Faraway: Get Out of Your World
Living Without Violence
Terribly shocking acts of violence halt our daily lives as we try to find a reason why someone would inflict such harm. As if a reason would make it tolerable. If we say that the perpetrator is insane, then we can leave it at that, right? After all, insanity is a rare disease. We just have to accept the fact that insane people can do horrible things. But violence is not reserved for the insane, any one of us is capable of an act of violence. Well then, how about removing the tools of violence? If you are intent on causing physical harm to someone, the weapon is merely auxiliary to your action. The choices are numerous: guns, knives, swords, arrows, rocks, words - take your pick.
Violence is never socially acceptable, or is it? None of us would ever justify it, or would we? Every person and every culture has its level of tolerance for acts of violence. Some societies actually encourage violence as a means to maintain civil order. Some religions convince their members that there are times when violence is necessary to rid the world of what they perceive to be evil. Some parents believe that violence is essential for training a child.
If just one act of violence is acceptable by society, then at one point do we say that some are not?
Here’s the dictionary definition for violence: rough or immoderate vehemence, as of feeling or language; the violence of hatred, intent to harm; physical injury or mental damage; hurt. Then I looked up the origin of the word vehement. It’s from French ‘véhément’ or Latin, ‘impetuous, violent', perhaps from an unrecorded adjective meaning, ‘deprived of mind'. That’s interesting. A deprived mind. Deprived of what? Love? not always. A child can be well loved and grow up to be a violent criminal. Deprived of training, education? not always. A child can have the privilege of learning all there is to know about respecting his fellowman, yet grow up to be a thief. Deprived of a suitable environment? not always. A child can grow up amidst terrible surroundings, without adequate food, clothing and shelter, yet turn out to be a stable, contributing member of society.
So what should we do? Shrug our shoulders and say that violence is part of life? After all, animals display violence when fighting for territory, food or a mate. Humans also have to use violence for their survival, right? No, we don’t. We have the intelligence to solve conflicts. Since when have you ever seen a group of lions sit down in a circle and discuss the injustice of one who stole another’s kill?
We humans have the capability to live peaceably. We have the intelligence to learn how to solve problems and disagreements without using violence. Most importantly, we can raise our children without using violence against their natural vulnerability.
One of us alone cannot solve the problem of violence, but a majority of us can. For the first time in history, we have the means to simultaneously communicate on a global scale via the internet. We have the collective power and wisdom to work together to improve our societies.
This Sunday - September 21, 2014 - is a day when you can be part of a global effort to eradicate violence for one day. “Peace One Day” is an initiative created by Jeremy Gilley back in 1999. Through the strength and contagious energy of this one man, a dream for a worldwide day of peace became a reality in 2002 when the United Nations endorsed his idea and declared September 21st as International Peace Day.
This year, Peace One Day asks the question, “Who will you make peace with?” Think about it on a personal level. Maybe it’s your neighbor, or your co-worker, or a long-lost sibling, or your own child. Peace begins with you and me. Instead of allowing violence to prevail, let peace become the invader.
Here is a link to the Pocket Book of Peace with ideas you can use to spread peace in your world on September 21st.