Why violence?

This is again a mirror to Tom’s thread about vitriol.(The bastard steals all my ideas…:wink: ) I think his thread should have been moved somewhere else than flounders because it addressed a subject that is a sensitive one for me.

In this thread, I would like to stay as far away as possible from quoting mean replies. I also would prefer if we didn’t refer to Forumosa. I would prefer if we didn’t refer to any political, religious and racial matters. I would prefer if countries, culture, mosques, churches, temples, and the white house would stay out of this discussion.

I would prefer if we could just discuss the concept of violence. The cause, the effect and the consequences. Especially the cause as you can see in the thread title. Why violence?

You’d think civilised people wouldn’t be so violent. Isn’t civility a nice word to describe sophisticated barbarian’s behaviour?

The world is a sickening place and so unbelievably beautiful and enjoyable at the same time. Is that what Yin and Yang is?

So why violence? Is it indispensable to us thinking animals? Is violence necessary to let us appreciate the good things in life?

I refuse to believe that simply because there are more people on the wrong side of the track and mathematically speaking it seems like a pretty dysfunctional way of going about being happy, only once in a while.

bobepine

People are violent because, whether they know it or not, they feel they have been treated unfairly either by a person, or by a society, or history or maybe even by god. The people they are violent towards don’t see it that way though and tend to react with more violence which is essentially based on the same thing, a feeling of being treated unfairly. Downward it goes till somebody grabs a clue.

At the biological level, I believe that it’s part of the Animal Condition, an unfortunate product of evolution. Have a look at troops of chimpanzees making war on each other, and you’ll see a sad reflection of our origins.

because 10,000 years of “culture” can’t undo millions of years of evolution.

Case 1

The Cause - You’re looking at/trying to chat up “our” girls (the where isn’t important, this is universal)… i.e. We’re jealous…

The Effect - You get bottled, kicked, punched and seriously mauled…

The Consequences - The perpetrators feel somehow satisfied by this display of violence, and the object of their affections is lying in a pool of his own bodily fluids.

Case 2

The Cause - You have something they want (be that on a national scale or an individual one).

The Effect - They a.)beat the crap out of you and take it (because asking nicely wouldn’t have had the same effect as blind arsed violence), or b.) they bomb the piss out of you (because asking nicely wouldn’t have had the same coercive effect as a Mechanised Infantry Division, Carrier Battle Group or several well aimed Land Attack Missiles).

The Consequences - In the case of 2.a the perpetrators have the desired article and you are lying in a pool of your own bodily fluids (or at best nursing several well placed bruises, contusions and an array of other physical and psychological wounds). In the case of 2.b they control or run off with all your natural resources and you are left with bugger all apart from a few thousand cadavers and some rather well placed craters. In either event (2.a or 2.b) he with the least number of troops/henchmen and the worst arms (being either military weapons technology or knives/guns/anything you can get your damn hands on) ends up with less than he started with.

Conclusion - Folks usually think that beating the piss out of you generally has the optimum desired effect over plain asking nicely. Therefore, he with the best weapons, karate chop/kick, most mates/troops will win or have the effect of deterring someone from such a course of action.

Furthermore, people just plain like violence. See most organised sports, the wide variety of violent game shows at our disposal, huge armies, massive amounts of police personnel etc…
If people were generally peace loving none of the above would be available for our viewing “pleasure” or necessary.
If you doubt me, remember how everyone used to get all excited and run after the shouts of “FIGHT!! FIGHT!!!” on the playground???

Also, it may be of interest that the “Romantic” Titanic is the biggest earner in US box office history. However, I suspect that this has more to do with the fact that we got to see Kate Winslet’s boobs, Leo shagging her, 1500 people perishing in one of the world’s worst maritime disaster’s and Billy Zane firing a pistol at the “star crossed lovers” in a jealous rage than interest in seeing a nice romantic love filled story. Otherwise Bambi would have the honours as No.1…

Interesting thread.

There’s not only physical violence. There’s also emotional, verbal, and other forms of intellectual bullying. Do they count as violence or not? What about other forms of coercion or control?

I think it’s important to start out by defining what you mean as violence. Do you mean ‘hurting’ people? Do you mean physically or emotionally, or what? Do you include consensual activities that may cause physical harm and sensations of ‘pain’ that may also be considered pleasurable? Spanking, for instance.

