Friday, April 21, 2006

Fear is a waste of life energy

The man who strikes first admits that his ideas have given out.
- Chinese proverb

I like proverbs because they truly represent the collected wisdom of the ages.

In this case, the reference is to physical violence (as opposed to psychological abuse, which I consider also to be violence).

Violence has been built into us since before we became a distinct species called homo sapiens. It helped our ancestors to defend themselves against violent attacks by predators and enemies and to capture their own prey for food. This kind of violence is common to all living things, even plants, in one form or another.

However, humans have taken violence to a different level. Though other animals kill for power and personal gain, humans do so to excess. We seem to have no switch we can turn off when we have sufficient for our needs (plus a bit more as a contingency). Some of us constantly fight for bigger kingdoms.

This is the point where we rise above other mammals, where we become civilized, or where we consciously allow ourselves to descend to a lower level than the other animals.

In order for us to become more peaceful, more civilized, we must be our brother's keeper, we must mind more than our own business. We must think of the welfare of our communities, of our countries, of our species as a whole, maybe even above our own welfare.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, according to Vulcan philosophy (Spock's Vulcans of Star Trek fame). Sometimes the needs of our community (whatever size we may choose that to be) are more important than our personal needs.

True, some will take advantage of that, as we see in nations where leaders have turned their ignorant citizens into passive followers who accept fear as a rationale for violence against others. That simply means that we must also take care to prevent our leaders from going to excesses. That, too, is our community responsibility. We must insist on a balance.

What will we do when there seem to be no alternatives, when conflict appears inevitable?

Think again. To admit, as the proverb says, that our ideas have given out is to admit failure. Who has the right to use violence as a course of action when their reason has failed? When does failure to think of alternatives give anyone the right to kill or harm others?

Violence is an easy choice if the objective is to increase power. If the objective is to gain ground by climbing over rubble, then violence is the easiest choice.

If the objective is to build, to create something new and better, then violence is the absolute wrong way to go. Violence is destructive in every way. Nothing can be built with violence.

If we care about this, then we must spread the word to others. Keeping quiet about it and nodding our heads in agreement accomplishes nothing. When we learn, we have the obligation to teach others. If we do not teach others, then we have wasted what we have learned.

That's what TIA is about. The world will become peaceful when we all learn how to build together.

We build nothing so long as we all fear each other. Fear is a waste of life energy.

Bill Allin
'Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems,' striving to bring peace to the world by using the human grapevine.
Learn more at

No comments: