The presence of violence

It is inescapable. Life is a violent affair.

Our violent nature is instinctual. We must be able to defend in order to survive. We must be able to kill in order to survive.

Physical survival is dependent upon violent acts from extremes as mild as that of plucking a fruit from its tree for food to killing another human being defending our lives. But we don’t limit ourselves to just the violence necessary for survival.

We are so enamored with violence we create stories in books and in movies that glorify violence as entertainment. We are not so different from the Romans who fed the blood of slaves and animals to the soils in its famous Coliseum and nurtured the eyes and ears of its audience with the screams and frenzy of the dying.

There is incredible beauty within violent beings in the world. The fox who visits me in our backyard is a magnificent creature. He is tall, lean, and confident. His furry red and orange cloak is trimmed with white and black — he is nature in its finest suburbia clothing. In the eyes of my granddaughter, though, he loses his luster when he captures one of the many chipmunks who feast on our gardens, and trots away with his squirming prize locked in his jaws. I am humbled that I have been granted the role of witness to these events.

There are stories that the Buddha sacrificed himself to become food for starving animals, knowing that he would be reborn again. That one life did not matter in terms of longevity. What mattered is what he did with it.

Yet the violence disrupts me. It brings my concept of God to an abrupt standstill, for if God is everything that exists, God is this violence, too. If all people are manifestations of God, then God is the mass murderer, the rapist, the abuser the same as God is the dying, the victim, the cowering abused. God is the person who turns away and pretends not to see. God is the person who charges and sentences, seeks revenge, and weeps with inconsolable loss.

It makes no sense to my logical brain that we would destroy that which we are. Yet, without destruction, we cannot exist. This tight and silly game has no rational explanation that I can accept.

But I’ve put it out there now. I’ve asked the universe to answer my dilemma. I am a manifestation of God seeking order, justification, and resolution.

We will see how I answer myself.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

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11 Responses to “The presence of violence”

  1. Kimberly Grady Says:

    Wow, no comments yet!
    I did a little Internet research, however there are more entries asking the same questions, than answering. I would treat this as the idea that as there are many writings that both coexist, and Evil is of this world and God is doing what is possible, however the promise is to be with him foe eternity.
    It is also interesting to look at the question, What is the concept of God is really a distorted con by the devil for some to keep them confused and unaware/aloof of what the true answer may be.

    I keep open to the knowledge that I have no answers, nor think my faith is anything but a journey, possibly to someday know the way, the truth, and the life that is free of the things you mention.

    Hugs
    Kim

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      I am not surprised that there are a bazillion others asking the same questions, Kim. These questions come from my insatiable need to make our existence make sense. As Joseph Campbell once said and I am paraphrasing here, “Eternity is NOW. Eternity does not begin when we die. We are already in it.”
      If God is everything, then the “devil” is God, too. All of my readings and experience indicate that there is nothing outside of this oneness that we all are.

  2. Gil Says:

    I find it interesting that one of your tags is “dichotomy”. Subconsciously what you are exploring here is dualism. To my mind the concept of “God” cannot be reconciled with a dualistic concept. Either good or evil, black or white, violence or non-violence. In my personal opinion God is the process of creation, making and unmaking in an eternal flow of energy of which we are only a minuscule part.
    ” I am humbled that I have been granted the role of witness to these events.” Me too…
    🙂
    Gil

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Gil! Yes, I am looking at violence and peace as being dichotomous events vs. dualistic. Opposing vs. shared; however, there cannot be peace unless there is a conflict to know it by. I like your words that “God is the process of creation, making and unmaking . . .”. That gives me a new perspective to view existence from.

  3. jeffstroud Says:

    Barbara,

    I will agree with Gil above, God is the process of creation, the process of creation is creating and destruction… The in and out, the up and down, the right and left, the hot and cold, we can not know one without the other.
    I think there is more here to comment on but for now, I leave you with your journey of thoughts, words, and actions!

    I am Love, Jeff

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Jeff — I never ask the easy questions . . . or, perhaps, I am making the question too complicated and searching for an answer that is as simple as the sunrise. I just know that this has come forefront for me in the past months, evidence that I am ready to explore and deal with it. Some part of me is seeking resolution, a greater knowing, and the only way I know how to get it is to put the question out there and stay on my journey.

  4. holessence Says:

    Barrbara – Your statement,

    “Yet the violence disrupts me. It brings my concept of God to an abrupt standstill, for if God is everything that exists, God is this violence, too. If all people are manifestations of God, then God is the mass murderer, the rapist, the abuser the same as God is the dying, the victim, the cowering abused. God is the person who turns away and pretends not to see. God is the person who charges and sentences, seeks revenge, and weeps with inconsolable loss.”

    is one that I’ve pondered since you posted. And as extensions of source energy, I would have to agree (although I don’t want to).

    Your restaurant, “Eternal Presence” always — without fail — serves up excellent food for thought.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Laurie — I know. I have wrestled with this ever since the notion that all existence is One took hold and made a home in my soul. We cannot name and define anything that we don’t recognize . . . to be able to recognize means that quality must exist in us as well. The only difference is that we all choose which qualities we want to reflect into the world. That “choice” word is where I believe the secret lies.

  5. holessence Says:

    “The only difference is that we all choose which qualities we want to reflect into the world. That “choice” word is where I believe the secret lies.”

    Amen, siSTAR!

  6. Loretta Foux Says:

    Thank you for a great post.

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