So, violence in general I think is what Bob pretty much said. IMO violence is about power,domination and fear. IMO we live in a fear-based world, so in order to deal with our fears, many people resort to violence. I guess once people learn to control their fears as oppose to their fears controlling them we’ll see less and less violence.

Some how civilaztion has this idea that we must dominate each other because it will result in what we desire. I don’t see how dominating a person will result in any good gain, as you have to extert alot of energy to keep up that domination to keep gaining.

[quote=“Namahottie”]
Some how civilaztion has this idea that we must dominate each other because it will result in what we desire. I don’t see how dominating a person will result in any good gain, as you have to extert alot of energy to keep up that domination to keep gaining.[/quote]

It’s all about domination and greed, IMO. The desire to be the alpha male, which as tyc00n said, has been instilled in our genetic code through millions of years. However, I believe that this all resides in the base realm of our pure physicality. I think that we certainly do have “souls”, whatever they may be (I’m not religious, but do I believe in some sort of higher power, or something that transcends the physical dimension), and that this part of us is the part that is capable of compassion, peace, understanding, sacrifice and all other virtuous traits. So therein lies the conflict. The spiritual versus the corporeal. The more you desire and lust after the physical things of this world, the more you crave power, I think the more likely you are to be someone who perpetrates violence, be it physical, emotional, etc etc.

Society is structured in such a way that power is to be desired, greed to be strived for and rewarded. It’s still all about being the alpha (male or female, as it were). It’s all about getting the things that make YOU feel good, not working together as people, not striving for the things that will end world poverty, bring about world peace, etc. It’s how society is structured. Of course there are people who dedicate their lives to such things, but they are by far the minority. Maybe humankind will come right one day, if we don’t destroy ourselves and this planet first.

A Tolstoy quote: “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields”. Quite true, I think.

Although violence is generally seen as a bad thing, over the eons violence has furthered mankind. The desire to outwit and outdo another race has resulted in the invention of new technologies, from the stone age right up until today.

Violence and agression is the key to survival, either at a individual or “clan” level and no amount of believing ourselves to be civil is going to change millions of years of embedded instinct.

So do you want to take this outside or am I going to slap you infront of all these people?

Violence is closely linked to aggression.
Aggression is promoted by testosterone.
In competitve situations, testosterone provides physiological advantages.
In the lead up to an intense competition, both parties experience elevated levels of testostrone. In the aftermath, the level testostrone in both parties falls, but for the victor, it falls less, to a new, higher norm, thus endowing the victor with a slight advantage in subsequent competitions. Presumeably, it also makes violence marginally more likely in subsequent competitions.

That, and it seems to work, in the short term, and not many of us are consistently able to take the long view.

Come on it feels GOOOOOD. Even when you lost that scrap in the playground, even when you weren’t even involved your adrenalin was up, you felt alive!

It is the whole reason that Thriller movies (even well written books) are so successful. We like that adrenaline sensation, we like being scared we are designed to survive, and if we win aswell…well hey then our loved ones will love us more…=-)

I study violence (Aikido) so that I can attain Peace.

I watch pro rasslin so I can see what may happen to me if I decide to get violent with the wrong guy.

I watch pro rasslin so I can see what may happen to me if I decide to get violent with the wrong guy.[/quote]

Yes, there is real value in knowing what not to do. :bow:

“To injure an opponent is to injure yourself. To control aggression without inflicting injury is Aikido.”

O Sensei.

[quote=“Loretta”]Interesting thread.[/quote]That’s right, now go ahead and make me feel bad about being abrupt, read violent, to you in another thread… :wink:

[quote]There’s not only physical violence. There’s also emotional, verbal, and other forms of intellectual bullying. Do they count as violence or not? What about other forms of coercion or control?

I think it’s important to start out by defining what you mean as violence. Do you mean ‘hurting’ people? Do you mean physically or emotionally, or what? Do you include consensual activities that may cause physical harm and sensations of ‘pain’ that may also be considered pleasurable? Spanking, for instance.[/quote]

Lets’ use our recent disagreement as an example. Let’s not bash each other over it, I mean let’s look at it from a witness standpoint. Isn’t it pathetic that we manage to be rude to one another just because we disagree? I mean if we can’t get along on something so basic, simple and generally harmless as a bulletin board without turning to violence, what does that say about us?

