This is an exploration of ideas to consider ♡
Violence is a fundamental challenge facing humanity today. Violence can be physical, emotional or psychic.
Our cultural conditioning sometimes condones violence, so it is difficult to find clarity about why it triggers such an inner conflict for those of us who seek a peaceful world.
I define ‘violence’ here as deliberate human actions that affect self or others in a painful way, either physcally, emotionally or psychically.
The 20th century understanding of human psychology has institutionalized violent behaviour as a key principle in managing social interactions.
While the use of corporal punisment is reducing in familiies and society, punishment is still an acceptable method for attempting to modify behaviour. Ironically, the violence of war and revolution continues to be justified in the name of peace.
The biblical saying, “spare the rod, spoil the child”, reflects an ideology that has justified violence as a way of conditioning human behaviour for thousands of years.
Speaking from my own experience, the trauma triggered by having experienced violent behaviour makes it difficult to imagine a world without violence.
Some people believe that there’s a fundamental difference between the violence of the oppressed and the violence of the oppressor. While thousands of years of cyclical trauma appear to prove otherwise, it may be helpful to explore the differences between the two.
When we examine the mixed feelings that many of us have about ‘violence’ it becomes clear that the ‘motivation’ for action makes a subjective difference to our justification for that action.
A parent who has ever punished their child will clearly recognise the feelings of frustration and perhaps fear and or helplessness in the face of very challenging behaviour.
If we punish our children it is not usually because we wish to perpetuate violence. It is because we have been led to believe that punishment will help our children to understand the ‘error of their ways’. Due to the unique love and dependency issues in familial relationships, punishments sometimes seem to work and sometimes, not so much.
In assessing the efficasy of my response to challenging behaviour I have found the the key question to ask is “why do I want them to change their behaviour?
Is it because they are being ‘naughty’, or is it because I care about them???
Every parent has experienced a situation when they believed that they needed to intervene re-establish a safe, free and peaceful environment. Similarly in the world today, we are being offered opportunities to act in ways that promote the same ideals that are important for our families in relation to our society in general.
It may be possible to redefine our understanding of personal psychology in a way that enables us to employ the ‘protective use of force’ (physical, emotional or psychic) in ways that remain in allignment with our intention to create a safe, free and peaceful world. ♡Recommended2 recommendationsPublished in