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Beneath the Obfuscating Patina
Reflections on Violence by Jim Fry
© 2015 Jim Fry
Jim Fry has offered to be an ongoing guest author. I am thrilled to have his work appear here. Jim offers a refreshing counterpoint to my sexist blood and snot ethos.
The recent Ferguson, Baltimore and Waco incidents have me contemplating the violence we're all immersed within. Then, encountering this video induced me to share my reflections on this topic of topics.
The Scope of Violence
We live within a crucible of violence which permeates into most facets of our conscious experience.
Not only are our dreams often turned into night terrors through the presence of violence, but our waking moments are continually shaped by them. Consider the very real and present dangers continually experienced by half our population, women, as they go about their days, continually harassed by sexual predatory behaviors. Consider too, the violence upon all of our population, induced by authoritarian behaviors of governments, with their executive, legislative and judicial horns. Finally, consider, the violence we inflict upon ourselves, through acts and thoughts, from the mild (self-sabotage and negative critiques) to the extreme (abusing our bodies, minds and spirits across a myriad of methodologies).
Having been touched and impacted by various forms and magnitudes of violence across my chapters, I often delve into the topic in contemplation, seeking the roots along with potential mitigation tactics. It feels too simplistic and naive to attribute it to polarity (good vs. evil) or offload the full responsibility onto non-physical forces (though I do subscribe to notions that these impact and even incite violence upon and within our physical plane, whether via nefarious and malevolent gods, demigods, “demons”, dis-incarnate spirits or “aliens”.).
Why, indeed, are we so brutal to ourselves and others? What specifically generates a culture and collective of violence, so integrated and seemingly inseparable from humans and the human experience? It is reasonable to presume we each know the sensations of love, affection, respect, community and communion. It is also reasonable to presume we’d each and all prefer to focus on upon and experience the positive facets of life as opposed to those which threaten, demean and cause us (and those we care most about) suffering and grief. Why haven’t we evolved to the stage where we collectively embrace and celebrate these positive potentials to the point that they displace most or all of the violence within our gestalts?
The Roots of Violence
While some profess that we’ve become a kinder, gentler species and that we’re making appreciable improvements, utilizing examples of reduction in global slavery and various reduced crime statistics, this is all obfuscating patina, shadowing the genuine levels of violence present across the planet. As I observe the incidents evolve across the planet and locally, it feels like we are approaching tipping points and that it may be a very hot and dangerous summer as tolerance fades and unrest escalates. We actually all know how that will generally unfold, though we collectively remain in denial about how much of a tinderbox we face, should violence escalate further.
Some perspectives, which while many may not accept or agree with, appear rather self-evident when propaganda, justification and related spin are shed:
> We are “spiritual” conscious beings immersed on a physical plane together, each filtering a local segment of “collective mind”, the collective consciousness, into our local miniverses of an individual self.
> We are strongly driven to feel acceptance, validation and inclusion into the “herd” of other humans we encounter. This naturally exposes us each to a variety of manipulations by others that may elect to coerce, utilizing force and violence to obtain desired compliance, reduce resistance, attenuate individuality and dampen critical discernment.
> Governments, and their step-siblings, Corporations, are the predominant institutions utilized to establish, enact and retain the environment of violence within which we’re living. When we dissect wars, oppression, propaganda, pedophilia, sexual abuse, environmental contamination, reduced health, reduced education, reduced opportunity and wealth transfers (via markets and taxation), the finger may always be accurately pointed at Governments and Corporations as the root organizations promoting and driving these paradigm phenomena. While I’d anticipate many would immediately discount one or more of these elements as being the responsibility of Governments, Corporations or both, careful contemplation, from an emotionally detached and untainted intellectual frame of reference may validate these assertions (which some would term allegations), when we excavate to the core.
> While it may feel impersonal or simplistic to hang the responsibility on institutions, reflection reveals that institutions are in fact the predominant vehicle by which humans have organized the leverage and “authority” to shape, manage and retain all dominant paradigms we live with and within. Recently I’ve expressed that we’ve reached the stage whereby Governments now are effectively mere population and consumer “management” collectives for the Corporations. Since Corporations have generally one driving mandate, to maximize profit (including to offload secondary/soft costs), we’re at a point in history where we may anticipate further escalation of violence upon our environment, health, hearts and minds if solutions aren’t identified, embraced and enacted collectively. When profit becomes king, we sacrifice our species and our world at the throne of narcissistic, sociopathic and psychopathic behaviors.
A Future Beyond Violence?
Are we beyond redemption and hope? No; only when we fully surrender and admit defeat and relinquish our ability to respond have we lost. Doom and DoomPorn themselves are tools and tactics leveraged to generate helplessness and dis-empower. Are the problems too monumental to fix? No; however, it will be necessary for a critical mass of humans to recognize the criticality and discern the raw truths regarding our collective predicament, prevent themselves from being immersed into the stages of grief indefinitely, and then embrace and become less violent, first within themselves, next with respect to how they treat those they encounter, and then finally, to stand up, expressing a stance of intolerance to further propagation of violence, in all its forms, in their name or through the use of their blood, sweat and tears.
I don’t feel any of this is utopian or magical thinking. The challenges are incredible, while the prize is an opportunity for sovereign life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The stakes are high, the deck may appear stacked against accomplishing noble goals, yet within the darkest circumstances, sparks may ignite wicks and the flame may erupt into a blaze.
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