Peace is difficult to quantify. Though, we have been trying to measure it somewhat with our PAXi Index, the Daily Peace Culture Index for the United States.
PAXi began on July 15th. The PAXi for that day was 131, the lowest PAXi has been in its two month history. In the last few weeks, PAXI has hovered at the 140’s and 150’s. The highest number so far has been 158. Until today…
Today, on the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, PAXi has jumped up to 337.
We were a little surprised at the sudden jump. And, it seems like a possible weakness in PAXi that the jump is based mostly on only one indicator, a “Google News” search for “peace”. Though, other indicators had some rises, including a pretty big day-to-day jump in the “Bing” searches for “peace” and for “nonviolence”. PAXi includes over 20 separate indicators. So, it will be interesting to see if any other indicators ever show sudden spikes like this.
For now, we tried to study why the jump might have happened. Since today is September 11th, we are guessing that some of the increase may be due to the desire for “peace” people often feel when reflecting on loss and tragedy. Also, the words “rest in peace”, might have been in the news stream, when writing about victims of September 11th.
Here is some of our research concerning where the spike in our “Google News” indicator may have come from:
In Google News, some of the search hits for peace include: peace in Columbia; Mex-US Caravan for peace, and Al-Qaeda leader’s brother offers peace plan.
In regards to a possible September 11th link in the on-line discourse about peace, in Google News we found:
6,090 hits for the phrases “world trade center” and peace
7,120 hits for the phrase “rest in peace”
19,500 hits for the phrase “september 11” and peace
35,000 hits for the combined search of 9/11 and peace
We are pleased that the Daily Peace Index has risen so high on this day. Perhaps it is an indicator that people’s feelings and wishes are turning from fear and revenge, to a desire for peace and an end to war.
We would love to hear your input about why you think the PAXi number may have spiked today. Please feel free to post in comments, or send us an e-mail.
We also wanted to leave you with a moment of peace and reflection. Here is a link to our “Peace Song of the Day for September 11th“, which was posted as part of our Daily Peace Song project on September 11, 2011.
Update on 9/13/12: I am really believing that the number spike in the PAXi Peace Index was related to September 11th in some way. Because, the numbers around September 11th were as follows:
September 10, 2012: PAXi at 153
September 11, 2012: PAXi at 337
September 12, 2012: PAXi at 332
September 13, 2012: PAXi at 158
Seems like the peace movement could use these numbers for organizing. On and around September 11th, there is a great deal of discussion about “peace”. Maybe it would be a good time to plan a peace and/or antiwar march?