also Anger, Anxiety, Conflict, Emotion, Fear, Guilt

“He attacked me. I’m going to kill him. He stole from me. I’ll get him. They don’t look like us, think like us, act like us. They don’t deserve to live. They are a threat. They are less than us. Conquer them for their own good. Keep them in line. Change them. Exterminate them.”

Justifying violence towards others is common. Animals will always defend. Animals will always use what resources they have to protect. Advantages over others will always be exercised. Kill or be killed. Be strong, violent if necessary, to survive. Easy to understand. Rudimentary. Virulent cells attack healthy ones. A battle ensues. Some live. Some die. All part of nature and its cycle of life. Procreation, protection, sustenance and growth, threats, confrontations, injuries, death. We are part of this. We have no choice. Or do we?

Threats from nature and ‘man’ have been with us forever. Being alert and prepared for attacks has always been an essential part of daily life. Defenses set, your adrenaline would empower you with maximum physical prowess. But many societies, the Greeks and Romans for example, developed a mutually beneficial cohesion so that large areas could remain stable and secure. Inhabitants needn’t worry about defense. Armies were put in place to provide this.

Today most countries depend on this model. Soldiers are trained with efficient weapons. They risk ‘life and limb’ in defense and war while the vast majority of citizens live peaceably. Confrontations with outsiders are avoided. And rash violence within the citizenry is not tolerated. Accommodating one another is the rule. Of course, this is enforced by laws and a judiciary … most effective in maintaining a ‘civil’ society.

BUT ‘the individual’ is not easily mollified. Violent behavior is deeply imbedded. So how do you ‘deal’ with this propensity to ‘strike out’? Consider:

-    You can yield to pugnacious impulses:  Clash, fight, kill, whatever. Hurting others will not be tolerated though. Your fate will be a ‘walled in’ existence OR your own demise.

-    You can try to ignore fomenting anger. Live frustratingly with primal retorts echoing throughout the night. Not easy. And probably not healthy.

-    How ‘bout sublimating this volatility? Use your energy in mock combat:  sports and game playing? Or being passive or lazy, you can empathetically participate in these. Watch someone else, a cartoon character perhaps, ‘bop someone upside the head’.

You will ALWAYS have this inclination to ‘fight’. Accept it. Do your best to channel hostility away from hurting others. Constantly strive to love. Your attitudes, your motivations, these become more considerate as your spirit grows through loving. Violence towards others becomes increasingly more abhorrent. Even harming creatures may become repulsive.

Unfortunately there is violence in our society. Movies, television:  they report it, depict it, even glorify it. Many young people seem to ‘revel’ in it … having little empathy or considerateness for others. Could it be they have little motivation to care? Why? Do you ‘feel’ a general malaise in many around you? Are many parents so caught up in material things, pleasure, status, that they disregard their own children? Are frustrated youngsters growing up without enough attention, love? Is it ‘any wonder’ they get angry … very angry? They strike out. “Look at me!!”  “I hate you!!”  “I am somebody!!”

A self-oriented society that practices little true loving undermines and handicaps its greatest contribution to the world:  its children. You know this. Do your best to change it. Get involved with youth groups. Help direct this rebelliousness towards positive goals. Making the world a better place can be attractive. Even to children with a legitimate grudge.



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.