Nonviolence

Before I begin to talk about the problems this world faces and how to solve them, I must first state the most important principle. That principle is nonviolence. There are many reasons that nonviolence is the answer. I’m not sure if I know them all or can do any justice to those reasons by attempting to explain the few I do know. Nevertheless, I will try.

I want to change the world, or rather I want to convince the world that we need to get on the same page and change together. In order to get everyone on the same page I must directly acknowledge the many serious problems we have here on Earth: violence, murder, terrorism, indifference to suffering, as well as racism, just to name a few. Such a line of thought of believing the entire world can become more egalitarian is no doubt very radical, and at first I may be all alone in my push for the just world I envision.

These radical thoughts and, hopefully not so outlandish, desires are no doubt a liability to my existence. Those with power often don’t like change, and many people don’t like revolutionary change because it is fraught with unknowns. If this work gains any sort of following, detractors will appear, people will criticize and slander the movement. The only way to diminish those attacks’ effectiveness is by basing it all on a platform of nonviolence.

Lasting and peaceful revolutionary change can only come into being through peaceful means. In general, few will listen to an angry person and fewer will hear the words of someone who is attacking them. Not only that, but many of the problems that need to be fixed in this world stem from violent tendencies, and in order to eradicate such painful actions, everyone in the world must choose to personally avoid them.

I know this is easier said than done, but it’s the only option. Violence can’t be destroyed by violence, it can only be gotten rid of through love. And I know that sounds corny, but all of the most basic and truthful human maxims do. So if anyone claims to be a part of this drive, this effort, while performing acts of violence, know that they are liars in some form or another. I hope to build a community that is open to all who wish to join, but in doing so they must first accept that violence has no place with us.

I must espouse my principle of nonviolence first because by discussing so many of the dangerous problems in this world in a public setting that can be forever documented by others I will inadvertently attract attention from the very people who are charged with solving such problems. By talking about terrorism, especially as an lone individual, I have to make clear that I am not violent and that I have no plans of inciting terror through violence (or any other means).

The words contained in these documents will no doubt trigger alarms at various intelligence agencies like the NSA, CIA, FBI, and MI6. Even simply writing as much might be enough to do so. I imagine that as my work progresses it will be known by counterterrorist intelligence officers before it becomes known by the public. In that regard I see my anonymity as a hindrance, as a possible source of weakness. Because as an unknown, I’m all the more easy to make disappear.

I know that by acknowledging I am espousing nonviolence as a defense against those who might think I am violent I may lose any credibility I have garnered to this point about my true desires for promoting nonviolence. However, I also know that I need to be as honest as possible about all my intentions so that there is no room for speculation about ulterior motives. In fact, the same motives that have convinced me that the entire movement must be nonviolent stem from the very basic instincts that drive me to first explain that anything which follows this section is predicated on principles of peacefulness.

The task for each person to avoid physical hostility is no doubt to be one of the most difficult jobs to accomplish. I personally understand why. I find it hard myself to avoid violent tendencies. I grew up solving some of my problems through fist fights, my parents sometimes spanked me as a form of punishment, I played American football and wrestled growing up, and violence ubiquitously surrounds us in real life and in the media. Not only that but it is ever present in the animal kingdom, we even survive by eating things that we kill.

Fighting is an ancient drive that was useful before we became more intelligent and grew closer together. Now, though, we have entirely too many people on this world to afford another World War. Our population density is too high to allow us the opportunity to not join together as one people to solve the problems we face. We have to accept that those bloodthirsty thoughts will sometimes resurface in our consciousness, and every time they do we must remind ourselves why we don’t entertain them as potential courses of productive action.

I’m not sure if we should try to rid the world of stories of violence, actually I don’t think we should. Our past is what makes our present, and we can’t convince ourselves that violence isn’t the answer if we throw away every example of its failure. We must understand we are inherently violent, but that we also have the ability to choose not to be.

To do all this, we must keep talking about it. We must try to convince every person we meet through our example that it is an ideal worth living for. I don’t know how many people will read this, but whoever does, please try to help me spread this message. I know I may not have the best delivery, but hopefully someone else can and will.

That all being said, there are necessarily caveats. If one has the choice to harm one person in order to save many more, it should often be the case that the aforementioned individual be harmed. This all depends on personal judgement — how much cost there is compared to the reward? I see no way to have a universal law applicable to all scenarios, so inevitably individuals will alone be faced with the difficult task of choosing whether or not to harm in order to save. (That should always be the very last resort though.)

That brings me to the question of punishments. Everything I have stated unto this point should lead you, correctly, to assume that all punishments should not be violent. We should abolish the death penalty, for it makes no sense to harm or kill people to demonstrate that killing or harming others is wrong. We are not perfect as individuals, but by mutual consent we can create a society that compensates for our own faults.

In order to truly believe that we can create a peaceful world we have to have complete faith that every individual is redeemable. Perhaps I wish to believe this in order to accept myself for actions I regret making in my past, or those I know I will make in my future. We need to forgive people for choosing the immoral or violent option. We must see ourselves when we look at others and remember when we once would have made a similar decision.

I know many people will not accept that a murderer or terrorist can be redeemed or should even be allowed to, but we are no better than them if we condemn them to death, either spiritually through ostracism or literally. Moreover, those who redeem themselves by choosing a path of nonviolence are incredibly useful people because they have the first hand experience of shifting from one extreme to the other and can therefore aid others in their journeys.

We have to show everyone, through example, that the path to a better world relies on peaceful methods. To do this we must as a society fully commit to treating even the worst of our constituents with peace and love. We will face many difficulties in the times to come due to the way our lifestyle has altered the globe and stressed our resources and we will need every individual to help us overcome these hurdles.

Ultimately, I don’t know if humans are fundamentally good or evil, but I do know that we are inherently reasonable and that goodness is also reasonable.

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