Note #1: Violence As A Means

notesOne retirement project of mine involves going through lots of boxes containing work stuff, hardware and software design stuff, and decades of writing stuff. It’s kind of amazing and weird how much stuff I’ve generated in well over 40 years of active stuff creation. Among all that stuff — the bulk of which turns out to be dead weight I can eject — are a few worth saving and recording here.

The writing stuff, especially, varies from short notes to, in a few cases, short stories or scripts written long ago. Here is a note that seems as relevant today as it was when I wrote it circa late 1980s.

It’s about violence…

“Violence as a way of achieving social change is both impractical and immoral.

“It is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. The old law of ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind.

“It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding. It seeks to annihilate rather than to convert.

“Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialog.

“Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.”

I won’t make any claims about writing or philosophical quality; for the most part it states the obvious. It’s more how the note speaks to me across 25-some years.

It’s more how little has changed.

As I look around today, mostly what I see is how little has changed.

Oh, sure, as I’ve argued many times, society has changed. And I maintain that important aspects of how we behave in society have changed.

But, as everyone always points out, people haven’t changed.

Perhaps that’s the problem?

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

4 responses to “Note #1: Violence As A Means

  • ~ Sadie ~

    Mostly, people haven’t changed . . . but the world has – populations are higher and denser, and with technology things move/happen so QUICKLY now . . .

    I have a lot of “stuff,” too 🙂 I am amazed when I find things from decades ago, and often one of my first thoughts is, ‘Wow nothing has changed there!’

    [Trying to catch up with you a bit today 🙂 Haven’t been on WP much lately.]

  • mwlange

    I like this note because it gives me something to think about. Violence is so many things, including hatred and fear and maybe even chaos. It would be nice if people thought more about why it’s not desirable rather than simply resorting to it without thinking.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, a clear look at the results and after-effects shows that it’s, at best, a messy and ineffective tactic. Certainly an option of last resort. Which is to say, sometimes it does come down to that, but the cost really does make it a last ditch effort.

      Or, gee, you know, the main point of much of our storytelling and entertainment these days…

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