On Violence

We are a culture defined by violence. Violence is the new black. Everybody is drinking the kool-aid. Pop culture is a big contributor to keeping violence fresh on our minds. We are an uber-competitive bunch with an Atlas Shrugged mentality. We need to get ahead no matter what the cost. We are a people who have become so desensitized to violence, that we consume it willingly, and are in fact satiated by it.

We play ultra-realistic video games depicting murder, rape, armed robbery, car-jackings, and senseless random acts of violence. You can mow down a crowded sidewalk packed with civilians, get out of your car, shoot any thing that moves, and watch the blood spill out of their still warm bodies onto the virtual asphalt. These are the games we play to blow off steam.  That’s what alarms me. The attention to detail, all the way down to the way the blood pours out of a victim’s body. That is seriously disturbing, no matter how you look at it.

Video games aren’t the only culprit. Have you seen The Walking Dead or The Following? Both of those shows take it to a sick and twisted level. Americans obsess over their sports as well. The players keep getting bigger, the hits keep getting harder, the concussions are more frequent. We react with anger when “our” team loses. Men and women scream at the top of their lungs as if they were on the field themselves and the players could hear them. The level of passion displayed for the local sports franchise is borderline psychotic at times.

The thing is, this culture, it is what it is because we made it that way, and it stays that way because that is how we choose to keep it. It isn’t going anywhere. I think that most of us realize this and we just subconciously choose to follow the herd and go with the flow. Life is too short to waste time trying to fix the violence in the world perpetrated upon us by the powers that be right?I’m not perfect here. I watch all those shows, I root for my local sports teams and I don’t turn my head when a good boxing match or violent movie happens to be on a screen in front of me.

I just fear that we are getting progressively worse and that eventually it is all going to blow up in our face. It seems as if that is what is happening in our world right now. Mass killings are prominent in the news. Crazy stories about the people who basically lost their minds and took it out on an unsuspecting public seem to be a trend, the news media updates the body count on Twitter.So I look at this picture, and it incites me to write how I feel about America’s violent culture.

As I write this, the droning sound of a mechanical fan or something similar to that is coming through the wall of the apartment adjacent to me. Beneath the overpowering drone, I can discern the sounds of an unknown number of other noises that are not related to nature in any way. The coal is burning, and I am using it to type these words into this computer, to chill my refreshing beverage, and to turn on my electric box to get my fix of violence and misery for the evening. So not only am I damaging my psyche by subjecting it to constant moving images of violence, death, and destruction; I am also contributing my fair share of posion into the atmosphere.

So these children in this image, I don’t know anything about them. It’s just something about that girl in the stroller. That look she has, like her brain is a sponge and she is soaking it all in. I think of myself at that age, and the images of violence that I was subjected to as a child. I look at her and I realize that this is a problem that is so deeply rooted within our society that we just might be beyond the point of no return.

I feel guilty inside because I KNOW that I am a part of the problem. I’m not supposed to notice that though, that isn’t what THEY want. They want me to forget about it and just consume. They beat my conscience out of me by providing a non stop flow of sounds and images for me to contemplate. I guess I am a slow learner, it took me until I was almost 40 years old to realize that I was wasting a lot of time and energy on things like watching football and reality shows.

I’m truly disgusted with myself and completely frustrated at the thought of what it will take to change the world. We can only hope to spread good, and hope that it catches on like a zombie virus. Why can’t the world be infected with love and affection instead of rage? Why do we focus so much on the negative, violent aspects of our human nature? Why do we find it all so entertaining? Is there really any hope for us? If I can’t answer these questions for myself, how am I supposed to explain it to my kid?

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On Violence

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7 thoughts on “On Violence

  1. All good questions and not easily answered. I think changing this state of affairs begins with awareness. If we don’t like what we’re seeing, don’t engage in it. If we can see the negative effects it’s having on our society, start first by changing how we conduct ourselves at home. We want peace in the world? Create peace at home. The conflict begins with “fighting for peace.” How does that make any sense? … Violence is about stimulation. My observation is that our society is over-stimulated. As we become used to one level of stimulation another level is introduced in the name of entertainment to up the ante. For my part (and I am a woman of a certain age) I choose not to engage in anything that gets my blood boiling or adrenalin flowing in this way. It is much more exciting to be grounded in my own journey of self-discovery and to understand what makes me tick. But I had to have an awakening for this to click in. What kind of awakening will our society need to realize how close we are to self-destruction? … If we could only find the peace within ourselves we would have no need for violence. … Great post! Thanks for sharing … Nurture what you love … Dorothy 🙂

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  2. Agree with the other Dorothy. The world, though, is not all like America, but what happens in America does tend to have an impact on the rest of the world. We don’t all watch violent films and play violent computer games, yet the American influence pervades how our politics are shaped, how secretive our political structures become because of the sites here that gather information for your security services. If America could gear down and step back instead of ratcheting things up further, then we would all benefit. You have taken a step in that direction, perhaps others will too.

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  3. You posed a lot of really good questions. Owning that you engage or have to some degree to some of this is the beginning for personal change. And the comment made by another viewer that change begins in the home is correct. It begins with each of us personally. There was a man named Aleister Crowley, he’s referred to by the BBC as the most evil man that ever lived. He was the Head of the church of satan, he is actually behind much of what comes through the television. He referred to the television as a tool to ‘move the masses’. They know what their doing. Our job is to turn it off. Or rather embrace something worthwhile, like educational, or planet earth, discovery channel, etc.
    Great Post!!

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  4. Amen, Jeremy. To be honest, I’m kind of a fuddy-dud and hate violent things, but I do agree that society in general is spurring its own demise. If more people would ask hard questions like you, and look honestly at what they’re doing to contribute to the propagation of violence in our world, this world would be a better place. Will we learn before it’s too late?

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