The pleasure of violence
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The pleasure of violence

Do you take pleasure in violence?

Few would probably say yes to that, but the fact is that the majority of us do. The other day I read a piercing statement that shone a stark light on this reality. Because let’s think about what violence really is. Violence is not merely killing one another, the wars, aggression and the fighting we see in the world, and in others. Violence is much subtler, much deeper, and it lives in each of us.

It was the Philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, who pointed out; violence is also when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, to dislike other people, hating a particular race or group of people, having antagonistic feeling towards others. When you separate yourself by belief it breeds violence (in ‘Freedom from the Known’, chapter VI).

It is just that we have come to see this side of human behavior as justified, perhaps even a normal and necessary way of being in the world.

I can say for my own part, when seeing violence for what it really is, I have breathed violence the most part of my life in one way or the other. Some years ago, I started practicing peace. It has taken me years to discover the depth of how integrated violence has been to my way of being and seeing the world, and to discover that it is possible to live a peaceful existence. But it was not until I read the statement by Krishnamurti that both the simplicity and the depth of it came into such clear light. Up until then, I had not really seen the obstacles to inner and outer peace in its totality for what it really is – violence, but treated my obstacles as fragmentations of fear and conditioning that I labelled one thing or the other. But when we look at the inner map of conflict, we carry within and spew into the world, it all really comes down to violence. It highlights the actual condition of the state of humanity. It only takes a quick scroll on Facebook to see how much violence exist in humanity, and how it is daily amplified through our shared digital reality.

So, I wonder, if we say we want peace, how sincere are we really in our wish and how dedicated are we to do our part? There cannot be degrees of violence. Either you are violence or you are peace. You cannot be both at the same time. Think about it. Every time you judge or argue with anything, there is an absence of peace. And if there is no peace, there is in essence violence. Justified violence (i.e. anger) is only according to our own inclinations and environmental drive, and is an illusion on the face of  peace.

Are we more committed to our violence or to our peace? If you do not take pleasure in violence, why do you engage in it?
I can say that I am committed to peace, but as long as violence influence my thoughts and actions, I am not peace. And my contribution to this world is not peace. It is a choice each of us have to make. But if we do not make this choice, it lifts the veil from the true nature of reality to admit that we are then in fact violence. Which might not be a pleasant truth to realize. And probably the reason why we rather shelter ourselves from this simple truth with intellectual reasoning, blaming and ideas of justification.

But it can be done. In fact, Krishnamurti says that it is not even something that takes time to learn. We just need to commit ourselves to it, and do it. There is no ‘I’ll try’. From this perspective, I can’t yet truthfully say that I’m peaceful person. Violence still breathes in me from time to time. However, I have come to know peace in a way that I never knew existed, and the freedom it brings. But his perspective has brought new clarity and simplicity into my inner practice of peace, which I’m curious to put to the test.

I know from my own journey that the brain’s inability to let go of the pleasure it derives from violence is not easy. It requires us to observe and notice our triggers, and a fierce commitment, discipline and ability to be with what is, when triggered. When we take responsibility for the violence that exists in us, we are left with looking it straight into the eyes, and see and feel all of what it brings up in us. Violence is an energy born out of fear. Can we ultimately look our fear deep in the eye? Can we sit in its totality without judgment, projections, need to escape or be taken by it? Can we make peace with it? Can we have a peaceful mind – because that is what we need for peace to be a reality.

To exist in peace does not mean we cannot debate, share perspective, thoughts, and experiences, and have disagreements. All of this can in fact flourish and grow in wonderful ways when we come from a true place of love and peace instead of violence and judgment. Imagine what we can do, if each of us walk a sincere path of peace and take responsibility for expressing our true nature. We all have something beautiful to contribute with, but we will never know it if we spend our time and energy on the violence that breathes within.