Countering violence through Brain-Based Approach to Peace

With the shifting geopolitical landscape and the rise of terrorist nation-states, conventional approaches to conflict resolution and nuclear deterrence is becoming increasingly ineffective. The threat of nuclear retaliation has failed to rein in terrorist groups and suicide bombers who are willing to sacrifice their own lives to wreak destruction upon their political and religious rivals.

Conventional military approaches have also failed to rein in terrorism in several parts of the  world. Diplomatic efforts face steep challenges too. Hard-won negotiated settlements and ceasefires typically afford only fleeting relief. Paper treaties among rival factions have proven too fragile a basis for lasting peace.

A fundamentally new approach is the need of the hour. Scientific research is increasingly clear: Traditional approaches to conflict resolution and conflict prevention fail, in large measure, because they do not address the underlying cause of violence and digital conflict: they do not relieve the acute political, ethnic, and religious tensions that fuel terrorism and conflict. For diplomacy and other conventional approaches to succeed, we first need an effective means to defuse these deep-seated tensions – an approach that can prevent societal tensions from reaching the boiling point.

Scientific research has shown that it is possible to effectively resolve acute societal conflicts through the use of powerful, evidence-based, stress-reducing, peace-promoting methods by even a small sub-portion of the population – an approach that can be easily implemented within the military, or even in large schools and universities.

Against this backdrop, The Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP) – an emerging force in the prevention of terrorism, war, and social violence through the application of cutting-edge, field-tested solutions in the areas of conflict resolution, national security, and global peace – in collaboration with affiliated institutions and organisations, has been researching and implementing a groundbreaking approach for over a decade in dozens of countries around the world with highly promising results. This new peace-promoting methodology is based on the most recent discoveries in physics, physiology, and neuroscience, and is referred as the Brain-Based Approach to Peace.

The Brain-Based Approach to Peace

Violent behavior is rooted in the brain. The most direct—and ultimately only—way to transform violent and criminal behavior is to restore balanced brain functioning. The Brain-Based Approach to Peace* restores balanced neurological functioning, and thereby promotes balanced, harmonious behavior at the individual and societal scale.

This approach is based on the following research findings:

  • Behavior is directly linked to brain functioning. Stress negatively impacts the brain. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex (the “higher brain”) and over stimulates the amygdala (“fear centre”), causing fear-driven, aggressive, violent, antisocial behavior.
  • Acute stress on a societal scale similarly impacts the brain and behavior of everyone in society, fueling crime, social violence and conflict.
  • Extensive research shows that a simple, easy-to-learn, evidence-based meditation practice, the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique, markedly reduces individual stress and its deleterious effects on brain and behavior.
  • Twenty-three published studies have also shown that TM practice—and particularly group TM practice—by a significant subportion of a population, or by embedded groups within a population, effectively defuses acute societal stress and markedly reduces associated violence and social conflict, including war and terrorism.

GUSP has been implementing the Brain-Based Approach to Peace on a national, regional, and global scale, and is conducting large-scale research on its global effects – together with the deep physical, neurophysiological, and sociological mechanisms that underlie these effects.

The Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP) was incepted after the failed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in 2005 with the following mission:

– Stop the spread of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction

– Reduce the heavy reliance on violent means of conflict resolution

– Prevent the buildup of societal tensions that lead to terrorism and social conflict

– Research and promote the use of evidence-based, nonviolent approaches to preventing conflict, promoting national security, and achieving global peace

Today GUSP has become a driving force in international efforts to prevent terrorism and war and to promote global peace.

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