Lately I have been rolling through my mind thoughts about origin of violence in the world. I saw a video recently in which Whoopie Goldberg was explaining a statement she had made that it was okay for a man to hit a woman back if she hits him first. If she didn’t want to be hit, she shouldn’t have struck the initial blow, she reasoned. It would have been the perfect opportunity for her to condemn any sort of violence, rather than resorting to sand throwing instead of encouraging everyone playing nicely in the sandbox.
Then I read an article that focused on the impact of corporal punishment on children, beyond the obvious. It expressed that it inhibits the development of gray matter in the brain, which makes a whole lot of sense to me. Trauma will do that. I re-posted on my page with the preemptive message that if we want to teach our children to love and respect adults and each other, we need to treat them with love and respect. Hitting a child for hitting another child delivers what message? It’s acceptable for adults to hit, but not children? Smacking a child for doing something dangerous such as running into the street shows them that someone they love who loves them will hurt them to keep them from getting a bigger boo boo?
Instilling fear in authority figures doesn’t do that. If what was done to a child was done to an adult, that adult would be justified in pressing assault charges. Saying “I was spanked/hit/punished…. and I turned out alright,” is a poor excuse. I countered with “I wasn’t spanked and I turned out alright.” I loved my parents and didn’t fear them. There were rules and consequences but none involved raising a hand in anger.
The same is true of war. We justify punitive action against a group of people because each believes the other is bad/wrong. The lyrics to a song performed by Holly Near, called Foolish Notion has the poignant lyrics: “Why do we kill people who are killing people, to show that killing people is wrong?”
Where did the idea come from that striking someone is the way to express anger, get them to fall in line, do what we want? Who was the first person to hit another? What would the world be like if we only touched each other with love and kindness?
Some Sunday morning musings that I may never get acceptable answers to….just tossing the questions out there.
Photo credit: bitstrip