Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Meandering Thoughts on Disagreements and Violence

It is amazing to me that mankind has ever managed to do anything with cooperative ventures. For example, the Chunnel dig under the English Channel. The Apollo manned missions to the moon. Running a government.

Or having a coven of six operate without somebody’s feelings being hurt.

We get so powerfully invested in our feelings, our beliefs and our positions, that it would take more than dynamite to dislodge us. I am no different from my fellow man that way. I am trying to be loving patient and tolerant of others, but I will be damned if there are not some views that I won’t defend to the death. Some of these views, such as the idea that all people deserve to be treated humanely, are worth such a vigorous defense. Others, in fact many others, are not.

In any case, with any of these ideas, before I go picking up weapons, I should seek to listen to the opposition and try to understand their viewpoint. I should always look for peaceful solutions, compromises, ways to move forward together rather than separately. It is a worthwhile way to spend my time.

In the meantime, I should pray for those whose positions are contrary to mine. I should wish for them all of the things I wish for myself: love, prosperity, serenity, health, challenging career and peace. Maybe if they (or indeed, I) actually had those things, then we need not be in opposition to each other.

However, if the time comes, I may have to defend my position with force of arms. That’s pretty damn extreme though. Before I am allowed to do that, I would need to have exhausted all peaceful means of settling the problem. Violent means are almost never a solution, instead, they are a problem unto themselves, spawning new hatreds and disagreements and feuds wherever they are used.

Really the only ideas worth going to such extremes for are those ideas that impact the equal, humane treatment of everyone . . .

Actually, I had to pause and step away for a few minutes and think about this. See, I think I am giving in to violence too easily here. I think that violence is a disease, a poison to my species. We turn to it to easily to solve our problems.

In fact, I have reached the conclusion that if I have a child, I will be more comfortable with my child watching explicit hardcore sex than one of those vigilante movies where the hero was wronged and is thus justified in seeking a bloody, cruel and violent revenge. I do not believe that viewing explicit, graphic sexual activity is harmful, but I do believe that viewing violence may be harmful. With that said, I don’t think I could let my child watch the pornography of the day because women and men are treated as disposable meat in those films and women are almost always portrayed in a degrading light, as an object present to be used and then disposed of by men. And in fact, in the race to the bottom our society has engaged in, increasingly I find porn to be violent also.

So my kid will be allowed Dr. Suess and that’s it.

Okay, can you say digression?? That’s okay though. I am not doing this to achieve coherent, consistent philiosophic thought.

Violence is almost always the wrong thing to do. Actually, it is always the wrong thing to do, but there are very, very rare cases where violence is less wrong than the other alternatives. If my wife or I were physically attacked, I think I could use violence to defend her or myself. If we were verbally threatened, I am not so comfortable turning to violence—I think negotiation might be better in almost all cases. Prayer would be needed in any case.

Violence can be used to prevent genocide. The destruction of the Third Riech was a good thing. The NATO war in the Balkans was a good thing. Or at least those were the least evil of the choices available. In fact, I think going into Afghanistan to depose the Taliban and disrupt Al Quaeda was a good thing.

On the other hand, I believe the invasion of Iraq was wrong.

I was going to talk about disagreements within my coven today!! Really, that was how this started. There is some juicy stuff in here, although it is not well formed. The moral questions in here are good ones for me to play with and pray over.

Good Morning Goddess Brigit! My name is Andy and I am an alcoholic. I have been kept sober since Imbolc 2001 by Your grace and Your grace alone. I’d like to take this moment to thank You, my Higher Power, for this my daily reprieve. Today is a good day to be SOBER!

Please, Goddess, be with me today, all through the day and help me to stay sober all day long. Show me Your will for me and grant me the power to carry that out. Thy will, not mine be done. Inspire me to act and create in Your name. Be welcome in me and to me, body, heart, mind and soul!

Adjuva Brigittia! Thank You! Blessed Be!