Saturday, August 30, 2008

Second Word

Okay, I have to admit that violence is all around us; in the news, at school, in politics, in the workplace, even at home. But is violence really part of our ethos? If it is, are we doomed as a species, to endless pain and suffering, to endless violence, endless retributions and endless wars?

How about the other forms of violence, like economic, sexual, generational, religious, racial, psychological, moral, etc.? And what about discrimination? Isn't there a sort of violence somewhere, when one billion children are going hungry everyday – when 40,000 of them die each day from hunger? Isn't there violence present somewhere when women are being treated as second class citizens in almost all societies? Isn't there violence somewhere when young people are tried as adults under laws that they did not have the privilege of voting for? Isn't there violence somewhere when beliefs and truths are imposed on others? Isn't there some violence somewhere when one is discriminated against, because of one's race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation? Isn't there violence somewhere when whole peoples are threatened with the horrors of war and terrorized with the threat of nuclear annihilation?

And what about vengeance? What drives people to take revenge? Why is it that up to now, there are still some "advanced" societies that practice institutionalized vengeance disguised as justice in the form of harsh punishments – like the death penalty? Why is it that there are more than two million people – most of them minorities – in American prisons? That is just a little less than the total populations of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose combined! Is revenge ever justified?

So, are these issues problems that could be resolved? Or are they intrinsic to human nature?

Or, could it be possible that nonviolence is what is inherent in the human being?