Violence Inherent in the System
We are a people of violence. We were born from violence and we shall return to the Earth violently. All the many moments provided during our daily sojourn into reality are permeated with violence and violent tendencies.
Upon the commute to work, a car cuts you off, and for a moment a heat rises in you. Though you may quell this burning desire with a turning of cheeks, you can not, and must not, ignore the fact that it was there.
During the brief, but gloriously silent walk to your place of employment, a person of unparalleled kindness offers you a warm hello and, while you are in the process of reciprocating said kindness, this joy-for-profit tyrant pulls out a brochure for the next great pyramid scheme; you want to release ages of repressed rage upon them, but you only kindly decline and move on.
"Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be altered through understanding." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Once you have reached your place of work, your mask of fulfilled happiness firmly in place, so begins an 8 hour tug-of-war between your desire to scream about the injustice that is the modern workplace and the archaic need to work hard for a paycheck. Violence courses through you during these hours, the structured chaos that is an office playing out a modern day Lord of the Flies as you struggle to identify yourself amongst the teeming masses doing the same.
When the work day is done and you have arrived home, the violence emerges and you handle it in any way you can, be that repression or sweet release. You handle it, but you never truly acknowledge it, never truly choose to engage its critical part in your life.
We are a people of violence, but we fear it so. We fear the power it may hold over us. We fear the mirror it provides, the reflection of our base selves. We are afraid, and in our fearing we point the finger at what is most accessible and faceless...the media and the shadowy government that controls them.
A Professional Opinion
In an article published by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Eugene V. Beresin M.D. points his finger at modern media and calls for clinical intervention as a solution to our violence problem.
"While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse, and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children's exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior."
"Physicians should make parents and schools 'media literate,' meaning they should understand the risks of exposure to violence and teach children how to interpret what they see on television and in the movies, including the intent and content of commercials. In doing so, children may be increasingly able to discern which media messages are suitable."
While I'm sure that Dr. Beresin believes this, or was at least paid a handsome fee to do so, he is so far from any concept of realistic truth that I'm fairly positive he has a prescription pad just for himself. It is an unfortunate truth that he comes from a terribly long line of misguided practitioners of mental health and purveyors of prophetic wisdom. Alas, that is the unfortunate truth of unfortunate truths...they are unfortunately true.
Let's say that his proposal is taken up by those like-minded fools who would proclaim themselves protectors of our mental heath, and doctors begin dictating to our education system and parents what is acceptable and what is not. Are we really going to allow these men and women who repress rage daily with fake smiles and practiced bed-side manner to tell us what is violent and what is not? These men and women who so gallantly parade around our heads daily, consciously ignoring that violence is inherent to our very survival? The men and women who prescribe addictive downers to pacify our very nature?
No, that won't work either.
We can yell and scream at all the "reasons" we are violent until we are blue in the face, it will change nothing. The media portrays violence in the manner it does because it is a direct reflection of who we are as a people. Developers don't choose to saturate all their stories with violence because that is what they want to do, but because it is what we have shown them we want them to do, because it is in our nature.
"Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built." - Abraham Lincoln
As a matter of fact, we love violence in our media because it is far away from us. We live vicariously through it as our darkest desires play out across the screen, those desires we bury deep within but can never truly be rid of. We pine for more violence, we yearn for it and the media answers in kind, profiting off our gluttonous appetites. The media is a symptom, not the cause.
Dr. Eugene V. Beresin M.D. and his ilk are also just symptoms of a violent people. In fact, they are an even truer gauge of our psychosis because they actually sell repression to us. We repress our very being daily and they sell us the tools we need in order that we may not have to exert as much effort in our longing to be dead inside.
Acceptance and Acknowledgement
Mahatma Gandhi once wrote:
"It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence."
"I believe that Gandhi's views were the most enlightened of all the political men in our time. We should strive to do things in his spirit: not use violence in fighting for our cause, but by non-participation in anything you believe is evil." - Albert Einstein
In this case, Gandhi was not talking about angry men and little blue pills, but more a lack of self-restraint. Over the years, a picture of Gandhi has been painted that skews slightly to the side what he stood for. He is used as a portrait of non-violence, cheek turning, and christian virtue, and while these may be pieces of the truth, what he really spoke to was acceptance of the ENTIRE self.
We are a people of violence. This does not mean that we run every person who cuts us off into a ditch, but it does mean that we should accept that the urge exists. Know that there is violence inside all of us. Know that violence is what allowed our species to prevail against all odds. Know that violence ensured the ability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness. Know that violence will be needed again. Do not repress it, but come to understand it.