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23 Apr 2014

What is Violence? Problem or Symptom!

What is violence? Why is violence such a worldwide phenomenon among human beings? At the dawn of the twenty–first century, and the emergence of the digital age,

the global community is better informed of the enormity amount of violence that is occurring in various countries around the globe.

First and foremost, violence is not a problem in itself, but a symptom (manifestation) of a deep and pervasive problem that lies within the human spirit. Absurd you might surmise! Violence comes from the head (our human nature), but non–violence comes from the heart (our spiritual nature). This is the first imperative of understanding the nature of violence.

Violence is rooted in fear. Fear has become the dominant human condition and preoccupation of our twenty–first century. The evidence is expressed in human anxiety, greed, aggression, stress, depression, loneliness, and other ills in the crucible of the twenty–first century.

Violence threatens the survival of the human species as World War III looms in the panorama of our minds, and the labyrinths of our thoughts and memories of the unmitigated violence of World War I (1914–1918), and World War II (1939–1945).

World War II was the single most violent conflict the world had ever experienced, causing tens of millions of deaths to both soldiers and civilians alike. Paradoxically, World War I was referred to as the war to end all wars (http://news.bbc.co.uk /2/hi/special_report/1998/10/98/world_war_i/198172.stm).

Violence can manifest its nature in family relations, and it can extend along a trajectory to the highest domain of broken trust between and among nations.
Violence is also becoming the way for the masses to express dissatisfaction with their political leaders in various developing and underdeveloped nations. Paradoxically, Western religions teach that citizens should pray for the nation, and its leaders.

We are African, American, Arabic, British, Canadian, Chinese, French, German, Indian, Korean, and Russian – just to name a few nationalities. We are White, Black, and Brown. We are adherents of Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, just to name a few religions. Do race, color, religion, culture or nationality matter if they set us apart, and against each other.

There is an enormous discontent among peoples and nations that is giving expression to violence throughout the world. A great physical and spiritual hunger is developing in various parts of our world. Political, cultural and religious conflicts; militia wars; national and international border wars; the accumulation of superfluous wealth; the hoarding of strategic resources, and the stock–piling of armaments are symptomatic of this great world hunger.

Evidently, something has gone monumentally wrong with human leadership in the world when violence has become a dominant pre–occupation among nations. This is evident when one observes the size of military budgets of nations. More importantly of nations that are leader nations in the world.

Violence, as opposed to the relentless pursuit of the “power of dialogue”, is becoming the universal remedy for disagreements between, and among some nations. The United Nations (UN) which is the highest global organization seems incapable in bringing about a peaceful global community, notwithstanding its over–arching mandate. Even the threat of military intervention has not led the world on a path to peace, because peace is not a military imperative.
We often forget that we are, first, members of the human family, with a common heritage. We often forget that we are the world composite of all of our needs, thoughts, feelings, hopes, and aspirations, and of our violent nature as well. Can a nation secure peace or its national interest apart from the international interest of humanity?

How can the international community of nations find peace? Is peace a military imperative as opposed to a spiritual imperative? Peace begins with God who is the source of peace (John 14:27). If we miss this most important distinction, our desire for peace becomes a vain pursuit, marked by futility and frustration, and a recurrent drain on valuable human and financial resources, while human suffering continues unabated, and as peace remains the great illusion and violence —unabated.

We must recognize that when history repeats itself, the price grows, exponentially. Imagine the world’s deficit financing of trillions of dollars over the past century in pursuit of ‘illusive’ peace. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, the call for tolerance will become mute (Matthew 22:37–39 NKJV)?

We must recognize that although national and international laws are essential, they are written by humans, and they do not cultivate overall goodness in human beings, or inspire righteous conduct, or are they meant to. Obedience to human laws largely cultivates compliance, based on fear of censure or punishment by other human beings, rather than the dictates of conscience as a first imperative of non–violence.

Human laws operate on “principles of suppression.” Suppression is a legal imperative, and not a moral imperative, hence its partial capacity to correct aberrant human nature. It is for these reasons violence persists notwithstanding tens of thousands of human laws (national and international).

The laws that govern the steps of humankind are twofold; (1) God’s law (proactive); and (2) human laws (generally reactive). It is from these two perspectives that our secular and religious worlds emanate; distinctly differentiated by the separation of church and state. This is uniquely a western world construct.

Have we found the path to non–violence through human laws? Have we found it through the modern church? Have we found it through world religions, or in our God or gods? Have we found it in our great secular and religious universities, or in world peace organizations? Have we found it in gun control, liberal gun laws, in capital punishment, or by incarcerating millions of individuals — worldwide? Have we found it in peace missions; peace pacts; peace treaties; peace marches, or in civil disobedience? Violence begets violence ( ) Where does the answer lie? Read my blog: PEACE — What is Peace?

— Violence threatens the survival of the human species.


Unless otherwise expressed, the views expressed in the opinion column are not endorsed by the editors or publishers of ByBlacks.com

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