Transrational Peaces

Transrational PeacesTransrational peaces share the postmodern commitment to plurality, yet additionally reintegrate the spiritual component. Trans-rational implies having passed through the rational, but without clinging to its purely earthly perspective. Reason is acknowledged as one possible mode of perception among others. 

Transrational peaces do not found themselves in ultimate reason, but accept the impossibility of final statements about truth: the claim to truth is unconditional as it is always embedded in relations and, hence, contextual. Existence is perceived as an interrelated network of events, in which no part or element is fundamental.

 Philosophical and scientific approaches based on transrationality deal with the lack of founding from a so-called bootstrap approach, i.e. accepting a multiplicity of overlapping yet not completely coinciding viewpoints, a shifting of perspectives between overlaying lenses that never completely merge and so their descriptions of reality differ. The spiritual might as well be expressed in terms of a systemic approach, of deep-ecology, as the transpersonal or yet again the holistic.

In the realm of peace and conflict studies, transrational inquiries are not so much guided by questions of ‘why?’ (diagnoses, based on first principles and following a linear model of cause-effect), but by questions of ‘how?’ (observations of patterns and processes as vectors of transformation).

Thematic Shifts: 

Transrational peaces take the four thematic emphases of the peace families and combine the knowledge and relevance of each of them. Transrationality recognizes the need for harmony, security, justice and truth for the existence of peace, yet contrary to focusing on one of these themes transrational peaces seek the dynamic equilibrium of these four topics.

HarmonyPersonal harmony: The transrational interpretation of peace includes the energetic worldview and considers the role played by harmony and vibrations in social contexts. Inasmuch as harmony is a physical, biological, intellectual, and psychological process in interpersonal encounters, it is necessarily a basic element of peace. Harmony opens the door to the interior of the persona, who is a system according to the holistic principle.

JusticeStructural justice: In terms of the transrational shift, justice is addressed as an issue of the subjective and communal satisfaction of needs, rather than the mechanistic meeting of a demand. Growth is understood as a process, not in teleological terms as a purpose in itself. The focus is on what we already are and what we need right now, and not on what we should do in order to live up to the definition of a future ideal.

SecurityRelational security: ‘New wars’ and the 1992 UN ‘Agenda for Peace’ have become practical and conceptual guides to understand that, from a transrational angle, in the 21st century we have moved from a sovereign to a relational type of security. The latter is characterized by peace operations where civilian-military cooperation is the norm in the missions. In this context and attending to the transrational shift, the requirements for basic training of the soldiers includes foreign language, a basic understanding of socio-psychological processes of the operational situation, and above all, an awareness of how one’s own behavior affects the local population. 

TruthCultural truth: Transrational peaces take the notion of truth from postmodern approaches, embracing its call for pluralism, not to be understood as randomness, which paves the way for respectful communication across different cultural contexts.


Trans-Rational Peace Quadrants:


Energetic and Postmodern


Moral and Modern


Peace out of Harmony



Peace out of Security



Peace out of Truth



Peace out of Justice


Wilber’s original four-quadrant matrix postulates that every complete act of human communication and relation contains an interior just like an exterior, an individual (singular) just like a collective (plural) component. Based on this, Wilber constructs his matrix with four quadrants, each of which stands for one aspect of being: intentional, behavioral, cultural and social. To this, Dietrich adds the respective terms found in the observation of the variations of the Many Peaces. It is easy to recognize where the attention of Peace Research within the corresponding approaches lies:

  • Modernity perceives peace as a question of the exterior-plural quadrant and focuses on the visible aspects of behavior within the social, which it investigates and works on from family units to world-encompassing systems. This usually leads it to the moral or also Idealist demands for a peace out of justice. Such Peace Research is geared towards questions that can be grasped empirically.
  • The quadrant relating to the inner-plural aspects, which usually are called culture, points to issues such as values, worldviews and their truth claims are much harder to grasp than positivist indicators of conflict described in quantitative fashion. Collective attitudes and feelings or even memories are subject to certain imponderability. This poses a challenge to the perceiving subject, which requires it to define itself and its own perspective and to argue the own interpretation. Postmodernphilosophy and Peace Research has preferentially dealt with this field.
  • As regards the singular aspect, every individual is embedded in the social stratification of its Mitwelt. As far as this relation occurs on the outside it again arouses the interest of modern science. The individual is of interest as material building block for a materially larger entity, society, and should in this sense function as predictably as possible. If it acts accordingly, it is perceived as normal, sane and secure. The relation between the individual and society here primarily turns into a question of security. If the individual acts against the norm then this is perceived as a risk to the security of the community and is usually punished. In the reciprocal case, the community provides the physical and social security for that individual conforming to the norms.
  • The intentional quadrant strips science of its auxiliary construction: While behaviorists are able to study the behavior resulting from intentions, neurologists can measure and localize brainwaves, identify active neurons and so forth, they will not be able to prove the singular thought, the sensation, the feeling itself from the interior. It is this a sphere that can only be experienced. It is a fascinating sphere, because it is known to every human being. The by far largest part of experiencing the world occurs in this not communicated and not provable sphere. Whatever surfaces on the exterior, is an expression of this inner energy, of thought or feeling, never the thought or feeling itself. This the peace that everybody can only experience for him/herself, the harmony that is only true, just or secure if it is also really felt. It is this the sphere where all great moral, social and cultural designs, insights and agreements begin and end. Here is the pivotal point for the transrational experiences of peace. 

Energetic Peaces

Moral Peaces

Modern Peaces

Postmodern Peaces

Energetic Peaces

Moral Peaces

Modern Peaces Postmodern Peaces
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