When we visit sites of early civilization — Athens, Rome, Jerusalem, Angkor Wat, Pompeii, Machu Picchu or Petra — ancient wisdom seems like ancient history, evidence of a culture that no longer exists. It is very easy to believe that we have evolved, that modern society has progressed. But the real loss remains elusive: What might we have learned from these extinct peoples?
Next week, I am sponsoring a group of Israelis and Palestinians to spend a few weeks in a small village in southern France with a Buddhist monk named Thich Nhat Hanh. These two disparate groups of people do not know each other, but often feel hatred toward each other. Some of them have been hurt in the war.
But by the end of the two weeks, under the guidance of the monks, the Israelis and the Palestinians will learn to listen to, understand, forgive and maybe even like each other. They will be at peace.
Could this work on a larger scale for their respective countries? I think so.