This was originally going to be an addendum to the Nickelback lyrics bit I just did, but I started carrying on, so I'm making it a full post.
I commented on how I found it odd that Nickelback could write songs like "If Everyone Cared" and then go on to have songs such as "Next Contestant" which so clearly expressed a strong desire for violence.
I am not saying I am bothered by their songs expressing desires for violence. And in fact, I really shouldn't be at all surprised by the seeming disconnect.
Here I am, a person who routinely states (or at least mutters to herself) that violence is never the answer, that there is never an excuse for violence, etc. And yet I understand, all too well, the desire for violence.
I had a daydream/fantasy, some little time ago, because I was upset at some enraging thing I'd read about. When I get mad at the internets, I want to punch something. In my fantasy, some arse in the hallway of the dorm at school said some non-specified misogynist thing in a joking manner. In my fantasy, I hauled off an punched him. The friends surrounding us tried to pull me back, but they couldn't. In my fantasy, I punched his face until it was a bloody pulp. Until there was nothing left. And still I kept punching.
In my fantasy I obliterated someone. Completely erased his life. I could probably get philosophical about this fantasy fellow being an avatar for the patriarchy or something, and it would only be about 75% bullshit.
The fact is, sometimes I want to hurt someone so much it's... I don't even know another feeling like it. Never someone in particular. Anyone. I just want to cause pain. It comes to the point of almost seeing red. The blood rushes to my ears and my heart pounds in my chest and I have to take a deep breath. There are always too many people around to scream into a pillow or to burst into tears. The walls are too thin.
I am so angry! All my efforts and the efforts of those around me are wasted! The little teeny piddly changes we make are not enough. The whole system is broken. The planet is broken. I want to raze the world and start fresh. And what fills me with rage that is that the only way to stop everything and start again is for everyone to realize that it's the only way. And that is just not going to happen. I am called "radical" for a reason. The change I deem necessary is much too far out of your average person's comfort zone for it to happen.
And yet. Despite my occasional desire to put my hands around the throat of anyone who deems themself worthy of political office, I don't do these things.
Funny, that. I have these fantasies, and this anger, but I'm not a particularly violent person. The most violent I have ever been was play-fighting with my ex. It was a thing we had. He was the sturdiest person I'd ever met, so I asked him if I could try punching his arm to see if it hurt. He said sure. I was never able to hurt him. And I'd imagine that's because I never really tried. I wouldn't have been able to fathom actually trying to hurt a friend-later-boyfriend. So that's the most violent I've ever been.
I try not to step on insects on the sidewalk. (I'll admit, that's more because I don't want to track guts onto the floor than out of any ideology...)
Despite my fantasies, despite all my frustrations, I know that there is never a reason to use force to impose my wishes and desires on others.
I make exceptions to my non-violence for self-defense. I'm not going to sit there and take it if someone is trying to hurt me. (Though I'm not stupid - running is by far the safer option for me.) But I would defend my loved ones, for all my physical capability to defend is worth, to my last breath. If we were attacked point-blank - the "defense" we put up against 9/11 is... most emphatically not covered under my self-defense rule. That was not, and is not, self-defense, it is retribution. Self-defense in that context was the people who stopped the third plane. They were defending themselves, and the country (someday I'll write a post detailing just how I feel about this whole idea of "countries," but that's another day). If a neighbor came up to me on the street and started beating me, and I put up a defense during the beating, that's self-defense. If I wait until he's asleep in his home the next night and go beat him up in return (or, in a more accurate analogy, beat up his neighbor), that's not self-defense.
I have daydreams about things I'm too afraid to type on this blog because the FBI might decide I'm worth investigating if they Googled certain politically-related violence terms.
But I'd never do those things.
And that, for me, is the difference. Maybe humans do have a predisposition toward violence. No one has proved one way or the other. But just because I am disposed toward violence (which I, at least, most assuredly am), does not make me commit violent acts.
This is why I am a pacifist. This is why I hate war. This is why I have such a hard time with the existence of militaries. They are antithema to humanity. It is our ability to overcome our ids, among other things, that makes us human.
I desire violence. I do not act on that desire. It's a pretty simple algorithm for peace, wouldn't you agree?
P.S. Props to Nickelback for never advocating anyone act out their violent songs, but indicating pretty clearly in their "If Everyone Cared" music video that they'd like people to try to make a positive difference in the world. That fits right into my world view, and I will continue, happily, if with a bit of muttering about ingrained social sexism, to listen to Nickelback.
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