We live in an age that highlights violence. Not just physical violence, even simple things like perspectives can be violent. “War” is especially one of those violent ideas that is thrown around with no regards for context.
There is a thought that war is bad or violence of any kind is bad. Seems like a simple binary answer right? But only if you look at it superficially.
We need more than ever now to look deeper within ourselves to find the real feeling of the things that we perceive. Lets suppose someone asked you “Is War good?”, your first thought might be “No, never” or “Violence is never the answer to anything”. But without even knowing you have already slipped in a million assumptions about the blurred scenario that is playing in your mind and making you arrive at this conclusion.
What if you were then told “I mean this war we have going on poverty/climate change/discrimination”? Suddenly you find yourself blaming this person for not clarifying this earlier and misleading you to make your stand against this statement. In reality its only you who did not ask the right questions to get more clarity before jumping to an answer.
Anyways now you are going to do a 180 and probably say “In that case it is important to fight these things”. Again so many assumptions about right and wrong and stances to be taken and judgement to be made. The human mind is amazing at bringing out the most mundane aspects of conversation into the spotlight just so you can avoid delving deeper and investing yourself in finding reality.
Among many such thoughts and ideas that have been in my mind over the last few months of crazy world events, there are some things that stood out.
Instead of asking whether War/Violence is good, shouldn’t we focus on why it is happening or why its need is felt? Even here there is a possibility that you can fall into the trap of saying it is for fighting against injustice or oppression. Not to say that these things should be condoned, but these should not be the reason to start fighting. A good reason to do anything should be to reach a goal and not to run away from a situation.
Here it becomes real and very important to know the difference between “We are fighting against…” and “We are fighting for…”. In recent days there has been a mass spawning of “We are fighting against…” slogans. What I fail to see with these kind of battles being fought is what people are expecting as the resolution for the situation.
Lets look at this differently. Let us say we treat the unacceptable situation as a place we would not want to be in. Just for kicks imagine it is a physical place, a city. And lets define “We are fighting against…” as a million people wanting to leave this city and head out. If you imagine that people just start walking out from this place (visualize as “Yay, we are winning this battle”), do you see them all heading in one direction or do you see a mass exodus in a thousand different directions?
Do you see the problem here? No one has defined what is the place to head to after they leave this place. How will you know the new place is better than this? You need to find such a place and band together in a bid to get there. That would be a solution to most problems. Because then you would be heading towards an actual “Solution” and that would be a positive thing to do.
Mother Teresa once said “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”
There is wisdom in those words. You need to know what you are fighting for, with great clarity and vivid detail. Otherwise, your will to fight and hate can be directed to serve the needs of those who see through this fallacy of your own righteousness.
So if you want to fight climate change, ask for what will solve this problem and work towards it. If you want to fight poverty, find things that will bring abundance to the people and stop thinking it is about fighting rich people. If you want to fight discrimination, find the places where you need to establish equality and ask for those rights to be given.
Otherwise you are just a problem monger and not a solution maker. In effect you are just a “fighter”, fighting for the sake of fighting and not really invested in finding a solution.
So instead of defining War or Violence as good or bad, the focus can be shifted to what needs to be achieved, how it benefits everyone, and how effectively to make it happen. Every option is then just a tool (even War), it is your intention that gives it meaning and purpose.