Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Violence or Nonviolence

  1. Feb 14, 2005 #1
    Those of you who have read at least a few of my previous posts know my huge reverence for Malcolm X. But the thing is I know for a fact that I can never take up arms to kill someone even if he or she killed my parents. I know it is because I have been brought up in a society that preaches nonviolence religiously, my parents and school have instilled in me Gandhi's preaching so strongly, that I can't go against it. It troubles me, because I connect more with Malcolm's ideology thought-wise, but I can't do it physically. So basically I just talk the talk but don't walk the walk and I hate myself for that. Does this mean that a part of me still believes in nonviolence or have i been brainwashed by my society that it will take a huge effort for me to turn towards my "true" feelings..
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 14, 2005 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    If you really need someone dead, I'm sure you can use your powers of rhetoric to convince someone else to do the dirty work.
  4. Mar 9, 2005 #3
    Sometimes it just feels right to hate other people that hate you, reason and morals don't make much difference in those times, but historically people tend to learn that hate begets hate and peace is better...I often wonder this, is it better to show hate to those who show you hate? If not won't they continue to hate you since it is to their advantage and there is no punishment? But then where does one draw the line and cast the first stone? Mabye if everyone got stoned we would be better off...
  5. Mar 10, 2005 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Well hating someone back doesnt really solve anything but of course, not hating them rarely helps either. If someone hates you well then thats unfortunate and theres very little you can do about it. You sound like you got fooled into thinking violence can never solve a thing. Well unfortunately, this is a non-factual statement. I believe in all that matters in most cases is results. If you want something to happen, you gotta do what will most likely make it happen and not just "hope" another, useless method will work. Take for example gun violence. You have the non-violent method and the violent method to stop it which are gun bans and loose gun restrictions respectively. Pretty much every study in the US shows non violent gun-banning method creates high levels of murders while the violent method (liberal gun laws... the dictionary definition, not the political ideology) creates drops in violent crime. Same with the death penalty. Studies show non-violent methods such as banning capital punishment show people are more willing to murder while states with capital pu nishment have people less likely to commit murder.

    Non-violence is really only truely helpful in results when you have an audience. If people are looking and the group your acting non-violently towards and the group wants to save face, non-violence definitely works. Otherwise... nope hehe, violence wins out. But really, many times violence is the only way to stop violence. Say for example, bank robberies nad namely, the North Hollywood one. If people are obviously being violent (say by shooting hundreds of armored piercing rounds at police), hte last thing your going to want to do is send in a psychologist. Of course, you send in a heavily armed police force to stop it. If people thought they could rob banks and expect a psychologist instead of bullets being fired back at them, people would be robbing banks like theres no tomorrow.... but yah, sometimes violence is the only answer and hatred is necessary at times.
  6. Mar 10, 2005 #5
    I believe your inner self influences you more than what your family, society, church or Malcom-X say.

    i think it is great to be able to admit that you are non-violent. it takes real courage to face any issue when violence is not an option.

    in looking at history, violence never solved anything. it usually acrebates the problem.

    Gandhi is my hero. funny, prior to him George S. Patton was my hero. I'd rather use Gandhi as a role model. real solutions can only be accomplished with the agreement of all parties involved, not through conquest.

    olde drunk
  7. Mar 12, 2005 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Actually history dictates to us that violence can solve many things. But the thing is, its rather unfortunate people think of it as some sort of 2 side thing where you can only ever take 1 side or that both sides actually exist in all situations. Germany's European conquest is a great example. The allies had the choice, violence or non-violence. The choice was made and they fought back and inevitably, Hitler was unable to conquer Europe. Violence solved that problem where non-violence... well non-violence would have been a horrible decision. The American Revolution is another example. You had the British doing what they did and America had the choice of either using violence or acting non-violent. While they did use non-violent measures at times, violence ended up the factor that gave America its independance. The Soviet Union was held at bay by means of anticipated violence (M.A.D.). So as we can see, violence has solved many things. Unfortunately, saying "violence never solved anything" really never takes into account actual real world situations. Whats best to say is that if you WANT something, violence is not the answer as opposed to RESISTING something. If you want something or want to provoke a situation, violence is not a good answer, but if you are resisting something or someone has already chosen to start violence, sometimes violence is the only way. So, thus, real solutions can not be "only" accomplished by a single method and your addition of "conquest" exemplifies the idea that people only focus on the provocation and not reaction situations when saying such things.
  8. Mar 13, 2005 #7
    Klusener, forgive me if this is too personal, but what are your thoughts on the Dalits and the methods they've developed to try and change the way they are treated? I'm aware of both violent and non-violent organizations, but it seems no matter which one they adhere to, all seem to be equally suspected and punished for fabricated crimes. The latest information I've read is from 1999 human rights watch, has the situation changed at all?
  9. Mar 13, 2005 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member

