Dove with Branch
December 11, 2006 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk
Hello! - Dean Van Leuven

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, In response to your reply to Kelly (12/04) who wanted to get married again in her original bridal gown even though her mother and sister didnít think it was the proper thing to do. I think it would clearly be a mistake to wear the gown when those close to her disapprove. I could never do this because I would be concerned about their feelings. I am the only one who would be upset if I wore it. It would be better for me just to get over it and find something else to wear. Ė Jennifer in Santa Clara

Dear Jennifer, You are exactly right! As long as you can truly get over it that is the right thing for you to do. If you feel victimized by the decision then it is not. Any time we can honor the requests of others and be happy about it is wonderful.Just be sure that you donít feel like you are doing it under protest and it is a great thing to do. If you are doing it just to placate them and avoid a fight, then I suggest you think about it again. Donít do what others want just to make them happy or avoid waves. Instead do it because thatís what you want to do. Sometimes knowing which you are doing is difficult to tell. If you take time to reflect on it you will find the answer. You will find it in your feelings. Ė the Dean

Dear Dean, I have a young female cousin who I have always been close to. We are really good friends and enjoy time together. The problem I have is that when we go out to dinner and are enjoying each otherís company, others take it wrong. They think I am some old guy taking advantage of a young girl. It makes me uncomfortable when I know what they are thinking. I enjoy her company very much but I donít want others to think ill of me. What should I do? Ė Stanley in Wisconsin

Dear Stanley, You are dealing with a problem of your own making. What other people think about you is their business, and is actually none of your business. What they think is their business and you can not or should not try to control that, if you value your own happiness. What you are doing and how you feel about it is your business. If you know you are doing what is right, that should be the end of your concern. We no longer live in a society where our code of conduct and moral behavior is determined simply by the opinion of others. If you know you are doing the right thing donít let your conduct be determined by what others think about you. Happiness and joy come when we learn to act in our own enlightened self-interest instead of an authoritarian idea of what is right and wrong. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

We almost all agree that we would like to create a more peaceful society than exists at present. We would prefer not to use war to achieve our goals. We have not figured out how to do that however, so we continue to go to war, both to protect ourselves and to achieve our interests. Letís set aside the more difficult question of war as a means of self-protection, and think about the use of war as a means of achieving what is in our own self- interest.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell which is which when we try to look to the future. If we ask ourselves the question, ďwill I lose my freedom if I do not act now?Ē and the answer is no, then it is too soon to go to war. We still have time to seek a peaceful resolution to our problem. If we make war truly a last resort in getting or maintaining our freedom we will prevent a lot of wars.

We have a bill that was before the last congress that received the endorsement of seventy-five congressmen to create a Department of Peace. We will get a chance to consider this legislation in the next congress. Not only will it save lives, it will also save huge amounts of money and increase our quality of life. We can learn to start using open negotiation instead of threats and intimidation to resolve our differences. All we have to give up is having it our way all the time. Letís support this legislation to create a Department of Peace with the assigned task of looking for peaceful solutions to both personal and national conflicts. Visit if you want to learn more about the Department of Peace legislation.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

As our society evolved we saw that great power was to be desired. However as we evolved intellectually we came to realize that those in power tended to look out for their own self- interests, rather than those of the group. As people became more aware they refused to accept power abusing leaders. As the people became strong enough they began to overthrow their abusive leadership, and replace it with leadership whose power is derived from the consent of the governed. That process is still going on today in many parts of the world. It is still being perfected and improved everywhere it exists, as the people grow more in awareness. Gradually those governments who want to take power over their own or other people by force are finding it more difficult to do so.

This change to being governed only with our own informed consent comes gradually as our awareness as individuals increases. We must become aware enough to make choices, and elect only those who make decisions that are in our own enlightened self-interest. In order to have peace within our society we have to come more and more to realize that we ourselves must be peaceful. Only when we come from a place of peace will we be truly concerned about peace for other people.

Only when we change our own personal way of being to peaceful and joyful living, will we be able to create peace and joy in the world. The world will always be acting in a way that is an out-picturing of the general level of consciousness of the people.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Understand that it human nature to always act in our own personal interest, as we see it.

Tuesday: Understand that others will always act in their own personal interest; as they see it.

Wednesday: Recognize that we live in a society that is governed only by those we choose.

Thursday: Recognize that the wiser the choices we make the more we will be satisfied with our governance.

Friday: Recognize that we tend to chose those who will represent our values.

Saturday: Think about the values that will best serve our society.

Sunday: Resolve to choose representatives who best represent the values we believe are important.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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Dean Of Peace | P.O. Box 535 | Elmira | OR | 97437