to get the political ball rolling

Discussion in 'U.K.' started by miabubble, May 9, 2004.

  1. miabubble

    miabubble Member


    Violence... fighting... moral or immoral? can there be reason, can there be justification?

    a great man once wrote:


    I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.
    -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers






    discuss...
     
  2. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    As much as I love Tolkien's writing, and as inspired as I may be by the sense of honour and glory encapsulated by that mythical fantastic cavalry charge, I strongly disagree with his sentament. He himself was a devout Catholic, a conservative, and a strong believer in traditional English values. As such, I have no love for what he wishes to defend. Even concepts so seemingly noble as 'freedom' or 'democracy' can be so readily twisted by the newspeak/doublethink of the corrupt politicians ruling our nations. In themselves these concepts seem worthy causes to defend, but the irony comes when we see images of Guantanamo Bay, the sign on the razor wire fence saying "Honour Bound To Defend Freedom". And what of democracy? Have we really defended the principle of democracy in Iraq? Or Afghanistan? Or The US? Or the UK? Were these concepts true and innocent and not steeped in corruption and perversion then perhaps they would be worth fighting for. But hypocrisy is not!
     
  3. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    Eek, Mia, I find it hard to read that bright blue writing:eek:
     
  4. kier

    kier I R Baboon

    :p

    A difficult one. Of course, if there is peace you can act peacefully, but (nearly) everyone has a point where they would strike back in anger....ask yourself, if a friend was in need, would you do everything in your power to help them, even if that meant hurting someone who was hurting them?

    it's that old thing of good and evil....though nothing is ever that clear cut, the ying yang shows us that. if you could fight pure evil, then possibly...but there is no such thing. I personaly would only justify using force if it meant i was protecting myself or someone in need...and when i say need, if they couldn't escape

    i wouldn't like it though, this is one of those really had subjects where you don't really know untill you face it
     
  5. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    I suppose everyone does have their breaking point where anger and tolderance collide with rather unpleasant results. It takes a lot of discipline to overcome human nature, fight or flight, protection and the like. I do not see succumbing to these instincts as a weakness, but tolerance is a strength, and we must all strive for that....
     
  6. kier

    kier I R Baboon

    I think the word is Instinct.

    Personaly i wouldn't want to overcome the instinct to protect my friends, i'm not talking about jumping the first person to insult them, but i hate people getting hurt, especialy those close to me. Even you will have breaking points sal

    take nature. Some of the most dangerous creatures are actualy mothers with babies...that instinct is in human nature, to protect those close to you. Survival, evolution depends on it.
     
  7. showmet

    showmet olen tomppeli

    Of course protecting your own is instinctive. Hatred of outsiders is instinctive. Retaliation is instinctive. But we are uniquely capable of conscious thought so we can challenge and change the way we instinctively behave. Instinct is not necessarily good. Many of our instinctive responses do nothing but perpetuate a cycle of violence. The challenge is transcending the cycle, looking at our behaviour from outside of ourselves. If someone punches me, does it really serve any purpose for me to punch him back? Would it really teach him a lesson, or would it rather encourage and reinforce further violence on his part? By turning away, with empathy and understanding, you make a much more powerful point than you ever would by retaliating.

    Only in extreme cases (like immediate and ongoing physical threat, or threat to an innocent person) would I be prepared to use force. And I hope I would be able to only use the minimum restraining force necessary.

    Be better than your foe.
     
  8. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    Oh I definitely agree, I wasn't criticising your position at all. I've found my breaking points too, and I'm not proud of them. In fact I'm scared of them. Racism is one. I have to really bite my tongue not to lash out at racists. The same is true in the case of protection. It is instinct, though that does not justify it for me. I think all of us have a higher sensibility and a greater consciousness, that we do not need to succumb to instinct. This does not necessarily work on an individualistic basis. Pacifism is all well and good, but where does it get you if your friend's about to be knifed? It is something that has to be worked on and promoted amongst all mankind. Matching our activism with an evolution towards greater purposes. These are the things we should work for, whilst trying to promote them in our own lifestyles to the best of our abilities....
     
  9. Paul

    Paul Cheap and Cheerful

    I think that although pacifism is a great ideal to aim towards, we do live in a society that means we sometimes have to compromise those ideals.

    If you see someone getting mugged it is not practical to say "Hey man, that's really bad, please don't do it" We do not live in the ideal world we all want.

    I personally avoid physical confrontation as much as I can, however I am still human and have to own my anger. It is misdirected anger that is the dangerous thing.

    Soldiers claim to be pacifists, Margaret Thatcher claimed to be a pacifist, Many other people claim to be pacifists, they all use that 'peace through strength' argument, but you can't put a fire out by using more fire.
     
  10. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    Reminds me of that 2DTV sketch of Ariel Sharon's chip pan fire. He can't put it out so he throws matches over it, that doesn't work so he pours petrol over it, but he just can't work out why the fire keeps on getting bigger. In the end he burns his whole house down....
     
  11. miabubble

    miabubble Member

    but surely, some things are worth fighting for....
     
  12. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    But when you fight and kill for a cause, no matter how noble that cause may be, does it not itself become tainted? I've often thought about buying an island, inviting all the hippy/ counter-culture peace loving alternative types to it to build a new utopian society and then declaring independence for the island. But once you have done that you'd have to defend your independence. You'd have to fight for it. You'd have to kill for it, and you'd have to assert it. And then you may have your independence from society in name, but in essence there will be nothing to distinguish you. There are very few things, I feel, that are worth taking the extreme action of fighting for, because more often than not, in doing so, you merely destroy what you seek to defend....
     
  13. miabubble

    miabubble Member

    but surely... if you look at it from a Utilitarian point of view... greatest good for the greatest number... by causing one person to suffer, you could easily make many people happy. If you got George Bush sacked for example, he wouldn't be happy, he wouldn't have a job, his family would stop recieving (a rediculously large) income. But at the same time millions people would rejoyce at the day... hope for a brighter future would be created...

    surely this can be applied in other cases. If you had to choose between saving someone's life or creating a cure for AIDS and HIV which do you choose?

    No matter what happens, there will be sufffering as a consequence to our actions. Shouldn't we thus pick the cases where we think that the least ammount of suffering will apply, and yes we will get it worng, but we are after all human, and apply these scenarios to everyday life? there are alwasy goign to be good and bad consequences to our actions no matter what we do, so why not use that as an advantage?
     
  14. Peace-Phoenix

    Peace-Phoenix Senior Member

    I'm talking purely in terms of violent conflict here. Obviously I wouldn't give a monkeys for George Bush's personal happiness, and it would fill me with joy to see him thrown from office for the good of the world. Also I'm not sure what the connection between saving one person's life and finding a cure for AIDS is? The two aren't mutually exclusive. Yes all of our actions do have consequences, but I see no need, in most circumstances, to take violent action. In terms of promoting the causes that we hold dearest to us, such as saving the environment, promoting peace, bringing down capitalism; violence seems to be only counter-productive. Rather passive resistance seems to have far greater rewards....
     
  15. showmet

    showmet olen tomppeli

    I've always had a problem with utilitarian justifications for the use of force. It sounds far too much like "the end justifies the means". What we should be doing is trying harder to find peaceful and non-violent solutions to difficult problems rather than simply accepting that since we will be faced with tough decisions, we may as well take the easiest choice - regression to violence.

    Was there a better way of dismantling Saddam's despotic regime in Iraq? One that would not have resulted in the slaughter of 10,000 innocent civilians, the killing of possibly 100,000 young men of the Iraqi army, not to mention the tens of thousands who will die of cancer over the next decade as a result of the depleted uranium the coalition used?

    Possibly - we'll never get the chance to know. But if a better way existed, it would have been the harder choice. It would have required far more work, co-operation, determination and expense. But rather than applying ourselves to finding a solution which would not have caused so much carnage and perpetuated the cycle of violence in the middle-east, our politicians decided to use the old way, the easy way, on the basis that the end justified the means. We've wiped out a generation in Iraq for the second time in thirteen years, but at least Saddam has gone. This is what our government's utilitarian standpoint has given us - something of a Pyrrhic victory, to say the very least.

    There's always the assumption that pacifism means weakness. I'd say it is quite the opposite, pacifism requires much more strength than violence does. Imagine what strength of mind, what courage and determination it requires to turn the other cheek when someone hits you. Few of us are brave enough to do that. Most of us would hit back, because that's what our amygdala, our lizard brain, tells us to do. To overcome your instinct, to engage your mind in lateral and empathetic thought, and to try to find the best way to solve situations as difficult as Iraq or Palestine without letting our lizard brains dictate to us, is the hardest thing. That's why there's so much war - violence is so very easy.

    Violence is cowardice. Violence is always ignorance - it's the failure of lateral thinking, it's a regression to the simple barbarism which marks the lives of the lower animals. Violence is the end of all our civilised ideals. Pacifism is always the harder choice. Pacifism is true bravery and courage.
     
  16. DoktorAtomik

    DoktorAtomik Closed For Business

    Awwww guys, I love it when you get all new-agey and pacifistic! It brings out the scouser in me and makes me wanna kick shit out of you all for being fluffy wankers ;)

    But seriously. Is violence ever justified? I don't think the question's reasonable to begin with. I think a better question would be is violence avoidable?

    Obviously our ideal world would be free from violence, but the world's currently a complicated place, with no clear black and white or right and wrong. Just a lot of ugly grey areas.

    I don't have a problem with my personal attitude to violence. I'm aggressive when the situation demands it, but I can put my hand on my heart and say I always prefer the peaceful path. I'd much rather be getting along with people than thumping them.

    Of course, the debate about violence and its use by governments is a subject all of its own!

    To quote a wise old hippy: Love and peace, man. But don't fucking push it!
     
  17. stardust

    stardust Banned

    i think there comes a time where you have to make a choice who to hurt or let be hurt.

    for example - i work with children with very severe physical and learning disabilities. they are completely dependant on us for everything. if someone were to hurt one of these kids, (and unfortunatly it does happen) i wouldnt think twice about battering them if it meant it would stop one of the kids from suffering. i wouldnt want to, but i would be faced with two choices - watch an innocent child suffering who cannot defend themself atall, or cause pain to a not so inocent adult who is quite capable of defending himself.

    i am against violence up to a point, but unfortunatly this world is full of people to whom violence is an everyday occurence. they dont think anything more of hitting a person than they do of brushing their teeth. the violence from their world occasionally spills into the world of the more peaceful people, and we can do nothing and get hurt, or take action and avoid it.

    doesn't sound very hippieish i know. believe me, i would love to live in a world where violence was unnesscesary, but there are some situations that cannot be talked out of and violence is a last resort.

    it seems kind of stupid to sign off here with peace and love after what i've just written, but believe me, i think the peaceful ideals are beautiful. just not realistic.

    peace and love
    stardust
    xxx
     
  18. DoktorAtomik

    DoktorAtomik Closed For Business

    And it's also important to note that it's possible to accept the reality of the world while still striving for the ideal. I believe I live in a world where violence is sometimes the only option, but it doesn't stop me striving for a world where violence is just a memory.
     
  19. stardust

    stardust Banned

    i think a world where violence is just a memory is a beautiful vision, and definately worth striving for. i just dont hold out any hope of it ever being achieved, unless most of mankind was wiped out and only the pacifists survived.

    peace and love
    stardust
    xxx
     
  20. miabubble

    miabubble Member

    can be arranged :D :rolleyes:

    hehehe... my point was.. I didn't make a point at the beginning, I just gave a quote.... and thats where the debate carried itself. i think there are a lot of different ways of interperating it though, if someone wants to give it another go.
     

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