I just got through watching Fightclub again, and thought I’d ruminate about violence for a moment.
I’d say that I’m not a violent person. I don’t like confrontations; they make me sick to my stomach. Sure I get angry… I have ridiculous road rage. (If only the soccer moms and disabled senior citizens driving in front of me five under the speed limit could hear the things I shout at them…) And in a world without legal consequences, I don’t think I’d have any compunction to shooting out the tires of bad/reckless drivers.
But to hurt *them*, myself? To smash my car into theirs, get out of my car, pull them out of theirs, and beat the living tar out of them? I think it’s beyond me.
That doesn’t prevent me from enjoying violence-fantasies. Practically every geek on the planet has wanted to be Neo at some point, shooting lots of guns and throwing punches that shatter concrete. Many of us collect weapons, from our era and times past, as if by possessing them we might gain back a flicker of the warrior spirit that used to dwell in so many of us.
Nowadays if someone periodically hurts or kills others, they’re fed into a system aimed towards driving the rage and violence out of them, to make them another quiet little cog in society. The violent people in our prison systems today are the soldiers who fought our wars centuries ago. Today they’re not needed. We turn from that ‘ugly’ side of our nature…deny it, shun it, lock it away. But you know that spirit dwells in us.
Why else would we watch what we do on television and in movie theaters? Why would we play the games we do, and shoot each other with infared beams or paintballs? We are creatures of violence. Even if we are pasty and fat, the flicker’s still there.
Will we evolve out of this fascination for carnage? Will we stop enjoying holding tools of murder in our hands? (Why *is* a gun so comfortable to hold? Why do we enjoy swinging a sword more than a baseball bat?) Or will it always be with us, and we’ll just keep finding more realistic ways to simulate the killing and destruction that lives in the reptile parts of our brains?
Our laws keep the strong from dominating the weak. The weak survive to reproduce, when nature would have it another way. I don’t believe nature should have its way, (I’d soooo be naturally selected!) but it’s undeniable that it has caused problems. Disease. Old people hooked up to machines to survive for another day of…sitting there hooked up to machines. Couples that couldn’t be bothered to use protection living off government money to support their six kids. (Not a racist statement. I don’t care if you’re a redneck honky or an African American, or whatever. If you can’t support a kid on your income, much less FOUR, learn how to use a condom or start trying anal sex!) I’ve met a man who tried to kill his baby daughter in the hospital, just a few days after she was born. The mother is a beaten, submissive wreck with missing teeth and a marginal IQ. Guess what? That couple had their children returned to them by the government, after a foster family (mine) raised them for two years. (During that time, the mother got pregnant yet again.)
I do believe every life is unique and ought to be preserved… But there are a *lot* of assholes out there who ought to be beaten within an inch of their lives, if that’s what it takes to drive the assholeishness out. Some days, I meet or see someone who by my standards (and I’m a fairly tolerant guy with no particular enmity towards any specific people group, religion, etc.) should die, and I just want to go ahead and do it. Sure I’ll go to jail. But at least I’ve removed that person from the world, and saved people a lot of potential suffering.
Ionotter showed me one of those people when he pointed out a videoclip of a large man beating a much, much smaller man in a pizza parlor…while no one lifted a finger to intervene. He was a grown version of a schoolyard bully who had never been taken to task properly for exceeding accepted societal tolerances. Such disregard for other people…such lack of empathy… There’s a human whom the village should stone to death.
This has kind of wandered all over… I’m just struck by the duality of myself when it comes to violence, and the larger reflected duality of us all over the same thing. We are so immature. We don’t know ourselves, we can’t deal with our children, and the few voices of sanity and maturity we have are drowned out by football games, bloodthirsty news anchors, and commercials for luxury automobiles.