Peace Literacy

This week’s note is coming from Steph Plourde at the Peace Literacy Training at Saint Joseph’s College with Paul K. Chappell.

It is difficult to pull out one piece to share, because all the content is so powerful. The piece I am finding most helpful is the understanding that every human being has the same basic needs: Purpose & Meaning, Nurturing Relationships, Explanations, Expression, Inspiration, Belonging, Self-Worth, Challenge, and Transcendence.

When I view human behavior through the lens of human needs (i.e. what human need is this person aiming to meet right now?), I foster curiosity, greater understanding, and deeper empathy. Further, it’s important for me to understand that when a person experiences trauma and these basic needs aren’t met they become distortions of the original need. For example, the unmet need of Expression becomes Rage; the unmet need of Belonging becomes Alienation. When these “distortions” manifest as aggression, we may rightfully see them as signals of distress. Imagine – seeing aggression as a signal of distress. How differently might we respond?

There will be much more to share after the training – including some incredible learning about metis. Don’t know what metis is? Neither did I… but boy, oh boy, is this a cool framework for understanding the muscles we need to develop in order to make good decisions and move forward into a peaceful future together.

Much love to you all,


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