Violence

Trond Overland
Force is a natural phenomenon and human beings have been eager ever since ancient times to benefit from the many forces of nature. In the process we have learnt that the unnatural use of force begets unnatural results.

Various uses of force will be deemed more or less destructive or constructive. A flower presses up from being a seed in the ground to gradually embrace realities above ground – sunlight, wind, the presence of other sentient beings. Most people would be appreciative of the flower’s force. Should a pathological hater of flowers call it “a rotten weed” and trample the flower to the ground many would deem it a destructive action.

The use of force is often perceived as unjust and unwarranted by those at the receiving end. Violence is the term given to the rough and injurious application of force. Violence directed against government authorities and the establishment is routinely labeled by them as “terrorism”.

Another well-known fact about political violence is that while governments legalize their own use of force they simultaneously disallow all citizens the same right. This is of course how we get police officers beating up people as part of their regular duty while the other way around people only land in jail.

The following fact is not much discussed: While a particular use of force may not be acceptable in ordinary circumstances it may be anticipated in special circumstances. For instance, during war killing may be acceptable but not during peace time. Extraordinary circumstances warrant exceptional measures.

We humans react in different ways to being trampled upon; in ways that are natural to each one of us. Over time our individual and collective reactions to oppression, suppression and repression may mature into anti-exploitation attitudes and activities. They may even lead to the realization of a new social set-up. Such processes take place in many people’s lives as they continue to develop and grow, and they happen in societies as well.

Thoughtful people will not be for or against force. They will simply acknowledge it and rally behind its proper development and application. A wise person once said that when a little child begins to show signs of exercising its own will, it is not an occasion for censure but for celebration – bake a cake and invite friends! Still, the actual goal is something more: i.e. the future outcome of a continuous process of a synthesis of clashing forces beyond the present situation.

Many will agree that change through evolution is the norm; evolutionary forces keep shaping our individual and collective lives and we accept them. However, revolutions also happen now and again. They are natural phenomena, too, occurring suddenly like violent earthquakes and exploding volcanoes, leaving the world greatly changed. The application of tremendous force that brings sweeping changes is what is known as revolution.

Force is life. Our individual and collective lives constitute a web of natural forces, some known, some less known, and some completely unknown to us. Who can predict what will happen and when? At the least we may expect evolution to continue and revolutions to come and go. At best we may attempt to take any force in our stride and use it for the common good.

Copyright The author 2011

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