I like to bash Bush and his politics, I like to bitch against animal cruelty, etc, because I do dislike violence. Yet, I find myself calling you an hypocrite over an online disagreement. Quite ironic in the end and it makes me feel like the culprit. It’s true, usually, responses the like I posted earlier in the feedback forum makes me feel bad in the after math. So why do I do it?

Is it really the chemicals inside me turning me into an asshole sometimes? I hate assholes and I often hate myself because I don’t always live up to my own beliefs when I behave like one.

It wasn’t my intention to discuss this particular type of violence that is posting harsh things on a bulletin board but you posted here and I’m happily surprised. That’s what I feel like responding to you.

As for defining violence, I would define it as an effort to take something that isn’t freely given to you. Be it power, money, reason, acknowledgment, you name it. I agree, there are many kinds of violence but all of it really sucks.

Hopefully, we are at least becoming better people in the process because all the suffering is so not worth it otherwise.

bobepine

I object to the generalization that all or even most people are violent. Violence is actually a pretty rare occurrence in most people’s lives, outside of war zones. Think - when was the last time you were violent? When was the last time you were a victim of violence? 99.9% of our lives are spent in relative peace. True, there are a minority of assholes who enjoy being violent, but they aren’t the majority. I’ve read a bit of military history and one thing that I found very interesting was the willing to shoot to kill rates among soldiers in the 20th century. During WWI and WWII, the American army was frustrated when they found out that the majority of their infantry wouldn’t shoot to kill. Often doughboys would deliberately miss so as not to kill another human being, even if he was the enemy. So the Army modernized its training and by the time of Vietnam, the majority soldiers had been successfully brainwashed (sorry, there’s no other word for it) into willingly able to shoot to kill another human being. I find it interesting that in our natural state, most men are not naturally killers; we have to trained and indoctrinated into dehumanizing the enemy. As soon as we look at the other guy as a human being just like ourselves, the violent instinct drastically fades. Which is why it’s easier to beat up someone from another race or culture, because it’s easier to convince ourselves that he isn’t quite as human.

As adults, when is the last time you saw a fight that did not involve alcohol? Grownups don’t resort to violence under normal circumstances, that’s for children. The only exception is when they have Dutch courage flowing in their veins. The only violence I have seen is always, ALWAYS in bars. Never when people are sober.

Ha ha, the best scraps are Vietnamese Taxi Drivers in Ho Chi Minh. Not sure how many have been drinking though…never thought of that. They do go for it though. :bravo:

Actually violence is rare in everyday life, outside of war, failed states, marginal societies, intoxication, sports, and childhood. (Did I miss anything?) Threats of violence, most often through very subtle forms of intimidation, is very nearly inescapable.

Actually violence is rare in everyday life, outside of war, failed states, marginal societies, intoxication, sports, and childhood. (Did I miss anything?) Threats of violence, most often through very subtle forms of intimidation, is very nearly inescapable.[/quote]

Exactly. There’s violence everywhere. It doesn’t have to be physical and I think that’s more the kind of violence ML is talking about.

The violence I’m talking about is the aggressive look someone may give you if you cut them off in line at the gas station or if you steal their parking spot. It’s the guy you see kicking his car door because his car won’t start for the fifth time. It’s that old lady you saw beating her dog up with a stick. It’s that person swearing and being rude to the waiter at the restaurant. It’s that guy who honked at you on the road a while back and he was swearing out loud in his car, things like “you motherf@#^%^%#!#(&%8^%498.” It’s me sometimes. And it’s you too. All of you I think.

I have never met anyone who has never been violent in one way or another, according to my understanding of violence. In fact many people I know sometimes come down with pretty violent rants about several different subjects. It’s all words and frowns most of the time. Maybe it’s actually vehemence rather than violence. However, vehemence often leads to violence or at least it leads people to tolerate and even support violence.

I got locking zippers installed on my pockets.

bobepine

When was it in history that people thought we could rid ourself of emotion and violence? I think Schopenhauer ?? was one the newer philosophers who re-acknowledge the importance of emotion.

Can we ever “evolve” so we don’t get sad, mad, or angry? Maybe it’s Descartes or even the greek dialecticians who we can blame for all this strange thinking.

“All instincts that do not discharge themselves outwardly turn inward.” (Nietzsche). And they will again turn towards the outside.