    klusener, sounds like you are more of a fan of martin luther king jr then malcom x.
  10. Mar 13, 2005 #9
    Violence does solve things, so does peaceful resistance. Both are a means to an end, the age old question is, does the ends justify the means.

    If the answer to that question could be agreed upon, then I would think we'd have little violence in the first place.

    So its really just a question of perspective. If you were a Tibetan Lama, no means justifies violence, if you were one of the great despotic leaders in the mid 20th century, nearly any end justifies any sort of violence, then there is everything in between.

    Although we are all influenced by our upbringing, we still have the choice to break from that mold and frankly, what the original poster says scares me a bit. It is a dangerous position to think one's self uncapable of violence, for we all are. It is the strongest people, who are the weakest. They have the strength to hold back their hate and their rage. Violence, is easy, it is the solution that takes the least amount of thought, and as such, attracts those who aren't so hot on thinking things through.

    At least thats how I see it.
  11. Mar 13, 2005 #10
    If anyone thinks that Hitler could have been stopped with peaceful resistance they should be labeled clinically insane.
  12. Mar 14, 2005 #11
    Sure thing, we can imagine all kinds of perfect utopist solutions that never happened in our imperfect world. All that is required for perfection is for an amazing act of anti-entropic proportions, equivalent to all of the O2 molecules in the room cooperating and migrating uncoerced into that open tank over there, the one with the valve open.

    Statistically, it could happen.

    Why, there are thousands of better ways for nearly pure O2 to end up in that tank than to waste all kinds of energy and effort. Please, coercion is not the answer, once there is megapolitical force on the march in the world. There are 'better' ways to face down thugs than to use force, coercion, superior violence.

    Hitler just needed to wait around for the UN to show up, or be faced down by the crab spread at some Renaiissance Weekend event. I hear it's fabulous, by the way.

    I'll take your word for it.
  13. Mar 14, 2005 #12


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Well, I don't want to break anybody's bubble but violence solves plenty. I'm a hard-core Darwinist so that explains it I guess. Francis Fukuyama wrote, "The End of History and The Last Man". He speaks of two types of people in the world: masters and slaves. Masters are those who will fight to the death for recognition. Slaves won't.

    I say hail to the masters for they gave rise to a strong genetic heritage and that lineage gave rise to me!
  14. Mar 14, 2005 #13
    ah, but let's look at the whole picture and go to the root cause. the world, primarily europe was so unfair to germany after WWI that the sense of hopelessness and helplessness gave hitler the power to persuade the people that violence was a solution.

    i trust that we have learned at this point (2005) that there are no conquerers and that each person, nation deserves their brand of freedom. The persistent problem is that the human psyche somehow views being non-violent as weakness. We do not need to embrace violence to protect ourselves as long as we work from a position of integrity. if you fail to maintain your integrity, you immediately fear that it will be discovered and the fear makes violence an option.

    sorry, violence breeds violence. so, what is the end of that senario???

    olde drunk
  15. Mar 14, 2005 #14
    lol, you can't be cerial? evolution is showing us that "INTELLIGENCE" not physical strength is the answer.

    think about how you can post here and create social change whereas the physically superior caveman worked hard to just discover the wheel.

    do you want to be at the mercy of the football jocks?
    olde drunk
  16. Mar 14, 2005 #15


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    We are at the mercy of the football jocks. Leaders in every land, and certainly the Bush administration, are heavily populated with no-nothings. If anything though, the smart guys, whether marxists or neocons, are worse.
  17. Mar 14, 2005 #16
    well now is the time for academia to do it's real job. the intellegensia is much more powerful than any army. you can imprison my body but not my mind or spirit.

    why fear marxists or neocons?? there is value in all disciplines. the academic community needs to get behind nader or the green party or whatever to accomplish real election reform.

    as long as our current system continues, big money will rule politics.

    the real; threat is the PatriotAct and the big brother effect.

    olde drunk
  18. Mar 14, 2005 #17
    Tell me how was peace finally 'imposed' on Rwanda in 1994?

