“Violence never solved anything. “
All those wars have been fought because nothing else could solve the problem.
Anybody vomiting those words at you is a self-delusional idiot who doesn’t understand what civilisation is.
Violence is the ultimate problem-solver. The possibility of violence underlies everything in the world. Civilisation, society, politeness, decorum. All of these are human inventions to help us not have to use violence.
We live in a world of scarcity. This is the fundamental reason why violence underpins everything. At its root, life is about competition.
Even time. Especially time. Everything we do comes at the price of never getting that moment, that choice, ever again. Every choice is a competition for what we’re willing to spend our time on.
Heck, limited time even helps gives meaning to our lives. If we lived forever we could retake every decision over and over again. Having limited time means each decision is of consequence.
Like a kid having to choose between two different chocolates because he only has enough money for one of them. It’s a pity we don’t take all our decisions as seriously. Because, as Thoreau says:
“The price of anything is how much life you exchange for it.”
The thin veneer
Modren life , at least in Western civilisations, is so wonderful that we’ve been able to remove ourselves from the daily violence of living. We don’t have to kill and butcher our own food – the supermarket sells it pre-packed and wrapped in plastic.
As amazing as this is, it’s allowed too many people to bullshit themselves into believing that because they’ve never encountered violence, that violence doesn’t happen.
They think “it” will never happen to them. They never think they’ll have to use it themselves. They’ll never have to hurt someone to protect their family. They’ll never have to kill an animal to provide for their family.
Like an eskimo who doesn’t believe in forests and warmth, they’ve never encountered violence, so they dismiss the mere possibility.
The good news
The good news is that this works. All the time! How cool is that. Hooray for Western civilisation.
We never have to encounter violence. Until we do.
We live within the thin veneer of civility. Until we don’t.
And in the words of Martin Van Creveld (paraphrasing):
Violence is the most important thing in the world. When the chips are down, it rules over the existence of every single culture, tribe, family, and individual. That is why, though it may come but once in a lifetime, it must be prepared for every day. When the bodies lie cold and stiff, and the tears are shed, it is too late. Those who should’ve been prepared have failed in their duty.
And just in case anybody dares to challenge fate:
You may not be interested in violence, but violence might be interested in you. – Leon Trotsky (again, paraphrasing)