It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Violence - A Decision, Not an Inevitability

Friends Libby and Len Traubman, colleagues in building a world of peace and nonviolence, recently published an article called "Pre-Deciding about Violence".  They cite evidence to make that case that physical violence, ranging from corporal punishment of children to nations going to war, only breeds more violence and has proven itself time and again to be self-defeating and counterproductive. We have a choice, they argue, of whether to continue down that  path or to adopt an attitude, strategy, and way of life of nonviolence, empathy, compassion, and dialogue, which have been shown to be more effective in both the short and long runs.

To make explicit what is implicit in their article, I would only add that “violence” goes beyond corporal “smacking” and includes shaming and other, nonphysical forms of “punishment”. That is, “no TV”, grounding, sitting in the corner, etc., are equally counterproductive and possibly, because less visible or subtle, more insidious. Indeed, its the whole attitude of punishment – whether physical  or emotional, including what on the international scene are called "sanctions" – that needs to be transformed into one of compassion, empathy, and love. And further, it's a decision we can all make, whether in the home or in the public arena.

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