It was a question asked with a huge passionate charge, and that’s the reason it touched me.
Of course, the question was not related to wars, criminality and abuses – things which are common in an unawakened society, but to life itself. Could existence, as we know it, be considered violent? Is there is a “violence” that could be considered, for example, “natural”?
Looking a bit deeper, there is a type of violence present in nature, in the mineral, vegetal, and animal realms. Every life develops through the destruction of something else. This is a thing which arbitrarily happens.
Ok, cartoons and documentaries show a bear who kills a salmon to sustain his life, and this is presented to the viewer in such a way that it is almost impossible to think that the salmon doesn’t feel pleasure in being killed and dismembered by the bear. Probably, salmons have another view about this.
Violence exists in nature, and if we, human beings, are part of that nature, can they (we) emancipate ourselves from such violence? When and how is a human not violent? And can a human be nonviolent and continue to live in the matter, among other people who are probably violent?
Seeing how things are, it seems that the answer, at least for now, would be: No.
We don’t limit this argument only to physical violence, but also from the emotional and intellectual point of view.
Just take a look around: media- newspaper and television, are violent; work relations, love relations, friend relations, education itself, even the online replies in various blog and Facebook (even between those that claim peace or a spiritual development)…. there’s violence everywhere, and everyone speaks about violence (TV- news and newspapers predominantly).
Sometimes it passes through my mind that, maybe, we wouldn’t speak so much about non-violence if we weren’t at least a bit violent ourselves.
Related to spiritual and self- development, it’s really a delicate and important argument, because it requires an amount of sincerity that is very demanding.
But before making additional statements, let’s briefly examine what violence is: we could define it as the wish for physical, mental and emotional overpowering, and this is the egoist and dirty violence. But, even without these egoistic attitudes, violence exists in nature: just think about the bear and the salmon or the wolf, the shark etc… and its prey. Such animals are not violent in the same egoistic way as humans. However, even if they don’t hate their prey, they hunt them and kill for necessity. They are violent because of a necessity.
Even the herbivores (and vegetarians) express the same attitude, even if the prey are not mobile. A fawn, with its large and beautiful eyes, pinpoints the prey (in this case a leaf) to eat, so a vegetal type of life is to be destroyed. We shouldn’t forget that vegetables suffer and react, so they are alive, and this is a proven statement.
Even without asking science, only an insensitive and intellectally undeveloped person can believe that on this planet could exist something that is really non- alive. What is alive can be killed and, nevermind the reason for why something has to be killed, this is, and remains as violence, despite all our moral convictions and views.
The natural cycle of creation- destruction- fight for survival, is itself violent. It would be good to observe this occurrence, this reality, instead of mitigating the crudity with every kind of theory or simply turning our head and ignoring this. If violence means overwhelming and destroying something, then, it’s something that happens every moment in nature and it’s an integral part of the same.
The question is if we can emancipate ourselves from this cycle, this law, without losing the qualities necessary to preserve ourselves in matter. For an individual who is involved in a work on himself, it’s an important question – a question which answer must leave aside all the conditioned moral views. And, it’s a fundamental question for all individuals and society itself.
Saying “I am not violent” is telling lies. A vegetarian eats living beings such as an omnivore.
In ancient ages, some civilizations and races were extinguished because they had been overwhelmed by societies which were more aggressive, and this is something which happens even in the present time. The South American indios are only an example of this fact. And, how many species of animals vanish every year?
The same thing can be noticed in individual life: from early childhood, children are taught about the “survival of the fittest”. One who is weak is not accepted. That is what is taught. The life of children is all but a bed of roses. It’s often filled with cruelty which contains in itself, the seed of a future war for a rise to success.
Is all this natural? Namely, seeing what is happening in our society (children’s field included), is it credible that a teaching towards non- violence and pacifism exists?
Indeed, normally, “pacifism” is a concept intended as a conditioning to desist from anything that could have a relation with violence (and notice that even this conditioning toward non- violence is a violence).
This discussion will be developed in further posts.