This morning I was walking the Peddar’s Way, a 46 mile long, 3000 year old path, across Norfolk, England. It started life in the Bronze Age, and the basic alignment was later used by the Romans for one of their roads, and I guess it has been used ever since, though now it is mainly for hiking, and biking. And then I thought about our view of history and how focused it is on wars, conflict and destructive actions. And when we hear of Roman roads, we think of their military purposes, when reality they were intended to keep the peace, albeit an oppressive one for some tribes.
And in reality, for most of the history of the last 3000 years, the different peoples of what is now England, traded rather than fought. Fighting is zero sum game. It doesn’t create anything. It doesn’t build anything, and one or both sides in any conflict end up worse off, sometimes even annihilated. Whereas in trade, both sides potentially gain. They each have something the other side wants and so they trade. And Peddar’s Way for most of its history was a trade route, not a war route. That makes me feel better when I walk it.
But it also made me think. Why not think of different ideas as something that we can trade rather than just contest. If someone has a different take on the world, why not listen and by all means tell them your view. But also see what you can learn from their different take. Does it have value for any problem you are confronting? Could you trade some of your ideas for the other side’s ideas. Interesting, trading ideas seems already a bit more peaceful than ramming them down the other side’s throat?
And here is Peddar’s Way. Peaceful isn’t it? See also