17 June 2010

A Global Inner Peace Index

As you may be aware, the annual Global Peace Index has recently been published for 2010. Australia ranks 19th and New Zealand ranks 1st. Yet I wonder how either society would rank on an index of inner peace. Is such a ranking even possible?

Here are some links about the Global Peace Index:

Vision of Humanity

Institute for Economics and Peace

Wikipedia article about the Index

Today, I have been reading a very interesting article by Nicholas Carr about how the Internet is changing people's brains. If you have ever experienced cognitive overload, information overload, occupational burnout or culture shock, you will probably be aware that these phenomena may have had a detrimental effect on your inner peace:

The web shatters focus, rewires brains

How then, should we restore our inner peace? My own approach is to reduce the distractions I am able to control in my immediate environment. Just as I avoid putting junk food into my body, I also attempt to avoid putting junk and clutter into my mind.

I attempt to distinguish between triviality and importance, re-evaluate my priorities on a weekly basis, check my emails no more than once a day, and even have the computer on for no more than five hours a day (usually for less than three hours at a time).

Breaks from the computer every half an hour are important, too. I always keep a glass of water a short walk away so that I must leave my desk to take a sip. When I need to think through something, I prefer to stare out of the window at the sky rather than at the screen in front of me.

But how do I concentrate on anything? How do you approach the task? Why is the ability to concentrate important?

There is probably an important relationship between the ability to concentrate and the development of inner peace. There is probably also an important relationship between community development and inner peace, and perhaps that is far more difficult to identify. Now, though, I will switch off the computer and have my lunch - hopefully without distractions!

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