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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 428: Violence is Never the Answer

Ours is a history of violence, and we have carried our history forward with us, into the present. War, rape, murder, torture, slavery, beatings, verbal attacks, oppression, suppression, genocides, patricide, infanticide, assassination, protests, uprisings, revolutions... Violence has become a part of our self image, we readily accept the presence of violence in what we believe to be life and humanity without much questioning. We accept violence as a part of who we are, but do not consider or realize that violence has only ever led to more violence.

A huge part of humanity believes that violence holds the answer to our ills. Religious followers believe that violence will convert the world. Countries believe that war will convert communists into being capitalists - oh sorry, I mean "democracy". Parents believe that violence will make their children obey. Soldiers believe that violence will protect the lives of their countrymen. Protesters believe that violence will change whatever it is they are protesting. Interrogators believe that violence will cause a person to confess. Men believe that violence will subdue their women. Cast-outs believe that violence will make them accepted.

Violence, like so much else in this world, is no cure. It is no solution. It is a temporary suppression of certain symptoms, but it in no way addresses the cause of the problem. Violence does not cause one to respect life. Violence does not cause one to understand the concept of authority. Violence does not cause one to alter one's beliefs. Violence does not advance our understanding of the nature of life. Violence does not protect life. Violence does not honour life.

Violence ultimately represents our lack of understanding of ourselves and of our fellow man. Violence is the manifestation of our lack of communication. It is the manifestation of our self-involvedness, an indication of how little interest we have in developing a real solution that would honour life.

The only thing that violence achieves is to deepen our mental wounds. Where we once hated a group for wronging our grandparents in some way, we now hate them for wronging our siblings. We are taught to have animosity for certain peoples, depending on what knowledge our parents choose to bestow upon our young minds - so one could say that we come into the world already hating certain people for some thing(s) they did in the past. Chances are, something new will happen in our lifetime that will cause us to hate these peoples even more. They do something to hurt you, so you retaliate and do something to hurt them. That is the nature of war, a cyclical revitalization of feelings of hatred and mistrust.

We participate in this circle of violence in our own lives as well, we exert some form of violence on the people (and animals) around us, which is returned in kind. We even allow violence to exist within our thoughts. What does this violence bring us? How does it enrich our lives? How does it improve our children's futures?

Stop the violence. Investigate the cause. Commit to a new way of living that does not include violence. Honour life.

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