Choosing Non-Violence

An ethic of non-violence

Every human being desires happiness; to feel content, proud, amazed; to experience pleasure. No one can however escape suffering and frustrations, diseases, illnesses, grief and death.

There are many ways to cope with life’s difficulties; violence is one of them. Violence enables, in some ways, to release the physical tensions caused by anger. Moreover, violence has the power to influence how others behave towards us. By the harm and the fear it creates, violence gives a power over others to the person who uses it.

Violence can be used to prevent others from behaving in a way that frustrates us. Violence can also be used to express our hate and our resentment; to hurt others to feel more powerful; to try to make them pay for the suffering we experienced seemingly due to their behaviours.

Violence always hurt the persons on which it is inflicted. It damages integrity, well-being, and health. It can also harm one’s freedom, autonomy, or self-esteem. Using violence also sacrifices our own capacity to evolve, as a human being. It denies us our ability to use the best within us to answer to our needs. It cuts us from our empathy, which normally helps us connect with others and develop trust, warmth, and solidarity.

Resorting to violence does not permit to solve our problem at medium term or long term. Anger is often recurring; resentment and desire for revenge do not disappear after acting violently. They might reappear indefinitely. Resentment can never heal our wounds. On the contrary, it nurtures them. It keeps us in contempt.

By using violence, we hurt the humanity of the other person, and therefore, by extension, we hurt ourselves.

When faced with frustrations, we can choose, individually, to take a moment to think before acting. This implies us staying momentarily in our state of dissatisfaction and frustration and to face the uncomfortable emotions we feel: fear, anger, hate, sadness, impatience.