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What is Violence?

July 24, 2014

First: Its nice not having a whole house to myself anymore. As much as I would love to isolate and just be by myself, an empty house just stressed how much just having my wife around does for me. I didn’t eat much for about three days. I was nervous being completely alone and about her. Its not a trust issue. I worry that something will happen to her (paranoia) and I won’t be around to help and/or protect. Its kind of like the movies where you have a hermit that befriends someone and starts to protect them despite not liking being around other people. Its a nice feeling. I do like helping other people, I just don’t like being around other people. It doesn’t even make sense to me, but that is how it is. I am not talking about Facebook “like” helping, either. I actually like to go out and help friends that need the help whether its moving, cleaning, or just running a simple errand. But if I allowed my deepest desires out, one of the strongest and first to impose itself would be isolation. Its my greatest fear that somehow I will isolate and I will never come out. Even the little bits I allow myself when I need to relax or just step back a bit feel like a large warm comforter that you can snuggle into on a cold winter morning. The type of blanket that no matter how much you need to get out of bed you have no desire to do so. I fear many things, giving into that isolation ranks towards the top because I know that if I give in, I will never want to come out.

Now for the title of this entry: What is Violence?

That is one of many questions that sets thrown around in my head and has been for many many years. Why?

– “He hates anyone who loves violence.” Psalm 11:5, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures – Revised

I grew up around the bible and I am glad I did. I haven’t always listened to the counsel or wisdom found within and have paid the price for it. Putting forth the effort to do so has definitely been a blessing in my life. Dealing with Mental Illness, if it wasn’t for that desire to do what was right with Jehovah God, I would not be alive. The thoughts while suicidal where unbearable, intense and all consuming, but at the very end the thought that ending my life would be like destroying a precious gift in Jehovah’s eyes is what gave me that motivation to get help. I have failed, as we all do, many times, but in the end I find that it is in my heart to do what is right according to Jehovah as mentioned in the Bible. Its not an easy fight, to do what is morally right and fight the ever consuming darkness that mental illness can bring with it, but doing so has many blessings and keeps me going day to day. Its a good feeling, a positive feeling that is so different and warm compared the cold harsh reality mental illness puts around me. Its a lifeline that is a struggle to hold onto but I am determined not to slip back to where I once was, drowning in that darkness as I forgot the positives around me.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. Violence is a broad term and not everyone defines it exactly the same. We all get what it means, but its definition can be viewed differently. The question I seek to answer is in regards to entertainment. The conundrum lies in the details. In real life most would consider that killing someone is violence, its a a human normality to believe so. But as a whole, we find entertainment in violence. This is not true of just our modern era, but in the past violence has been a past time. Movies, TV, Books, and Video Games and even art often depict acts of violence and as a whole society of humans its a hot topic but one that a majority find appealing. Yes its a way to let out that anger or frustration in your own life through the actions of another. Its anything, the wars and combat of the heroes in any form of entertainment medium allow that escape to do in our minds what we cannot do in real life. But the scripture at Psalm 11:5 begs the question, “Is even that OK?”

I’ve been taught that the word “hate” can be a good word. Many believe that hating something is evil, but I was taught and I believe wholeheartedly that you can properly hate something. Go back to killing someone, murder. As a collective group we HATE murder. Why? Because its the harming of another and indirectly a harming of a group of others, that person’s friends and family. Its an action that is HATED. Try to put the spin on the word hate in that situation and you sound like a monster since it almost seems like you would like murder. Hate is an appropriate word to use in this context.

So Psalm 11:5 says that Jehovah HATES violence. Personally I want to follow that example. I have seen what violence can and will do to people. I have a lot of anger that boils within me, and I fear what an improper use of that anger can do to not only me but to those around me. It becomes a struggle at times to let it out properly, but I do know that violence for the sake of violence is not the answer. I used to be a fan of violent movies, video games and books. In my case, movies would consist of James Bond films, or anything of the action genre. Books solely about a hero or group of heroes rising to stop a war were appealing. In video games I became enthralled with some shooters despite my own conscience telling me that it was improper. In each case, the movies and games especially, I would find myself getting into the story and the fight. The viewing of those violent acts could trigger irritability and depression. It took some time, but I realized the wisdom of hating violence. While I would never create violence against another, it still affected my moods. Viewing such negative material could spurn negative moods.

So the question rises, what is violence? Almost all of our media has violence in some shape or form. So what is appropriate and what is not?

It is a conscience matter. While more “serious” or extreme measures of violence (e.g. most modern action movies) can be definitively called violent, what about movies like Frozen or video games like Super Mario Bros.?

Frozen has a couple of “fight” scenes. The biggest is the ice castle scene when they try to arrest Elsa. It wasn’t all that graphic but there was still sword and intent to harm. Its a scene showing not only Elsa’s fear of others, but other’s fear of the unknown. Its a scene that can show the harsh reality of misunderstanding or mobs jumping to conclusions. But does that make it OK to watch?

Super Mario Bros. is usually considered non-violent but when you think about it, its a man jumping on turtles and animate mushrooms. Doesn’t that fall into the category of violence?

I don’t know the answers, but I ponder them constantly. What makes something to be hated when you enter that grey area? (Disclaimer: When YOU hate something that doesn’t mean you go out and FORCE your opinions on others as that seems to be the connotation that society in general has about the word hate.)

Where do I find what I need to hate and still have a clear conscience before Jehovah?

For me, if it incites irritability or lends strength to my depression, I need to stay away… and that is not true for JUST violent entertainment, but any form of activity. (If I overwork myself, that can also incite those moods.) Its a balancing act, one that has a different fulcrum point for every person. But to have a clear conscience is a must for me, and finding an true and clear cut answer to my question may not always be possible… but it doesn’t mean I am not going to try and find one.


*This was written more as an essay question for my own mind rather than an actual journal entry. Its not meant to impose an idea, thought, or opinion on anyone else but is rather a musing that I felt I needed to write and try to put an order to in my own mind.

From → My Journal

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