12 November 2012

I'd love to make violence extinct

I really really really wish there was no violence.

I know this is not a realistic approach to the real world but that’s the great thing about wishing for a better world. Violence wouldn’t be an option and so people would have to find an alternate way to express rage, frustration or feel powerful.

The thing I find most baffling about so much violence is the why? I can’t comprehend how one individual can bash a child, maim an animal, torture an innocent, beat a loved one, kick a stranger in the head, rob a wounded man, or any of the other myriad of cruelties that people enact. I find gratuitous violence the most baffling because there is no instinctive response to danger, a desire to protect, it’s just petty hyped up nastiness.

And I wonder where does it come from? I don’t think its television, or video games or anything like that…its existed for all time and it is not restricted to one race, one culture, one gender. It’s a visceral thrill for some. A sober experience where they get off on the power with nary a thought for their victims or a damn for the consequences.

You can not stop it. You can not change the fundamentals that make such behaviour acceptable to some. I can comprehend crimes of passion, the red hot surge of anger that makes you want to lash out. Even Mother Theresa admitted to feeling angry – but not everybody acts on it. I just don’t understand wilful violence. And I don’t understand how people can stand by when it happens Surely that makes you just as culpable?

I know I’m a bleeding heart. And I have in the past been slightly embarrassed about my propensity to feel for people I don’t even know, but surely mine is not a bad approach to life. If I can imagine the consequences, feel on behalf of another, that empathy is a good thing? I’m not perfect by any stretch – I’m notoriously hot headed. I profane and I can lash out verbally and have been known to shake with rage but ultimately, bar the odd reactive face slap to the petty mind games of an ex-boyfriend – for which almost 15 years on I still feel incredibly remorseful, I have never had the slightest inclination to deliberately and systematically hurt somebody.

And I would hate to be that person.

Surely an inability to comprehend violence is a desirable state. For while I acknowledge mine is a fairly non eventful middle class anglo-esque life, I am passionate about causes and I truly desire to see change in the world. I’m prepared to march, sign petitions, have conversations, take part in causes but I do not see how violence can effect sustainable change. Maybe I’m naive but perhaps I don’t want to be anything else.

Some questions, some desires are instinctive. My instinct is for a non-violent world. And if I have to start at the beginning with a world that contains no physical violence, I would consider it a small step for man and a giant step for mankind.