    It was not imposed by the UN.

    It was not imposed by the Belgians.

    It was not imposed by the French.

    It was not imposed by the USA with their 6 months too late white painted gesture politics unarmed APCs.

    It was not imposed by the Red Cross.

    It was imposed by Tutsi rebels, alone, by themselves, with no help whatsoever from the outside 'civilized' world. There was no justice from over the horizon; only the spectacle of fleeing armed UN forces, deserting a genocide when they were already on the ground in force.

    At best, the Red Cross performed miracles, and heroically put bandaids on the ever growing piles of victims.

    At best, with no help whatsoever from the UN in NY, individual UN commanders on the ground defied UN orders to 'NOT get involved in the conflict' and surreptitiously chose sides, saving hundreds as best they could. In the single biggest crime in modern history, the world knows who Kofi Annan is, and that UN/world community we are supposed to consider gave him a Goddamned Peace Prize for his murderous cowardly crimes against humanity, but few have any idea who Senegalese/Muslim Captain Mbaye Diagne is, what he did, or how he died.

    There will be a Kofi Annan HS somewhere in America long before Mbaye Diagne is even mentioned in a US school, and that is a mark of shame on the entire species.

    But...here come those same old that gave us all of that, asking for another attempt at it.

    Conflict is never desirable; none of it. Agreed 100%. And each step that must be taken to stop it is less desirable than the one before it.

    However, when it comes down to that last step, when politics creeps into megapoltics, and the choices are either back up our polite gestures with force, or not; the desirable choice is clear.

    I wish we had done something in Rwanda, I wish for it, hating all the while that I have to.

    When it comes to conflict, the problem with 'should' is, it cannot work unilaterally. "Should" can only work bilaterally. The "should/bilateral" road should be taken as far as that road can go, when that road leads to peace. But, that road does not always lead to peace. At the end of the bilateral road, when that road runs out, there are two options; concede and withdraw, or prevail.

    It matters greatly what you are conceding to. Rwanda is an example. By conceding to murdering thugs, the resolution fell back onto the shoulders of lesser force, the Tutsi rebels themselves, and many more were murdered. But, the Tutsi Rebels did what must have been done in that instance, to avoid the complete extermination of the Tutsis. 800,000 was more than enough. In the face of 800,000 murdered, there is no argument that the Hutus were going to stop at say, a million, as if that was a magic number. They were going to continue until they were stopped, by force.

    There is what 'should' be done in a perfect world. And then, there is what 'should' be done in the world as it is. They are not always the same thing. Sometimes, what 'should' be done is also what 'must' be done, and often, in the case of forming peaceful states in conflict, that is the effective use of butt ugly force to end the conflict.

    The absense of Superior Violence, projected as butt ugly force, is not the same as 'peace.' The absence of Superior Violence is an invitation to endless unchecked conflict while defenseless folks dream about a utopic enlightenment.
  19. Mar 14, 2005 #18


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Sir, I believe you're living in a fantasy world if you ignore the impact of strength, brute strength, size, force, and violence in the culture of men.

    I think you're referring to "intelligence to avoid the big guy". Jungle law still rules in the affairs of men. We've just candy-coated it with civilized rules of law and order.
  20. Mar 14, 2005 #19


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    If a person wrongs in such a way that it is abhorrent to the "local,"
    community ,they should be dealt with by that communities laws, in
    extreme cases, ie murder uncontrollable violence, in the final analysis
    we are animals that must obey the pack
  21. Mar 14, 2005 #20


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    So a woman who goes unveiled should be stoned to death if her community thinks that's right?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads for Violence Nonviolence Date
End the violence to plants Dec 2, 2015
The Global Decline in Violence Jan 13, 2013
Global Women Issues (Domestic Violence) Dec 16, 2011
Not a trick question: Why is violence bad? Jun 16, 2010