The Big Question
Is Conflict Necessary for Inner Growth? by Khalid Husain

In this article, “peace among ourselves” refers to diplomatic peace between nations and ultimately humans coming together as one with no hardships that stem from their disagreements. In addition, “world peace” refers to peace and harmony between ourselves as well as the world—including nature and other external events that we have no control over.

Peace among ourselves and the people around us is very important, and many world leaders and countries strive towards it all the time. If no one was working towards peace amongst ourselves, we would be at a war on many fronts, internally and externally, constantly.  Peace is important simply because lack of peace — conflict — can lead to violence and ultimately, joylessness and grief in our lives.

World peace with everything and everyone around us is as important if not more important than peace amongst ourselves. However, I think that world peace is a lofty goal to strive for, since not everything we want to be at peace with is under our control. Ultimately, since we cannot bend everything to our will, aspects of life, including death, are inevitable. As Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

For argument’s sake, let’s say, theoretically, that we achieve ‘world peace’. Even when we achieve it, it will be temporary at best — aspects of nature and life that we can’t control will still eventually come into play. Worse, the longer we manage to stave off the problems we can’t fully control, the more dulled our problem solving skills will be. I say this because conflict is necessary for our development; when handled with an open mind, it constantly adds to our metaphorical bag of answers and gives us experience so that we can handle a difficult task when the time comes.

The fact of the matter is that we cannot live productively with only one of these aspects, peace or conflict, in our daily lives. While conflict can lead to misery, world peace isn’t the solution because conflict invariably arises. Keeping this in mind, total lack of conflict, even among ourselves, could dull our problem solving skills and keep future generations from developing these essential skills. We have to work on each problem with an open mind and extract as much information as we can from it, so that we are best equipped to deal with future conflicts.

While we may have peace amongst ourselves successfully, we do not have control over everything, and therefore, something bad will eventually happen. We must handle conflicts carefully and properly, but not be so immersed in the thought of total world peace, that we set our goals too high. Diplomatic peace is a reasonable goal to strive for, and can be achieved without dampening our conflict solving skills in the long run. However, striving in itself is useful, even if it is toward an impossible goal. All in all, moderation is the best way to deal with conflict and peace, as well as anything else in life.

Khalid Husain

My name is Khalid Husain and I’m a 13-year-old freshman at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. My favorite subjects are history and geometry. I love sports (especially football), videogames, and my parents.
  1. Very well said Khalid. Thank you!

  2. Thank you Khalid for writing this thought provoking article! One of my favorite lines in your article is, “striving in itself is useful.” For those working in conflict resolution and peace building, striving is sometimes just to plant a seed- we may not see the flower of world peace in our life times, but if we plant many many seeds, some of them will flower and so will peace. But flowers also have a season and then become seeds- so life- peace-conflict-are all part of a cycle that gives us meaning.

  3. This was very impressive! That kids our age have the courage to even be interested in things like this is really cool. I commend you, Khalid, and everyone at kidspirit for a job well done.

  4. What a great piece Khalid! I like that you didn’t just sugar coat your article and make it all sunshine, butterflies and rainbows, but that you wrote from a realistic point of view and pointed out that too much of a good thing is a bad thing. This reminds me of when i’d always ask my history teachers “Why do we care about these old dead guys?” Well, we have to learn about all these wars and conflicts so that we don’t make the same mistakes these “old, dead guys” have made.
    Keep it up Khalid!

  5. Deeply philosophic Khalid! Also encouraging me to strive. The picture of the delicate green vine trailing over the thorny fence with its soft pink blooms above your article truly speaks your thoughts.
    I know you will move on.

  6. the theme has been well explored… excellent language… keep up the good work!

  7. Good article Khalid.