Thursday, October 20, 2005

Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting...Or Is It?

One of the most frustrating things about knowing a thing, as opposed to believing in a thing, is that you are often tempted to grab those who are ignorant of the thing you know, and shake them forcefully.

Thing is, if you know anything about violence, you'll know that doing anything that involves force will only lead to further problems.

So today, we're going to talk all about kicking ass, and why it's almost never a good idea.

Probably the greatest known thinker-slash-doer when it comes to theories of nonviolence (apart from Jesus of Nazareth) was Mahatma Ghandi. I say "was", because he got so involved in the doing part, he's dead. Clearly he believed what he was putting forward to such an extent, he felt dying was a small price to pay. I'm not so sure about that, but I can't fault him on his knowledge on how to run a media based campaign of action.

He put forward a few notions I do agree with, however, not least being that all violence stems from a fear of something. I take it he was making a distinction between violence and hunting, unless you want to boil hunting down to a fear of starving to death, which I guess is fair enough. I don't think he was, because he was a vegetarian, but who knows. I would make a further distinction, that being that mental illness is in a category of its own, the rules do not apply. Psychopathic killers tend to be deluded and not that connected to reality. A by-product of this is that they generally aren't scared of anything, not because they are especially hard, but rather because they simply don't know how, any more than you know about how to be a psychopathic killer. I'm taking it on faith that my readers are relatively sane here.

Example time.

The theory goes that if you want to hurt something, the reason is because it instills within you a sense of fear, therefore, anger. Anger is seen as a by-product of fear. This fear need not be conscious, which is why tough guys who bully other people and think it makes them macho, are foolish and wrong. They're just scared, and too stupid to see it. Now let's be clear here - you don't have to be directly scared of the thing you are intending to hurt, but it should instill in you, either directly or otherwise, a sense of fear. Some scholars have put forward that the reason jews in Hitlers control were so badly treated was because they had existed behind closed shutters for so long, they were essentially unknown to the community. Combine this with strange and alien ceremonies, and their persistent usage of their own peculiar language, the net result was a sense of mistrust and fear among the rest of the citizenry who were weak-minded (as so many humans are) enough to fall for it. When it comes to monster hunts and mob mentality, it doesn't take much to get a bonfire going. Logic not necessary.

A contemporary parallel is the view that all Muslims are women-raping, goat eating Jihadists, just waiting for an excuse to break cover and detonate their hidden I.E.D.'s outside the nearest school. It doesn't help when our news is saturated with Islamic gang rapists from Sydney's inner-West who claim Aussie girls deserve it, and that they are sanctioned by God to do what they do, or Muftis dropping Fatwas on anything that moves, or terrorist cells in the suburbs numbering potentially in their thousands, but it still doesn't make it right to assume that Islam = death to all westerners.

People get scared of groups, and therefore of anyone who looks like they may belong to a group, right or wrong. Commies, niggers, kikes, gooks, faggots, crackers, whoever. If you're not "one of us", you're the enemy. Or, as George W Bush put forward "If you're not with us, you're against us". What a monumental dick.

In the space of 30 or 40 years, we've collectively overcome our fears of being converted by the reds, murdered by blacks or asians, catching A.I.D.S. from the toilet seat, or whatever Australians were shitting themselves over in the days of yesteryear. In short, we're not scared any more. And all it took was some information, of the correct and logical kind. As this info was shared, and time passed, tolerance grew. Gay bashing is not a common occurence any more. But it still happens unfortunately, and when it does, it's all down to ignorance of the facts, and fear of, in most cases, being considered gay by peers, or of having to confront one's own latent homosexuality and feelings of confusion and desire.

Here's one we've all heard before- 'what goes around, comes around'.

In the case of human emotional responses, it is 100% correct, only not in any karmic and numinous sense. As Pavlovian as it sounds, emotionally speaking, people are just big stimulus/response engines. In comes the stimulus, and out comes a response. That's what we do, it's the basis behind all of our concepts of civilisation and being gregarious (or not).

So when you attack someone, physically or verbally, that energy is transferred from you, and over to them. And that's where choice comes in. You can either fire back, which results in an escalation of the confrontation (until one of you ends up like Ghandi), or you can choose to let the energy go in a positive way. Like exercise, or laughing off the insult. There are families in Eastern Europe who have been killing each other in retributive vendettas for more than a thousand years now. It really pays to let it go, or deal with it legally.

Here's where I differ on traditional theories of nonviolence - if you are in physical danger, I think it's fine to protect yourself. I don't think going down to prove a point is clever at all, even if in Ghandi's case it helped to focus International attention to his plight. If you are physically assaulted, you should seek escape, but if cornered, you should do what any animal would do and protect your ass.

But fighting for religion is a bunch of ass, and anyone with half a brain knows it. Fighting for revenge is just as stupid. I agree with the death penalty, in that it is a way of society defending itself (albeit belatedly) against threats to the citizenry. I disagree with our selected method of proving the facts, but I see what they're trying to do. Human threats should be destroyed, just like viral ones. I just hope for proof beyond any doubt whatsoever in these cases, as opposed to merely reasonable doubt.

When you watch the news, does it ever strike you as incredible how many people are caught in the crossfire of religious, sectarian, political, racist, or military violence? Does anyone remember what we used to talk about in current affairs programs before 9/11? Who were the bogeymen back then? Have we as a race actually evolved mentally in the years since the Industrial Revolution, or have we just shifted focus onto a new set of stimuli to respond to? I do know that personal responsibilty has dropped off to an almost nonexistent level (even in the legal system), so maybe we're all collectively just passing the buck more nowadays. It does frighten me how many people out there in society have serious undiagnosed mental illnesses. What was the stat Clem, one in five Australians? They're my bogeymen, right there.

But the one thing I do know is that acting (as opposed to reacting) violently is unforgiveable behaviour for the year 2005, we should have grown up by now. Those who are violent need to be educated or diagnosed for treatment of some kind, there is no excuse any more.

Clearly none of this will come as news to my regular readers, seeing as they're all hot women and not thugs or morons, but who knows who might stop by? I've definitely made a change in my own life, and that's saying something, as I was always ready for an old fashioned smackdown, good reason seldom necessary. But now I am ashamed of any action that has bought harm to someone else, verbal or physical.

Unless they really deserved it. (Just kidding!)

Let's all try being nice humans for a change...because I'm telling you the truth when I say, the person who gets hurt the most when you lash out, is actually you.

This is knifey, from 'the internet'.

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