As a pacifist, I have sometimes dreamt of a future in which violence is a relic of the past. Humankind had decided to mothball our guns and missiles. Rape, child abuse and battery had melted away. Sports like football, hockey, boxing and wrestling had steadily lost their fan base and, eventually, threw in the towel.
Aah, such are dreams!
But the reality of life as we know it tells us that violence is a natural part of existence. It plays out in numerous way every second of the year. We humans could no more do away with violence than we could do away with breathing!
How would we nourish ourselves? Chewing is a violent act. It is the process of ripping and tearing food into a more digestible state. When the masticated food enters the digestive tract, it is attacked by stomach acids and enzymes. I bet it's a real gory scene!
How would we get around? Every step we take impacts other critters, many too small for the eye to see. Walk around outside and I bet we step on more flies, ants, worms and other bugs than we ever could imagine. Heck, walking across the carpet might mean the violent deaths of numerous dust mites.
Every time one of us fells a live tree, pulls up weeds or harvests something from the garden, we do so violently. We cut, chop, yank and dislodge living beings. Here they are simply going about their business and this human decides to end life as they know it. If we could interview the tree, dandelion or carrot, I'm guessing they would describe their demise as violent.
Thunderstorms, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and other sorts of weather phenomena can be quite violent. Since we control none of these things, there is no way we can make them more peaceful.
So, I guess I need to recast my dream. It's not that I wish we could do away with violence -- we can't -- but that we would decide to do away with unneeded violence, the kind that gushes forth from the well of human desire.