In a world where 'everywhere is war' and hostilities continue to escalate at hundred of crisis spots around the globe, the natural peace reserves of our planet are stretched to the utmost. Furthermore, much of the peace in use today is illusory, eroded, and in many cases, highly disturbed. "The sea of tranquility has been dry for years," says Dr. Serena Calm, author of In Separate Peaces. "We can no longer depend on the natural resources, such as fossil peace. . . for our peace".
Now, at Bar Ilan's Department of Peace Studies, the race is on to find alternative sources. Here in the BIU-BIO technology department research is underway that may, someday, drop a balm on our inflamed world. Prof Placido Stillson claims to have isolated a strain of bacteria that can actually generate peace.
"A specific protein in this bacteria generates peace when enough heat is applied," boasts Prof Stillson, "The discovery was purely accidental. I was doing research on hall rage: that's like road rage but with adolescent girls during school recess. In any given outbreak of violence, there is a charge for the door. But there will always be a few who stay apart from the hysteria, calmly chewing gum, sipping diet coke or adjusting their hair. We took samples of gum, coke and hair in Petri dishes and applied a bacteria sample to each dish.
Unfortunately, two of our lab technicians got in a fight about who's turn it was at the centrifuge. Name calling soon led to pushing, and some Petri dishes slid over and slopped into the next table, where my assistant was working with a very aggressive strain of 'killer virus' infection. See these pink spots here? No, don't touch, you oaf, just look: These streaks show changes in the killer virus cells: We noted an incredible change in the behavior of these aggressive cells. Not only did they reduce their attack on the host cells by as much as 94%, but they appeared to undergo a sudden change of attitude. In their retreat back through the walls of the damaged cells, they exhibited behavior which I can only call apologetic. "
From a practical perspective, the cost of the Peace Protein, as it has been dubbed, is remarkably low: 85% as costly as conventional peace generating means, such as signing treaties, and a whopping 40% cheaper than bombing into submission. Moreover, unlike other trusted methods, protein-induced peace may be capable of lasting months, even years.
Just around the corner from Prof Stillson's lab, (or, as they are fond of saying, it's just a peace away), is the Department of Absence of Motion or Disturbance. In these untroubled surroundings, behind "Do not Disturb OR WE SHOOT YOU!" placards, Dr John Lentil of Strawberry Fields is close to a different peaceful breakthrough: Distilling Peace from fermenting crops. "We got the idea from the ethanol industry. They say, 'Instead of farmers raising crops like corn or sugar cane to feed people, let them feed our hungry cars.' We use a similar distilling process. Instead of growing food to feed armies to maintain peace, let's distill pure peace energy and eliminate the need for armies."
Once a shoe-in for next years' Peace prize, Prof Lentil now has reason to worry: For over at Tel Aviv U, Dr Sallem Salamey has made a great strides in crisis management using the broad bean (see illustration left).
Broad beans, commonly called 'ful' in this country, are a member of the pea family, but much larger and more sedate, peaceful by nature. Broad in outlook, they are not beans at all. You never hear of Mexican Jumping fuls, do you? One of our fulim can produce a peace force equivalent to 44.5 peas." But Salamey's procedure is much more complex: it requires securing the broad beans to a complex grid of light fixtures, and at present, can only be used at dusk. "These fixtures, -- called "Ahillim" in Hebrew - are kept in this shed at temperatures below
-40C. As the temperature drops, the water in these vats freezes, which sets the effluvium of the beans wafting through the air, causing -- we don't yet understand how -- any military ordinance within a twenty kilometer radius to transmogrify into tin farming tools. In laymen's' terms, when the ful on Ahill feels the sun going down then the ice in this shed keys the war's tinning grounds."
All we are saying, is give peas a chance.
Barry Silverberg, Post Mimoona, 2009