I have been reading some posts, which don’t exactly celebrate the gunpowder plot that led to Guy Fawkes being captured on 5th November 1605. In them, Mr Fawkes isn’t deemed the ‘hero’ that some might believe him to be.
Yet, when I learnt about him in History, at school, I remember being in awe. I was about 12 at the time though!
Anyway, this post isn’t strictly about Guy Fawkes or a specific moment in History, but it is about how people perceive violent acts. What is it that still makes anarchist or revolutionary tactics appear to be ‘heroic’?
I want to play Devil’s advocate, if you will allow me too?
How often has peace changed something profoundly in the world?
Looking back, just over the UK’s history (above example included), it has been violence that has made an impact not peace.
Violent acts have stood out above and beyond. Violence is how change has been achieved over the centuries; whether good or bad. I suppose some might consider it as making the ultimate statement to those who think they have the control; in other words, no they don’t.
Could it be sheer desperation and frustration that leads people to violence in the name of a political or religious cause? Or, is it merely blind faith and indoctrination that leads people to believe strange things, and commit acts of violence that others see as abhorrent?
Does resorting to violence ever help anyone achieve an intended goal? Can it solve anything? If it doesn’t, then why are we still so fascinated with violence, and the history that is littered with such acts?
Hopefully, the world will recognise freedom through peaceful means one day, but at this moment in time, I’m not sure they want to.
Just a thought!
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If we are serious about a peaceful world, then how can you justify violence, even as a means to an end?
In my post I did say I wanted to play Devil’s advocate! I wanted to explore the whole topic of violence, and not just say whether I was in favour of it or not. Violence is complex and interwoven into our societies; condemn it yes, but it cannot be just eradicated at the click of our fingers. At the end of my post I have actually stated I hoped the world would see freedom through peace. At the moment though, I think people are too consumed by it for that to happen. They are not ready for that change. Violence has been common place, although not agreed with, for centuries; indeed it still is for some people. In time things can change, if people want it to. I personally don’t agree with violence at all, but I’m not everyone Paul.
I am not trying to attack your Devil’s advocate position!! So please don’t take it as such…sorry if that is how it seemed. Of course, I am not expert on violence nor do I claim to be. Furthermore, I have not been around hardly any violence (fortunately) so I suppose that makes me some sort of “outsider” on the subject. With all of that being said, I still think peace is the natural state of human beings. This point has been argued for centuries, as you point out. But I still stand by it.
And I wish you were everybody!! Then we would be living in peace! Haha.
PHEW!!!!!! I wondered initially; I hoped you had realised it. I am so happy 🙂
I have worked with people who have aggression issues; so I have some insight into the complexities surrounding such issues. I actually will own up to having my own too, in certain circumstances; albeit I don’t commit violent acts nor have I taken to brawling in the streets! One of favourite forms of exercise is boxing, so there is an element of aggression – yet, this for me works to prevent me becoming irate and stressed (which leads to my anger – usually over horrible people, injustices, bullying and politics funnily enough)! I find it a therapeutic release.
I think your views on violence would be just as valid, it is what you think and therefore just as valuable as any other view.
Awwww, thanks, very sweet you you to say so! I would like to think so.
Well, having aggression is not the same of being violent – most everyone feels or gets aggressive at certain times. I am always developing my views but I do not foresee myself calling for strong acts of violence anytime soon, at least anything beyond self defense, which I know can be questionable at times too.
Yes, that is true, very true! So full scale French revolution is out of the question then? Only joking! I agree, there should be no need to stoop so low. ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ as they say.
Peace to you also Paul!!!!
Yes!!!! And thank you!
Thank you for this thoughtful post. In the long term perspective it is clear that violence is declining not increasing. However, in the short term it is easy to get compassion fatigue from media coverage and to let our emotions outrun our ability to think statistically. I just finished reading a great book on the subject of why violence is declining. It is Steven Pinker’s ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined’.
Thank you Malcolm for your thoughtful comment, which I appreciate very much.
It is indeed true that we are overwhelmed on a daily basis with such reports highlighting the violence blighting every nation; to the detriment of any ‘feel good’ news, which is often side swept.
I keep my belief that there is good out there in the world, as there has been progress, especially when you consider centuries gone by!
I thank you for the book recommendation, and shall look into it, sounds like a very interesting read.