken it to focusing on the
diagnosis of terminal disease and not on the prognosis
of good health. Homeostasis for humanity is asking
Homeostasis for
Our World