I have a question for you all. I was reading this article about our terribly violent cultural surroundings, which includes both the Bible and American movies.
Whether history or mythology or some fusion of the two, the Bible stories, when tallied, include an estimated 25 million violent deaths. And yet, like any people, the internal narrative of God’s Chosen Ones is one of yearning for peace and prosperity, the dream of an idyllic past in which the lion lay down with the lamb; an idyllic future in which men will beat their swords into plowshares and the lamb and lion will lie down together again.
The Bible is a collection of stories about nasty genocidal people, with a message of peace that they pay lip service to while slaughtering their foes. American movies are all about brave heroes killing people to protect the good and kind.
So, the question: have you ever in your entire life settled a personal problem with violence? Have you resolved any conflicts by taking out your opposition, just destroying them to remove the obstacle to your life or happiness?
If you did use violence to fix a personal problem, did it work?
Just curious. I can think of only one time that I tried it; I hauled off and punched a grade-school bully in the face. It didn’t change anything, but it did make it worse, because a teacher (one who was a bullying jerk himself) decided to discipline me with a little corporal punishment — an hour of deep knee bends that left me barely able to walk afterwards.
Ever since, though, I’ve experienced nothing where I was tempted to resort to violent action, and nothing where I could believe that violence would help. There’s no situation that can’t be made worse by adding a gun, no opponent who will respond to a normal civic conflict by being cowed by the guy with a baseball bat.
Second question: so why is our media so saturated with bloody-minded simple solutions to problems? Arnold Schwarzenegger blowing up buildings with two-fisted cannons, Liam Neeson smashing heads and knifing evil-doers, superheroes solving every difficulty by applying force…it’s ludicrous that anyone imagines that these are effective answers to anything.