Violence is a Misplaced, Reflexive Emotive Philosophy

There has come to be no small part of the population that has been conditioned to believe that violence is real. It is not hampered by philosophy nor disdained by its allegiance to oppression. Violence, as it is, is in fact a philosophy that is out of touch with possibilities and potential; those grasping at uneven straws hoping to eclipse the meaning of the experience of insight into a given moment or time-equation. However, unlike time, violence is not real. It has no meaning. It is not fostered on necessity. Nor should it be the eloquent dispersion towards tired sands and littered spindrifts of dispersal and haloed entry to a day’s imagination.

The philosophical dispersion that violence is a fundamental reality is not unlike the ancient belief that child sacrifice appeases the gods. Just as humanity was able to overcome those limited perceptions, so, too, can we get beyond the belief that violence is part of the natural order. Essentialists would have us dictate to our children not to be like those that practice violence instead of teaching our children that violence is a pastime that is overdue for reality maintenance. Violence is a philosophy of emotive maintenance. 

Emotive maintenance and orchestrated pride provide condensation for violent thought and reflexive antiphony of the chorus of undeveloped emotions. Pride stems from anger, which stems from fear. Fear of the other, imposed, exposed, or reluctantly flagrant, composes all its rhythms into a pool of trauma waiting to be enveloped by the esteem of outlets and release. This release is not as simple as a causation or a complex as a single leaf. It may be hidden from sight, but only because we willfully obscure it with culture and intent in our arrival to a point of matter. James Gilligan writes in Violence: Reflections on a National Epidemic that the “different forms of violence, whether toward individuals or entire populations, are motivated (caused) by the feeling of shame. The purpose of violence is to diminish the intensity of shame and replace it as far as possible with its opposite, pride, thus preventing the individual from being overwhelmed by the feeling of shame. Violence towards others, such as homicide, is an attempt to replace shame with pride” (1996, 111). Shame, and its relative fear, do not impose on us the necessity of violence, but we have learned to keep this as tools for dispersing our emotive responses to natural rhythms of emotional winds. This emotive philosophy is biolence. 

Violence is an emotive philosophy of displacing the other. Each individual has an internal shrine of imposed, rationalized, and imagined independence that may or may not be tied to reality. For most this shrine is deeply relegated to imposing on others what they cannot see in themselves. This intellectual emotionalism stems mostly from what Ernest Becker discussed as the quest for a self-made kingdom-of-success under the duress of the “denial of death.” In Lisa Isherwood’s and David Harris’s text, Radical Otherness: Sociological and Theological Approaches, they point out that in contemporary hermeneutics there are divisions of view of the universalisms of the dogmatic presuppositions that “exclude the other” (2013, 88). The consideration of the likelihood that there may or may not be “cultural traditions in question: interests in death, birth and sex, for example, or life itself” (2013, 89) summarize not just the intellectual ordering and taxonomy of judging the space between measures of otherness, it is also a reflection of the everyman judging their personal space in a measured world that threatens their imagined independence and from this conflict with all its reliance on emotional judging comes violence of pre-ordered reasoning.  

Cultural traditions measure forward motion from those who have not stopped-gapped or expelled emotional reasoning because of the threat of imposed injustice on one’s perception of the kingdom-of-success that so many believe they are entitled to. The intercommunal conflict of cultural traditions persist in times of peace and among those at peace, and even relatability, with their cohorts. The emotional response to giving oneself for another’s inner presence, as Emmanuel Levinas would have us embrace in becoming the other, is not withstood as a degree from which the individual misplaced emotional sequence of time and otherness dispels the rhythms of emotive consequences. It is here that the perceived universalism of cultural traditions flatten the curve of progress towards the realization that belief in the reality of violence is a failed philosophy. 

Painting: The Sacrifice of Isaac (1590-1610), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. From: