Stefan Molnar


This conversation is closed.

Why do we need violence to transfer power?

Revolutions are some very effective types of mass manipulation through which power changes and shifts. Why do we, humas, hold on to our positions or ideas even if we know we are wrong?

  • Jan 25 2012: It's the architecture of our brains. Remember, though, the brain is plastic and capable of learning through great effort. A valid class to add to any curriculum for children is "Compassion" or something like that.
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      Jan 25 2012: I agree very much that "A valid class to add to every curriculum for children is "Compassion". The only way to create a better world is to create a better next generation. Humans can only be better if there is collective compassion in the "nurture". Until then it is repeat history..
      • Feb 11 2012: I agree with you both. Until we start to notice that the biosphere is the bottom line and there's no nearby planet to exploit, our species has a serious gap in it's logic which could be identified as The Compassion Gap.

        Until we see that we are all in this together, we are pretty much headed for extinction.
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          Feb 11 2012: Closing the "serious gap which exists in our logic, " the Compassion Gap, " is priority #1. This can only be achieved when we work together as one team. Everyone needs to realize that we are on the same team.

          We are one team working for the betterment of humankind. Stay good. Stay light.
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    Feb 10 2012: The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. - Mahatma Gandhi

    We do not not need violence to transfer power. We use violence to shield us from our own, mis-perceived weakness.
    • Feb 10 2012: you said what i wanted to say with such brevity and clarity that i am utterly jealouse:)
  • Jan 28 2012: In some very rare cases, violence is not necessary. In our country India, the independance movement was non-violent to a large extent. Gandhii brought independence to our country from colonial rule using non-violence (satyagraha)
    • Feb 6 2012: Very true Usha. Maybe those cases are not that rare thus?!
      I recommend the movie: Gandhi. Winner of 8 academy awards. Great movie, very inspiring.
  • Jan 25 2012: We do not. As long as male domination persists, there will be the noise of violence making people wretched. THE WOMEN'S REVOLUTION IS THE LAST REVOLUTION THAT THE WORLD WILL EVER NEED. As soon as MALES=FEMALES throughout all parts of society, the violence will end.
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      Jan 26 2012: You might want to study the history of female leaders. They have been just as bloodthirsty as the males.
      • Jan 26 2012: Margaret Thatcher said she abandoned her womanhood when she entered politics. Female leaders have had to operate within male-designed and male-dominated systems. In order to get anywhere at all, they needed to act like men. Now is the time to change that, if we want a healthy, prosperous, happy, successful, society for all males and females. Let's equalize the power between males and females and just watch and enjoy the wonderful results. Seems worth a try.
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          Jan 27 2012: Thanks. I get it now. When men do something it's the men's fault. When women do something it's the men's fault. That's at least an easy rule to remember.
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          Jan 29 2012: Rhona, I get it. Testosterone-driven individuals have used brute force gleefully and have been praised as heros throughout most of human history. There is a female element (and I mean the kind of female element in us all--just as there is good and evil within us all) that needs to be openly used and applied with our heroic imagination. Our humanity will not evolve to a better condition with "alpha male" mentality. Any image of struggle reduced to "us" versus "them" is missing the point: We either work together for the betterment of humanity or we all suffer in the end. Margaret did what she thought she had to do in order to operate as an equal among men in a certain style of political men's club.
        • Feb 2 2012: I would go a step further. Given that men have been largely in charge for the past few millennia, we should put women in complete charge for a similar length of time.

          There is no possible way that they could cock it up as bad as men have. What's the worst that could happen. Russia will make a cutting comment about America and then America won't talk to Russia for a full week?
      • Jan 28 2012: Paul, Do you want to pretend that there are no problems related to male domination and male design of societal insitutions and the subordination of women?
        • Feb 10 2012: my dear boy you underestimate us...we are extremely powerful creatures and form extreme alliances and networks and can use our power to equal destructive use as fact men employ many feminine powers to acheive their aims of evil so ithink just as that elven lady said to frodo do not tempt me instead of a dark lord you should have a terrible qween and all would bow benteath me..the thing is to destroy the ring of power..the circle of power the circle of power and weakness by burning it in the fire from whence it come the fire of knowledge perhpas..self knowledge?... and it is mostly the humble {more so than weak} who take the job of frodo and attempt to drag it through to the thos who would reballance power rather than relinquish it and in doing so relinquish weakness will inevitably be corrupted by it. so to each invividual comes the enormous taks to let go of power and weakness and the cycle of painand suffereing that comes from it...and that apraoch is non violence but also non weakness standong ones ground however small...
        • Feb 15 2012: i think that both sexes have been repressed in many ways and that if you cling to the idea that women are repressed and men arent then your not seeing the whole picture... the whole of society has been built on power and violence its how we got where we are today and perhaps nessisarily so but its certainly where we are moving away from now and towards the future to a more equitable society for all men women children how about letting children go into power they are very sweet .... and will cut through any economically complex problem tot he heart of the matter ....they wont uphold anything overcomplicated because they wont understand iit and they will just see children dying in africa and say lets give them money and food and water.... great! there are certainly problems related to domination..but it is domination which is the key not whos dominating who... for instance there is a market amount of jews in banking should we say there must be less jews in power in banking becuase it in not equal or should we say that banking should become more compassionate as a whole and work towards a better system regardless of who or what race or what gender runs that system.? the subordination of women has in the past also benifited women and just as the system of domination gives out tokens it has given men token powers but these are just tricks andbadges men do not have real power they have been given th eillusionof power that they might better be kept quiet just as a man might give some money to his wife to stop her complaining baout the real issues so man is given totems of power because they like power its as shiney to them as a pair of jimmy choos to us and we are given nice things to buy and they are given nice jobs where they can feel powerfull while conforming to the system quietly... mans power is hush money... so ithink you need to see through what youve been taught about men and really question its validity in an equal society...
      • Feb 3 2012: Jeffrey, I think society would be just as dysfunctional and perverse, if women dominated. The only solution to the world's problems is equality between men and women. It is the complementarity, the balance in perspective and approach that our world needs. Let's give that a try. Glad to see you are not afraid of women being in power, though. Wish all men could see how safe and happy they will be as soon as women and men sit equally in all places of power. Happy Today.
        • Feb 9 2012: Rhona - My tongue was firmly in cheek in my previous comment.

          I agree that equality is the key to harmony. The best advice I ever received was on my wedding day "Just smile and agree and you'll be happy. If you are determined to have your say then become content with being unhappy." It's worked well for me for 20 years.

          Misogyny never made sense to me. The philosophy of cutting out half of the energy, spirit and innovation of the human race seems like bad management.

        • Feb 10 2012: you cannot sit in power and create equality equality and power do not mix. if one creates power one also creates its opposite weakness and that is not equality equality may never be a realistic outcome but lets be sure of the ideal at least and not mistake equality for anything which can contain power or weakness... like untity which anhialiates opposites equality anhialates inequality and power supoorts teh cycle of inequality and helps it to turn the wheel has turned to favour sometimes this and sometimes that sometimes one is winning sometimes losing but in an equal and unified state {which im not convinced can exist but still its an ideal worth trying for} there are no winners and losers. but just as there will always be difference among men and women perhaps there will always be winners and losers oppressors and oppressed violateor and victim perhpas this is the duality inherent in our existence... but i hope something close to equality can be acheived by integrating as much as we can just as men and women can come to know themselves more wholely by accepting their male facets if a woman and vice versa... such people are very attractive because they can connect with men and women in a different way than anyone stuck in their stereotype and rejecting theri own male attributes or subverting their feminine... so if people cna integrate male and female within themselves perhaps it spossible to integrate power and weakness within and maybe also without on a social level.
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      Jan 28 2012: Really? I don't think so. Women fight so much dirtier than men. When men fight there are rules. When women fight there is no quarter... no survivors,,, no prisoners. Oh sorry maybe I mean when I fight...
      • Jan 28 2012: Linda, Glad you acknowledge that you are speaking about yourself.
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          Jan 28 2012: Rhona I wish I was. Just watch young women. They are viscous. You can see it on the media, youtube, Facebook. Unfortunately I truly believe this. i've seen it in person.
      • Jan 29 2012: Linda, perhaps what you are seeing is the absence of parenting or good parenting. And then there is "bullying." People are born with the desire to love and be loved. The negativity you speak of is the result of negative experiences such as brutality or deprivation of love and respect. I would not take those perversions as norms. You insult the vast majority of females when you do that.
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          Jan 29 2012: Perhaps in your pollyanna world. This is the last time I try and state a truth and deflect the harshness. Don't try and tell me I insult women. This is prime example of lateral violence and I refuse to participate.
      • Jan 31 2012: Linda, I wonder what makes you think your experience with women is more real or authentic than my experiences. Where you and I disagree, I will just assume that I am right and you are wrong. I guess you can understand that.
        • Feb 2 2012: Rhona, you talk about "equality" - but what is it exactly, other than a very enticing fiction? It seems to me, however regrettably, that males cannot "=" females.
        • Feb 2 2012: Rhona, you say " THE WOMEN'S REVOLUTION IS THE LAST REVOLUTION THAT THE WORLD WILL EVER NEED. As soon as MALES=FEMALES throughout all parts of society, the violence will end." also " In order to get anywhere at all, they needed to act like men. Now is the time to change that" I am aware this is not a complete quote but I want to point out your position seems to be, Women would make better leaders than men. This is a hypocrisy, this is just a flip of positions, not equality. Men and women can also not be equal, because we are not the same. We can all be treated equal, yes, but we cannot BECOME equal. It would not matter, male or female, black or white, christian or muslim. Human nature and basic needs and thought processes are the same. We are all human, there are good and bad, gental and vicious, etc etc. in all catagories, you are far over generalizing, thus getting away from the actual issue to suit your agenda, or so it seems. equality between males and females will not make peace. Understanding and acceptance among all people will be as much peace as we can hope for in humanity. There will never be an absolute peace. Nature, by its nature is violent, like all animals we will eventually have to fight to survive. Violence is a part of life, we can minimalize but not completely get rid of it.
      • Feb 2 2012: Will Hawthorn, I disagree with you. Males are different than females. We have all noticed that. Females are equal to males. I wonder why males are so afraid to acknowledge their equality to women. Perhaps you can explain this very deep-rooted fear.
        • Feb 3 2012: Rhona, can you please qualify the statement "females are equal to males" so I can understand your argument thus constructively participate.
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          Feb 10 2012: Rhona,

          They say for a woman to be considered as good as a man, she needs to be twice as smart, work twice as hard, and have better social skills.

          Fortunately, that is easy to do.


          You do seem to reduce all conflict to the male domination of women. While I agree women are not treated equally, even in relatively egalitarian cultures, let alone Islamic and more patriarchal societies, I do not think our problems can be traced solely to this one issue.

          Our problems are very likely symptoms of our collective human condition, not simply a consequence of men's "maleness."

          And, as an aside, some of the most violent people I have ever interacted with have been women.
      • Feb 3 2012: Will,


        If you have trouble grasping the concept, I think that is the problem. Perhaps, if you meditate on it for a while, it will come to you that, indeed, MEN=WOMEN and, therefore, women should not be subordinated to men and men should not have superior power to women.
        • Feb 9 2012: Dear Rhona
          I am a wooman and I disagree with you about male equality to female and vice versa. I read most of your comments here and it seems to me that you are confused about your own believe.

          As I understood your idea is that both males n females should have an equal “power” in decision-making, regardless of the sphere where those decisions should be made or implemented as well as that they also should be treated equally when executing these decisions. I totally agree with that, however it doesn’t make females = males in any other way.

          Whether male’s methods are more violent than female’s – I personally believe that it all down to competition, which is in a human nature, regardless of our sex. We are all want to be better, cleverer, more successful, wealthier etc. etc.
      • Feb 9 2012: Linda - I can tell you for a fact that there are plenty of men who don't fight to prove a point, show their honor, or even win the fight fair and square. I used to be on a SWAT team and I've worked with SAS, marines, etc.

        And any fight is about walking away alive. There are some men who are much more vicious than any female I have ever met. Sure, one can always find the exceptions to the rule, but when you are taking the genders as statistical classes, I would be much more likely to turn my back on a woman than a man.

        Having said that we are all humans and that means we all have good points and not so good points in all of us.
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          Feb 10 2012: Jeffrey. I think you might be right about men being physically more viscous. They tend to like things that blow up and sharp objects. Women are just as viscous but we do not have the physical prowess. We engage in what is know as lateral or horizontal violence. In that we are at least as viscous as men. For instance, go ahead and walk away, but I can still get your career, if not that I can tie you up in court for years. That's just a small illustration of what I am talking about.
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    Jan 25 2012: Perhaps because, most wrong-doers don't have the tools in their mind to apologize and make good on their mistake.
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      Jan 25 2012: There is the case of revolutions when leaders will not move even if violence breaks out. Gaddafi held power with a strong hand and even blood shed. Are they really defending what they believe in? Are their morals so out of this world that they find violence an answer to defend their rule?
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        Jan 25 2012: A moral person does not use violence.
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          Jan 27 2012: Against Adolf Hitler was there no other option but to use violence. He and his followers openly stated that what they sought was the annihilation of all opposition, Jewish, Christian, Allied... I think it was perfectly moral to use violence against him...and a duty. Was Jesus not violent in the Temple when he threw out the traders and money lenders? Was he wrong too?
      • Jan 27 2012: Violence is a biological phenomea for propagation (creating so much as posible). Violence degenerate within the development of creatures. In order to have a future for the human being it necessary to overwelm behaviour in any kind of violence
      • Jan 28 2012: With respect to the forum. Ka daffy, was an idiot. ( a dead idiot ) :)
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    Jan 25 2012: I think that there are two possibilites:
    1. The people who hold on to their positions do really believe in what they fight for. Take Adolf Hitler for example. If you have read his book "Mein Kampf" you can read that he really believed that he was doing the right thing and his believes were right, assuming it was his actual way of thinking and not just a piece of propaganda.
    2. People who are in power simply don't want to lose the luxury that their position grants them, whether their ideas are wrong or right.
    • Jan 26 2012: Koen: you are right in what you say, but there is a lot more to it. Your idea depends on a rather out of date mechanistic world view. Perhaps OK in the 19th century, but no longer. Hint: "atoms" don't exist". It all comes down to just what is human nature, anyway.
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        Jan 26 2012: Of course I understand it's not this black and white, but I believe the core of the answer in these situations lies within these two options. And yes, human nature plays a big role in everything, but I don't see human nature as unexplainable and I think trying to clarify actions by simply calling it human nature is not a right answer.
        • Jan 27 2012: Koen: what I was getting at is the internal logic of the power fans. Just as a proposition, I would say that, various dynastic extremists aside, "human nature", for probably hundreds of thousands of years has been that ,in small family groups and clans, succession of "leaders" was really not a matter of violence, but rather consensus. The assumption being that you don't do violence to "your own". Now in modern times, our groups are ever so much larger, and it is possible to talk about "them" vs. "us". But this habit that we have now is completely dependent on the idea that the them-us distintinction is "real", and justifies the violence. But I think this view is philosophical erroneous and ultimately (soon) indefensible. Sort of like the arguments about "Race"; a hundred fifty years ago it was scientifically defensible; now it is not. I think we are on the verge of finding out, as a culture, that human nature is what the Buddhists said, not the Christians.
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      Jan 26 2012: Koen: I think you're absolutely right. The need of violence to transfer power is required as people are very concrete in regards to maintaining said power. You can look at this in a macro- or micro- sense, from the individual to the State in which that individual lives. Both actors will do whatever it takes to survive (Realist theory), and that means you MUST be the actor in the hold of greater power.

      Neoliberally, one may say that cooperation between powers due to the interdependence that they have is the key to maintaining codependence. Neoliberalism is of course much more complex of a theory than Neorealism.
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    Feb 10 2012: We should determine a ranking of bad to worse in the nature of coersion and violence. Where Genocide and Rape and murder are at one extreme and refusing to share my internet access with you is at the other. Then working from the worse end we should adress how to both respond to imediatly stop such an act and work out a method for in the long term making a n end to those worse forms of violence. I was assaulted sexually at the age of 5 very damaging to me mentally, I dream all the time about a moment when humans are setting foot on the moon or mars for a permement settlement. And in the speech some one says today we have a world of man that has never known war never known murder never has it had a hand raised against another no person of any age has been raped in fact not only has no hand been raised against an other, neither has any voice been raise in anger. This is a new time a new world and we undertake a sacred vow that it shall not ever know these things.

    But that's a dream. Something in the nature of the league of nations should be reinstituted so that wherever a nation begins international or internal war or genocide , the other nations of the world could inundate them with troops carrying less lethal weapons( backed by more lethal ones should resistance to the peace keepers be to violent. )These troops should be ceded to and commanded by the UN maybe 100 troops from each county l 100 thousand troops plus or minus could pretty quickly put the brakes on some thing like Somalia or Uganda The UN should have access to the satellite intel of its security council members, and the UN should develop a air sea and space force that could in the air provide air support to UN missions, on sea carry out environmental and anti piracy & SAR. In space when privatization is the future and airliners are WMD a orbital coast guard with police powers is the only way to keep space from becoming an armed extention of nationalist conflict.
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    Feb 9 2012: "Wrong" is a relative term. What some percieve as right, others percieve as wrong due to cultural differences or different moral systems to which they are used.

    To answer your question, the people who still hold on to their positions or ideas or even habits DON'T actually know they are wrong either because they don't know the negative implications of their actions or because they choose to close their eyes and be ignorant of them.

    As to the matter of "revolutions", in my humble opinion no revolution happens without being allowed to happen. In this century, nothing is spontaneous anymore.
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    Feb 7 2012: Mind is the emperor, power rolls the rock.
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    Feb 6 2012: Hi Stefan, I think that of the three essential power bases (violence/wealth and knowledge)violence is the most readily available and inclusive of all three powers. The other two are seemingly elitist and unattainable for many so the default setting to transfer power is ultimately violence. Although not necessarily needing less thought, endeavor or tenacity, I believe violence connects via our primal instinct and not only pre-dates knowledge and wealth but will arguably conquer both in the end if allowed to endure in sufficient enough quantities. Also I see that violence can often be seen a leveler (of say race or class) and so through the ages has featured in key events where either wealth and/or knowledge have failed.
  • Feb 6 2012: Humans are social animals, the easiest way to transfer power is to cripple or destroy the thing that is currently in power. This is achieved by mostly violence because it is the easiest way to harm others.
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      Feb 6 2012: Thank you for the link Richard.
      Gene SHarp's observations are a critical peice in the resolution of non-resource based conflict.
      THis might be a critical evolutionary factor to prevent unecessary fragmentation promoted by resource injustices.
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    Jan 28 2012: because, sadly, violence is a huge part of human nature, which dictates behavior too often. We are still animals, after all, with a "superior" brain. But this human brain is often underused or bypassed by the urge to use force.

    Also this:
    Put the history of violence on a timeline: It's been used and accepted since the dawn of the human race, for thousands and thousands of years. The concepts of peaceful settlements are relatively "new". The UN was created less than a hundred years ago. What's that compared to thousands of years during which violence was a part of everyday life?

    The peaceful homo sapiens is just a toddler...

    Fortunately, there are examples that show peaceful resolutions of conflicts work: Gandhi, the revolution in Portugal, Czechoslovakia, etc.

    This shows us the 20th and 21st century human is capable of evolving and has found a new way to solve conflicts.

    Be patient, tell your children to tell their children there are many ways other than violence to make a dent in the universe.
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      Jan 29 2012: Everything is relative, time can change everything.
  • Jan 28 2012: Violence is not the way of women.
    • Jan 29 2012: Walk through an elementary school on any given day and watch 6,7 and 8 year old girls have at it like it's the Jerry Springer show.

      You know Rhona, 40 years ago I remember the quote: "Girls are sugar and spice and everything nice."
      That is just not true anymore. Not of every woman. Women are just as violent and aggressive as men. They might not have the brute strength of men, but they can still manipulate events, and attack if provoked.

      As a matter of fact, girls, even in the elementary schools are violent. I remember one particular day walking through the halls of a school, and observing pieces of hair on the floor. Upon investigation, I discovered two girls had a huge fight, and one proceeded to pull the hair of another. It was done with such hatred that the pieces came off.

      I was shocked.....I had never seen anything like it. My view of girls changed.
      • Jan 29 2012: Mary,. it seems likely that girls growing up in a male designed and male dominated system would show some perversions in their behavior, since they never received the respect and acknowledgement of their equality to men. Do you understand the self-hatred women who have anorexia and bulimia and other psychological ailments because women are taught that they are not as valuable to society as men? When girls and boys, men and women are treated as equals throughout all institutions and societal systems, both can behave normally. Men won't need machismo and women won't need their psychological distortions. Then they can all be who they really are.
        • Feb 9 2012: Rhona, I understand where you are coming from, however, if we women wait to be treated fairly and equally before changing our behaviour patterns, we will wait till the end of our days. The answer is probably in awareness and education and not in feeling sorry for ourselves.
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      Jan 29 2012: I do not know your reality, but you are sadly mistaken. There is a saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." ~ William Congreve, 1697. He wrote that for a reason. I was not kidding when I said that women are viscous.
      • Jan 29 2012: Linda, I can only assume that you are describing yourself. You insult women. Have you considered that you may be incorrect in this negative conclusion you are trying to put forth as "fact?" My experience is differerent than yours, apparently. I have reached a different conclusion than you have.
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          Jan 29 2012: If the truth insults you so be it. You have probably been enculturated in your belief and that is fine. But women are as violent if not more violent than men. We just apply it differently.
          There are many many examples in nature and we are a product of nature.

          In my experience, women participate in a type of violence that is not direct. They even have a term for it. It is called lateral violence or horizontal violence. This is the type of violence that is a sequela of oppressed group behavior.

          Just google the terms. You will find lots of hits. Your refusal to acknowledge this behavior perpetuates it.
      • Jan 31 2012: Linda, I can't figure out why you are so certain that what you utter is the truth and reach the conclusion that, since you do not agree with me, I must be wrong. At least you acknowledge that women are oppressed. I wonder how you would suggest ending the oppression of women. I am open to your positive suggestions. We will have more truth in communication, when males equal females. I wonder why men are so terrified of acknowledging their equality to women and living according to that truth that they surely must realize.
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          Feb 9 2012: Data that supports my claim? That is a common method of establishing truth. I take it you did not google anything. It's ok. It would ruin your paradigm.
        • Feb 10 2012: Hi Rhona,

          Let me ask you, do you feel that the reason thousands of women are sitting in jail today is because we continue to be oppressed, and only when we are treated as equals will we stop being violent?

          I am asking, because I think there is a breakdown of communication between you and Linda, and I want to understand both of you better.

          If women's violence is a result of....."women are taught that they are not as valuable to society as men", then why are men violent?........who are they suppose to be imitating in order to be peaceful?

          Linda you are welcomed to reply as well.
    • Jan 29 2012: I think this discussion is not for this century. Women indeed are less prone to physical violence, but that doesn't mean they can't make decisions of sending troops in other countries or nuke an enemy one. I doubt Obama thrown a punch in his life but that doesn't mean he doesn't take malevolent decisions. I think that as long as we have a system based on money and competition for survival, scarcity and crime will always exist.
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      Feb 9 2012: "Violence is not the way of women." ? You must be joking!
      Way of woman is subtle violence. Always has been, always will be.
      Killing me softly...........
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      Feb 10 2012: Rhona, You keep saying things like "violence is not the way of women" as if it was universally true.

      Three of the four most violent and destructive people I have ever had to deal with personally have been women.

      I think you may be exaggerating a tendency. Sure women are nurturing, but so are men. And men can be violent but so can women.

      It is predominantly men who fight in wars but that is partly because most cultures will not allow women to fight. When they are allowed to, they fight just as aggressively as men. (For example, women are now becoming suicide bombers.)

      Most domestic violence is perpetrated by men, but by no means, all of it.

      Your view seems to be overly simplistic and biased.

      This is not a "man thing." Nor is it a "woman thing." It is a "human thing."
      • Feb 11 2012: Thomas, Thank you for your thoughtful comments. If you were a woman who lived in a culture that treated women as they are treated within those cultures, ..............
        I respectfully disagree with you.
    • Feb 15 2012: i dont think thats true and im wondering what your basing that idea on? as i think you were already asked? we would expect a man to uphold his claims that all women were some way or another and i expect you to do the same. just becuase your a woman doenst mean you can go around saying things that sound nice with no evidence. andi would go further to say how dare you deny me a woman the right to be everything a man is and more! any violence man can do i can do better i can do anything better than you cant... yes i can... so your really limeting women by saying we are not violent. also your overlooking the fact that men are totally repressed in our society as well... and have not had the abliity to express their true nature and therefore have had create things like the underground porn industry and prostitution to secretly fullfill needs that we should accept are part of their are as repressed for example they are not supposed to express emotion but thats fine for a woman...what does that do to our society? we have a society with as its formation many years of control over our moral relational and familial lives down to a nessesity perhaps at the time to coelesc power and the only means of doing that to exploit and control both men and women their relations their bodies etc... if you want equality you have to start thinking equally first before anything in the world can change. if you yourself have such prejudiced beliefs about men and women then how can you expect the world to be any different? think of all the men who are expected to be violent without question and put down if they are not..people whove been forced to perform violence to women and violence to others just to be accepted in society soldiers who are expected to go to war and kill and not cry about it. many vets are psychologically disturbed by that and even in more subtle ways we uphold these ideas as if they were truth without question. where did these ideas come from?
      • Feb 15 2012: If men and women acknowledged their equality to each other and lived according to that truth, both would be different in ways that yield more health and happiness for both. For example, men would not need to repress their emotions, if women had 50% of the power. Maybe prostitution and pornography would disappear, when women and men are living within the truth of their equality. Maybe women and men could just be who they really are and feel no need to manipulate others to get what they need or want. I think what I think. I believe what I believe. I respect your right to think and believe differently than I do. Thank you for your expression of your true thoughts and feelings on this matter.
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    Jan 28 2012: Stefan, you posed an interesting question. Why do us, as humans fight even though we know we may be wrong, even though we know that violence is wrong. Well, I have thought about this and I found an analogy that works perfectly. Out in the wild you meet a lion. The lion is full and is not interested in you. Until you pick up a stick and poke the lion. Now, the lion would have been a 'peaceful' lion is angry. Of course as you may have guessed, the lion would most likely strike whoever poked it.

    Well the same thing works for people. In the words of a roman philosopher, give the people food and entertainment and they will never revolt. The thing is, these people in Egypt, Libya, Seryia, etc. they have been oppressed, beaten, killed, robbed, and cheated out of a fair life. So, much like the lion, these people who are no different than us, are angry and want change. Of course, the people who have the power, who have these basic life necessities and luxuries, don't want to give that up. So.... They fight.
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    Jan 27 2012: There are many forms of violence, the spilling of blood is simply the most obvious.

    Intolerance is violence.
    Exploitation is violence.
    Separatism is violence.
    Betrayal is violence.
    Injustice is violence.

    Violence is not the answer to our problems, but violence is the cause.
    • Jan 27 2012: Violence is a biological phenomea because of principal propagation (so much as posible). As more as creature are developed as more there are degenerated forms. In spite of this it is necssary to overcome this phenomea.
    • Jan 28 2012: Mr. K: violence as it stands has a useful meaning, to distinguish it from a lack of violence. I'm afraid if we accept your re-definitions, it will lose all usefulness. For example: Gandhi was "intolerant" of British Imperialism, and opposed it in various ways. So that makes him "violent"? Another point is that all of your forms of v. are almost always political issues in a society, and usually the real reason for the violence is a glaring lack of civilised procedures to address them. Take Bin Laden , for example: he had serious complaints about disrespect shown to Islam, such as the presence of foreign troops in Mohammed's home area. If there had been any readily available legal procedure for complaining about this, he probably would have tried that first, but such a scheme still does not exist. The same is true for changing regimes; the only reason for the violence is the lack of alternatives. In daily life, we can phone up the Police; internationally there is nothing better now than summmoning up a gang of like minded vigilantes, if you can find any.
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        Jan 28 2012: I have not redefined the meaning of the word violence. Here is the entry from the American Heritage dictionary of the English Language:

        vi·o·lence (v-lns) n.
        1. Physical force exerted for the purpose of violating, damaging, or abusing: crimes of violence.
        2. The act or an instance of violent action or behavior.
        3. Intensity or severity, as in natural phenomena; untamed force: the violence of a tornado.
        4. Abusive or unjust exercise of power.
        5. Abuse or injury to meaning, content, or intent: do violence to a text.
        6. Vehemence of feeling or expression; fervor.

        So, yes, to your point, Gandhi did practice a form of "technical" violence as per #6 above. Was he a violent person in any real sense of the word? Of course not, and to all of our betterment.

        Please re-examine my statement and you'll find that all of my examples are equally valid as being personal issues as they are of being political issues.
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        Jan 29 2012: Religious and political fanatics are/have been in every walk of life. And it stems from unrealistic fear.The Catholics killed in the name of God during the crusades. People in America shoot politicians from time to time. Most people are very willing to follow a strong leader. Sad to say. Look at the Tibetans. The chinese are slaughtering them even as I type this. Tibetans are largely peaceful and The Chinese government is afraid of losing it's power if people listen to the Tibetan philosophy. IGNORANCE is the root of all violence.
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    Jan 27 2012: Because power centers become violent with the fear of losing power..... so even a non violent movement they trun in to violent one with there cruel repressive measure.
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    Jan 26 2012: It seems as if humans rarely accept that they are incorrect.

    Politically, the theory of NeoRealism would describe this the best. In short, each State must do whatever it may in the International Community to survive (maintain sovereignty), as the International Community is anarchic (in a sense that there is no formal hierarchy of who is above who).

    In order to uphold as a State in the international system, you must survive.. no matter what your endogenous beliefs or cultures may be. The 'Game' is survival, the 'Rules' are to take whatever action there is available to survive.

    ..but NeoRealism is just a theory after all.
  • Jan 26 2012: Remember Gandhi? He showed the power of non violence. He called India's freedom struggle 'Satyagraha'. The word literally is a combination of two words meaning truth + request. An evolved and powerful concept.
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      Jan 27 2012: Nonviolence is true power. The world's definition of power is the use of force, but it takes almost infinite courage to refrain from use of force. In fact, a philosopher I once knew said that strength is not breaking the other's guy's nose with your fist, but really it is keeping your fingers open in order to shake hands.
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      Feb 9 2012: Ragini Lal,
      Gandhi (?), yes. Mahatma. "Satyagraha" inspired "Truth and Reconciliation" conferences lead by Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. It inspired Martin Luther King's million man march. I think it also had a role in Prague Spring (thanks Dubcek) and more recently the Arab Spring (Gene Sharp, you're one ubermensch).

      Verble, can we wield an unstoppable peace? I agree with the "almost infinite courage" required.

      • Feb 9 2012: We need more leaders who understand this concept of peaceful protest. It requires great courage and great integrity. Only a leader with great integrity can inspire great courage in his / her followers. Mahatma Gandhi was one such leader. We see a reflection in the recent protests against corruption in India by Anna Hazare too
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      Feb 9 2012: His non violence was a wonderful method, but it also relied on violence, the violence of the opposition.In fact all authority is supported by violence, the law uses imprisonment even death to punish law breakers even in this civilized peaceful world.Parents use the denial of privileges or spankings, schools take your free after school time with detentions worse they can decide to ruin your future by consistently giving you bad grades and evaluations.There exists no human interaction where one has power and authority over others with out the threat of violence in some form. The boss who can fire you, the police officer who can choose to write or no write the ticke
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      Feb 10 2012: I think Russell has a point. Gandhi didn't have an army with guns, his non-violence principle was the only strategy for him and India to counteract the ruthless brutes on the other side. If we humans ever learn, a realistic approach to a more peaceful world in the 21st century is "Satyagraha" + weapons (for self-defense only). Having said that, a world without the need of weapons and violence is of course a noble goal to strive for; in the meantime, we should work on eliminating any kind of coercion by way of sensibility and reason.
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    Jan 26 2012: A society ruled by law needs:
    1. Regularly scheduled free elections, not at the whim of the politicians.
    2. Term limits on all politicians. A politician is a representative of the people. It should never be a career.
    3. Independent media, free to criticize the government.

    Now, we have most of that here in the U.S., but we still get power hungry people winning the powerful offices. We need to follow Mark Twain's advice: Elect those who don't want the office. They're less likely to abuse it.

    Unfortunately, we haven't figured out how to go about that.
    • Jan 26 2012: well, the ancient Greeks had a scheme for this: choose legislators by lottery. Presumably , most people wouldn't want it. Sort of like jury duty. Needless say, it wasn't a smashing success. I guess the only real answer is an educated public.. We in the US have certainly slacked off drastically in that department. Our students spend lots of time doing busy work, but the results are poor, naturally. As a point of reference, the Wright Brothers, with a public school education, were able to competently engineer their airplanes by using the Newtonian high school physics they had learned at their school.
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    Jan 25 2012: Where do leaders come from… usually they are from the military (men of violence) or politicians (politics = poli = many / tics = blood suckers) so the pool of potential leaders is full of self-selected, over-confident, ego maniacs. It’s hardly surprising they find it hard to relinquish power.

    The best leaders are often the ones who have leadership thrust upon them - Gandhi was a shy man who found speaking in public incredibly difficult, as was King George VI - neither wanted fame or power yet both won the hearts and minds of millions through their commitment and their humility.
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    Jan 25 2012: Because some people have a problem letting go of power and you have to beat it out of them.
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    Jan 25 2012: Because it is natural and normal and has always been thus. Anyone enjoying power will rarely give it up willingly...only those who have been forced into power will do so rationally. All animals with hierarchical structures change hierarchies with a demonstration of physical strength, usually violent. I think it is genetically ingrained. Any amount of rationality that we enjoy can't cope against 2 million years of conditioning...but the situation will change, gradually, over time.
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      Jan 26 2012: I'm afraid you're right about the genetic propensity to exercising power by violence. Just less optimistic about that changing. But we can hope.
      • Jan 26 2012: Well, cheer up. Taking the long view, groups managing a rule of law have gotten ever larger, and the cycles of "civilisaton" made to seem more "normal" throughout recorded history. We will no doubt forever have a "tendency" to violence, just as we have a "tendency" to get drunk, but that doesn't force us to do anything. I would say flatly, that all the terrible atrocities of the last hundred years were NOT "caused" by these tendencies, but rather because, as an example, in 1914, there was simply no "alternative" but to fight. Just as in our recent Iraq war: there was no law against it, and those in power simply could not imagine any alternative. Such is our Half barbaric condition right now.
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        Feb 2 2012: Saw a documentary on Steven Pinker's new book which describes how, with the establishment of the state, societies are actually becoming less and less violent...though the news seems to concentrate on it more and more.
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          Feb 2 2012: Yes, I think that's probably right. It's easy to forget how violent the less regulated societies in our past (even our recent past) were. But I would guess that the improvements have come mostly from laws & policing and the moral habits/customs that have grown out of that history. If the policing disappears, as could happen in a widespread and deep crisis, the moral compunctions brought about by custom would quickly yield, and we would revert to our basic fight for survival. The veneer of civilization is still a thin one.
    • Jan 28 2012: David: about the hierarchies' changes: in the animal world, it seems that it is not really "violent", but more like a demonstration of strength; very little damage is done, compared to humans. But even we, frequently use "elections" as a demonstration of power. It is enough, ususally.
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        Feb 2 2012: So you've never seen elephant seals mortally wound each other in a fight for dominance, or fighting stags, or lions emasculate pretenders by biting off their genitals, hippos bite each other's tails off so they can't spread their scent...
  • Feb 16 2012: i think your intuitively correct in that but as you aslo say the power structure itself is a male shaped thing ....and really what women excel at is complicated heirarchies not linear ones we excell at inclusive comunities not exclusive ones. as you say thatcher had to cut off her tits to join the club but we are free to create our own clubs now and disengage with male shaped governance we have room to man or womaneuvre and build alternative structures which build our own wealth based on need to provide for our kids food shelter etc and not profit nad bussiness which is meaningless to a hungry child. we have many practical abilities which even the normal man on the street cant get his head around like how to cook a potatoe cos theyre off in the clouds and just sticking a fifty percent limit on the amount of men in power i think is unfair. theres not as amany women in politics for a start and its a free vote if people wanted to vote for a woman they would but if you had to have ewuality forced i dont think thats a good thing. imagine we had to have sarah palin hand in hand with obama jsut to make things fair? do you really think women need to be handed the equality? just to make things fair? like its a bit patronizing..or matronizing perhaps.
  • Feb 13 2012: It is odd, but some what expected, that a conversation of revolutions and needing violence to transfer power turns into an argument about gender equality. To make my (most likely) last comment on the gender issue, Miss Pavis, you seem to be a great example of" holding onto our positions or ideas even if we know we are wrong" aka scientific evidence, even googling such things about how the human psych works proves your stance wrong. I believe (to try to answer the original question of this conversation) that we believe we are right and rightous in our beliefs and ways, we as humans don't like to be proven wrong. For example say a (Man 1) kills (Man2) for killing (Man1)s brother, later when (Man 1) learns that his brother murdered and defiled (Man2)s family, he will most likely deny that his brother would do that and that he was set up or the other man lied etc. etc. Obviously not the best example as there are many other variables in that senario. My point is, we like being right, for our self confidence and to complete certain acts we must make ourselves belief that our path is the right one.

    Hope this helps even a little bit.
  • Feb 12 2012: Thomas Jones, (No reply button next to your name so I'm replying here.) Thank you for expressing your true thoughts and feelings on the subject. Sometimes things have impacts that are far reaching. When battles between people, e.g., Ireland and England, Greece and Turkey, go on for hundreds of years does anyone remember the cause, the actual cause, of why one group of people started hating the other group enough to want them dead and take action to bring about their death? Yet, the group that has no idea or memory of the cause of the hostility, will participate as though the battle were their own. It is possible that the big lie that it's okay for males to dominate females in every part of society is exactly what is screwing up our otherwise loving world. I appreciate your input to this discussion, because it is apparent that you are seeking truth. Right on!
    • Feb 17 2012: firstly yes i think man and women are equal the only difference being physical. i do not think that humans are born loving but are raised to be that way. they are born as blank slates with minor mental and physical characteristics that effect their out look on life. most wars are started not do to gender differences but because of religion or for monetary gain of land and resources. many religions also state that women are 'inferior' the bible being one of them. so many of the wars would not have been stopped if a women was in charge for they would have still would have been raised in the same way that the men where. but by today's standards women are treated for better then they have in the past. and as the ignorance of the past is slowly corroded away with time and proper education equality becomes ever closer. (so long as religion stays out of the system and the system stays out of religion)
      • Feb 17 2012: Randy, I respectfully disagree with you. I believe all humans are born loving. Of course warped adults can grind that out of a person. Male aggression is involved in wars. That would diminish under conditions of female/male equality. Religions are male-made, male-dominated and tend to place and keep males in superior positions with relation to women. Yes, women in the USA and some northern European nations have it better now than they did in the past. Let's keep improving. I never, ever, ever recommend female domination. I am for EQUALITY between males and females in all areas of life. It is the complementarity and cooperation that will make our world a happy place to be for all.
  • Feb 10 2012: Good point. I wasn't thought of the less tangible forms of violence. Thus, sticks and stones may break my bones, but dammit, words can really hurt...

    I also think that social isolation can be very cruel. There was a girl in my junior high who had been ostracized by all the girls in the school and then eventually most of the boys. I have always felt bad about participating in that even in a small way. When I think about it now, I feel deep shame for my actions (lack of action and backbone) back then and I have vowed to make sure it doesn't happen to anyone I see or know about on my watch. At least that is the ideal, one which I fall short of.

    That said, I feel that men and women bring different thoughts, experiences and wisdom to the table. We would do well to use that combined wisdom, experience and knowledge to our advantage rather than continuing to ignore 50% of our potential because someone else has secondary sexual characteristics that we don't share.

    To use an example from my SWAT background. When not reacting to emergency situations (which were, thankfully, less often than they could have been) I worked with non SWAT officers. There was one female officer who was a genius of spotting concealed weapons at the distance of about 1 city block. It was uncanny. She just knew based on a number of subtle clues such as stance, gait, and the way they presented themselves and how their clothes were hanging on them. Damned if I could get even close to that level.

    Another female officer was very good at defusing situations using words. And I can tell you that not all of the male officers were even half as good as that. It is always better to never have to use violence.

    During the Yukon Gold Rush the entire territory was policed by a few NWMP "mounties" lead by a man called Sam Steele. Rumor has it that he is the foundation of the "one riot, one mountie" ideal. He kept the peace during chaos without backup. We should all be so good at our jobs.
  • Feb 10 2012: Good question. There is only one real answer IMO. And that is that people are subjected to authority and hierarchy without any formal orientation to those concepts or knowledge that there are alternatives. It's understandable that parents must establish an authoritarian hierarchy although not necessarily hard-edged in their families to establish an "order" so that collective progress can be made. But after a time, the same order of power is invoked in society in a myriad ways where people are invariably called at times to yield to authority whether they understand or agree with it or not. People manipulate this--none more so than in religion and politics (which often lead to militarism which is the extreme edge of hierarchical authority). There is one thing that has come along to offer a near universal alternative--although we have yet to conventionalize it. And that is the achievement of a secondary plane of existence called "cyberspace".

    The Internet is NOT cyberspace. Cyberspace is bigger than the net. It's a way to see all things in two manners rather than one. If we don't have to assemble in real space and time where we need hierarchy and authority to create the grounds for order and progress but have technology which allows us to interact across the entire spectrum of time, we can and eventually will establish cooperative order which leads to collective progress without hierarchy and authoritarian political decorum. There is a key to understanding how to view this potential so that "order" becomes obvious and worthwhile. I have spent my last 20 years thinking in terms of a duality in which cyberspace--not the Internet as it currently exists in primitive text and commercialism--cyberspace is a conventionalized realm of reality. I therefore consider myself a cyberculture theoretician and have more ideas than I can possibly fulfill on how to change the world for the better.
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    Feb 10 2012: Rhona,

    I believe domination is inherant to power use, so it's not a question of gender. Violence is more about the lack of faith in ourselves. Imagine the number of people living in a country compared to the number of military or police all put together. How come, so little control and submit so many? That's the essential question.

    About women domination, you have a clear exemple in northern europ countries, we can all see that they are ruling pretty much like men, but on certain subject they are more flexible and more compassionate. That is what makes a difference: "Compassion".

    In our society, we've been teaching so many things, but upto now, in our schools, we have no room for compassion; we are living that subject to the individual seek, which is an error. Pay attention to kids coming from loving family, they are more bound to transmit love than kids coming from violent family. Not that this is absolute, as many throughout life find their way of getting out of the egoistic cloud and straighten their path. But in general, giving love brings more love around.

    Violence is a way of solving matters when there is no more compassion in the basket of action. If we educate our children to be compassionate and less judgemental with differencies, we will be having a way better world in the next two generation.

    I have organised a weekly program for my kids to teach them compassion and discuss it. They are calling for it every sunday afternoon and they have invited a friend of them to join the group; they are only 10 and 8 years old.
    My point is that compassion can be taught, it's not created in us, but as we are all loving people at the base, we need to exercise our children to show and express it.
  • Feb 10 2012: we dont need violence to transfer power... we just need to stop giving it away all the time.. if youve ever been in a realtionshipw here there is a power struggle.... you fight when you feel weak usually you are angry because you gave some power away and then someone took advantage... say you gave up going out with friends to meet your lover but then they meet theri friends and decide to change their plans get mad and you fight and there is power struggle because you have given someone power and they have abused you fight to win back that doesn work usually he will be defensive after all he si only looking out for his own interests ...whats wrong with that... nothing so long as i do the same. so i think the macro reflects the micro in a lot of ways... we are told to do what is accepted we do it but we have different desires and we get frustrated and they build up and we then blow up at the restricting forces and demand change... but we could just as easily assert ourselves consitently and individually...part of the reflected process is that we all fear to assert ourselves alone..we dont think our voice will be heard if we speak out alone ...even among those who propose leaving these restricted social paradigms behind they bring with them the fear of individualism... and take on a reflection of the powerfull one and fight it...and really the powerfull system we see as so established is only a lot of people ordinary you and me... and

    theres also this thing in jung..about the shadow you have a psotive self image or ego part and you say this is me i believe also at the same time create a shadow part...which you usually ascribe to your you say i am a good vagan they are a bad meateater... rather than understanding the meateater within yourself you disidentify with we disidentify with our enemies rather than see that theyre faults are our faults our strengths are therye strengths...
  • Feb 9 2012: I don’t mean to limit the concept of violence to ‘bad intent’ or acts of aggression and should not have to remain true to the topic. A smashing glass is just movement. If you slow it down it can become a very graceful vision.
    In the context of this conversation, the views people are ‘holding on to’ are causing conflict and being resolved through violence. That has nothing to do with shame or regret (fallibility was my original point), but these conflicts are due to real beliefs (right or wrong aside). It is odd that we project something opposite of ourselves onto others as if they are different from us. Do you hold onto your position when you are wrong? No, you first deny you are wrong because you cannot see it. If you are proven wrong you may deny it, but you would no longer risk death over it! The human mind must adjust gently to change. Then why do we think that others do not behave as we would? The failure to resolve the conflict without violence is the shame caused by the holding on to ideas whether right or wrong.
    There should be no shame or regret in defending yourself and your rights if you are have not incited such action. In some cases a gentle group must fight or be trampled by those who would commit dirty deeds.
    The beginning is a choice: where you place it determines whether it is violent or not. Two friends on the American continent can, if they chose to, select the War for independence as the key component to their friendships beginning. An artist can chose to, if he/she wishes to, understand how the paint was made and consider it a violent start. The same friendship could choose to recognize that many beautiful loves had to happen in order for them to be born and become friends. So, violent or not. irrelevant. Beginning is irrelevant and pointless in this conversation, let’s abandon it.
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    Feb 9 2012: "Why do we need violene to transfer power?"

    Well, you said that. Not me.
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    Feb 9 2012: Hi Stefan Molnar

    Here's another way to look at it.
    We need violence because as much as we realize we should "just say no," we are addicted to the glory, pride, and sense of control or power.

    Or it's sort of an illness (a learning disability?) of our species. (We failed the final exam TWICE! See history of WWI "the war to end all wars" and then WWII yes, another lesson not learned, and then the cold war big idea is in fact MAD = Mutually Assured Destruction and "Detente.") We should know better, but often we forget... again and again.

    Catch 22:
    We (industrialized nations with military industrial complexes) only know to fight fire with fire because no one has shown us the Fire Extinguisher. What??? You expect that we should think for ourselves??? Are you crazy??? [:-)

    Can Romania loan us (USA) a few billion dollars, just to tide us over? Please?? We seem to have misplaced our national guard. They were here a moment ago... Hmmm.

  • Feb 7 2012: We needed violence when respect went out of style. Violence induces fear. If fear is ignored(courage), violence would go out of style too.

    Bring back respect, throw away fear.
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    Feb 7 2012: What do we afriad ? The Overwhelming force.
    Violence is not a necessary part of Revolutions. But it`s most effective way to change power. Just review the past time.Except the Glorious revolution. The other revolutions, most of it were develop with war.Or there is no blood in some revolution,but it failed. So,I never think there will be a no blood revoluntion in future, at less in the next 100 years
    .Even we are Civilized Person and we hope peace.But the benefit between two countries will break the peace and war will begin when the talks fail.I don`t know the power you talk about is big or small.But as a Civilized Person,small power means little benefits and we don`t need to use violence.BUT if the power is big,everything will become more serious.Many people will use any way to get the power even dirty means.That will help you understand why violence is necessary in transfer power.
    But i hate violence.So,I try to make myself much stronger and won`t afraid the dirty means and violence.
    Forgive my poor english.
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    Feb 6 2012: It depends on what you mean by "power". In a systemic structure that frames "power" as something someone/group holds OVER another, then the very nature of that "power" is inherently violent. If you're talking about "power" as something that comes from within, and/or that is cultivated and shared collectively, you won't be faced with the dilemma you raise in your question.
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    Feb 6 2012: I think the basic reason for violence is pampering one's ego. The best way to pamper one's ego is to show off to the world what you have and they don't. Somewhere, when you realize you have power, because of this basic need of pampering one's ego, you feel a strong urge to exercise you power and show it off to the world. You are in constant search of an opportunity, a reason to get in a fight with someone and exercise your power via violence. Violence is the most visible form of display of power which helps achieve the end goal of pampering one's ego.
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    Feb 6 2012: Power fundamentally is violence. If I use the power that my advanced medical and food production tech gives me to influence you and your people what I am really doing is implying that Ill deny it if you dont agree with me.

    Its the same as letting you know that if you do z to y Ill blast you into X-rays

    the only way to transfer power is by taking the personal power you use to support what ever version of violence your government is engaged in and away and using it to support some other option. Violence is power. If everyone was personally armed with a world destroying bomb we would have peace,, the peace of the tomb. If no one had weapons someone would invent one to topple the strongest guy. If we all supported a global rule of law then it would have to be truly equal and impartial. No Justice No Peace.
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    Feb 5 2012: I think one has to understand the conflicting drives within social creatures.
    Although conflicting, these drives serve essential purposes.
    1. THe social drive - this is beneficial in times of abundance - it drives grouping and promotes sharing.
    2. The territorial drive - this is beneficial in times of scarcity - it drives dispersal and promotes owning/taking/competition.
    The territorial drive operates to kill surplus individuals when equal share amongst the population would result in all dieing.
    THe affect of scarcity has a step-wise transition on populations - the international community fragments into nations, then the national community fragments into tribes, tribes fragment into families, families fragment into mating-pairs.
    There is no actual wrong or right in any of it - it just is.

    However - I would argue that the true state of abundance is not properly recognised - that the default territorial drive tends to kick-in prematurely and hold sway inapropriately.
    Violence will certainly be required in times of true scarcity.
    If you want to reduce it, you will need to educate the species about the true availability of resources.
    As it stands, the inapropriate application of competition is actually creating scarcity.
    Perhaps the species has to evolve to get better balance between these drives.
  • Feb 5 2012: Multi-party (parliamentary) democratic systems seem to work pretty well, especially when combined with inalienable fundamental human rights. I'm pretty sure that was a human invention, and perhaps to Rhona's dismay - an invention of a bunch of old white men.
  • Feb 3 2012: To say that violence has simply to do with men running the show is ridiculous and that in itself is a radical feminist point of view. Women are capable of as much and at times even more violence than men, it's all relative. Now when you are speaking of Power, the word suggests one force that dominates another, therefore for such a thing to take place, the weaker force must bow to the stronger force, if it doesnt, the stronger force will use any means necessary to surpress it. Violence will always take place in human nature, it has nothing to do with being male or female and anyone who says otherwise is living completely blind in their own little reality.
    Check the prison system Rhona...the crimes comitted by women at times are the most sadistic brutal crimes, involving their own defensless children! I get you're feeling upset with the male population, you must have your reasons, but to generalise like that will get you no where.
  • Feb 2 2012: Because power never submits without a fight.
  • Feb 2 2012: Erin, I am responding to your comment here because there is no reply button by your name. "Women would make better leaders than men." This is your statement. This is an incorrect conclusion. I believe that males and females, working together as complementary, cooperative EQUALS, are the solution to all the excessive violence in the world. You know very well there is an excess of totally unnecessary violence in this world and you know that it is happening where men and women are not in equal power. I wonder why men are so terrified to admit that they are equal to women. Certainly, I acknowledge the differences, so please don't say the word "equal" means the same thing as the word "same." Thank you.
  • Feb 2 2012: We don't need violence to transfer power. Most transitions of power go without any struggle. For instance when a CEO steps down there is usualy a mutual agreement. When a new government is chosen the power also transfers.

    Ofcourse your question is much more focussed on the dictatorial regimes that have been / will be overthrown.
    However there are 2 'errors' in your way of thinking.
    The first comes from the line "Why do we, humas, hold on to our positions or ideas even if we know we are wrong?".
    People don't have it in them to know they are wrong. For which I'd like to point out to you the term cognitive dissonance which is a term for when someone has 2 (or more) conflicting thoughts. Basicly when someone realizes 'it could have been done better' he still cannot really admit failure to himself. You should hear some politicians talk their way out of saying they were wrong. ("With the knowledge I had then I could not have forseen blabla etc. etc. -> I made the best judgement given all of the previously mentioned random statements"). Also there is some research (but I forgot which) that basicly sais that when you disagree with someone openly, due to the cognitive dissonance, he will most likely become a more radical believer of his own believe.

    The other actually is discussed in the talks by Zimbardo (also here on ted). Which is that power corrupts. See his 'prison experiment'.

    So when a dictator's ideas of how the society should look like gets protested by the inhabitants. He will (most likely) become more radical believer in his own ideas. And because he's somewhat corrupted by power and has militairy command it can only end badly.
  • Feb 1 2012: what do you mean by wrong?who?the activist or the ones on the top of the system?
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    V Raj

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    Feb 1 2012: People who seem to have made it into a Gender Issue!

    Come on friends I humbly suggest that you all please go back to the History Books and refresh your history is filled with both Men & Women resorting to VIOLENCE only as the last resort of protest and not because of their Gender :-)

    And please don’t forget that No Revolution has ever achieved its desired result without the sacrifice of Both Men & Women in equal numbers!
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    V Raj

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    Feb 1 2012: A Great Thinker was right on the dot when he said that ‘Power Corrupts People’ and the addiction of Power, benefits that it brings with it is so intoxicating that people would rather cling on to it than have the wisdom to give it or not misuse it.

    Power is primarily of Three Kinds...
    One that is given to you by the position you hold!
    One that is given to you by the people – out of respect for the position that you hold!
    And Third and the most Corrupting One is the one that you start Imagining in your head coz you are in the position of power!

    A Combination of the above is the most lethal poison and it doesn’t take long for it to corrupt one morally. Power also makes you weak as it gives you an impression that as soon as you give up your, you would lose everything – love, respect, benefits etc. and one is left on making all mistakes possible to cling on to it and end up being less Intolerant, more Exploitative and in doing so politics of Separatism, Betrayal, Vengeance becomes your best friends and you become paranoid.

    History is filled with people who have been dethroned by force as they kept on clinging on to the power long after it was time for them to relinquish it and let an able and sensible person take control of affairs.

    The argument that a democratic process of selecting our leaders is also not perfect as the very same people to whom we select using a democratic process uses all means possible to create an environment which would allow them to remain in power for as long as possibly thus questioning as to what is the best way possible!

    Change therefore doesn’t come so easily and violence is generally used by both parties to put their point across... the one in power does it to rein-in the change seekers whereas the Change seekers resort to violent means of protest to protect and probably to convey that We are ready for an all out war!
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    Feb 1 2012: Yeah, violence is very effective to some people, but the number of those is very little.
    Violence should be performed to people who are extremely self-centered or do harm to others.
    However, in this case we have to really think twice or more that people and government that we're trying to perform violence is so wrong that we use the worst means.
    And 'cause we're human, we hold on to our positions. There are no needs to supply this theory.
    In origin, we were born to be self-centered, so we could love ourseleves, and marched for better life.
    So this point is strength for human and also weak point to people.
    Consequently, we have to keep appropriate degree to be respected from others or keep our positions rightly.
  • Jan 30 2012: To me, there is a systems angle to this question - simply put anytime something new is introduced, no matter the context (economic, ecological or politcal), there wil be conflict. So to answer the question - no violence is not needed, but there needs to an infrastructure already in place to minimize the conflict caused by the political change.

    So the realistic answer is yes political change brings violence and the greater the change the greater the violence.

    Yet, on the positive side, there is infastructure that is slowly being built to minimize violence brought about by politcal change around the world. Revolutionaries (or insert your favorite term here) are not as isolated as their counterparts were in the 20th century.

    Peace movements are desireable, but without a decent organizational structure in place, and without access to enough infastructure to meet the basic needs of the movement, it is just like spitting in the wind.
  • Jan 29 2012: Well, first of all, if you think revolutions are a type of mass manipulation, you are a cynical. I think that as we evolve technologically, changes that are very hard to predict, take place. And i also don't believe that we, as humans hold on to our positions. Only the rich people who have a very good life hold on to this socio-economic system. And these people are a few but they concentrate a massive amount of power in their hands. They are in privileged positions, and many of them are also unsane psychologically speaking. They are money and power junkies that will do anything to preserve things as they are, so they can get more and more. But that's impossible when a communications revolutions happen, like the Gutenberg movable type printing, the telegraph/telephone, the TV and now the Internet and all the technological marvels that keep popping at an exponentially faster pace.

    We are at a crucial time in history, in which we make the step towards a real economy and sustainable one or we face extinction like Jeremy Rifkin said in his Empathic Civilization talk (I recommend watching the full 50 minutes talk on youtube RSA channel). What happens now all around the world is the result of awareness growth due to this interconnected online society. The establishment is rigid and they react the only way they know: brutal (see SOPA/PIPA/ACTA, police interventions against protesters, and the retraction of the money by banks, to name a few). So it's up to us, the more aware people from society to spread this awareness even farther and to come with solutions. And fortunately the billionaires who come from behind and are starting to really diminish the power of oil industry and other obsolete industries, are people with a broader view and without pshychopathological issues like some 20th century fossils. I really think that if we can't abolish this monetary system an change to something else, the more powerful people from the IT rvolution become, the better chance we have!
  • Jan 29 2012: Mark, (There was no reply thing by your name so I'm replying here.) It is not "us" versus "them." It is us cooperating with them to make our world better for them and us. I agree with you that Margaret did what she needed to do. Perhaps you do not understand what I am trying to say. Males and females complement each other. Working together cooperatively, we can and will elevate the well-being of humanity. Pretending that one gender has a right to dominate, results in an undealthy, unhappy society for all. Perhaps the UN or some international group has statistics demonstrating the prosperity of nations related to equality of females and males. Egypt is just one country. Norway is just one other country. Consider the status of women within these countries and consider the health, longevity, prosperity, education and other factors that reflect well-being of human beings. I wonder what conclusions you reach.
  • Jan 29 2012: Nobody ever got rich being nice.
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      Jan 29 2012: And nobody who got rich being mean is truly content.
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        Feb 2 2012: Interesting that even in speeches like this one by Shawn Anchor in order for people to really pay attention he has to stress that being nice and focusing on positive things will eventually make you richer with better chances of promotion and not just happy. I thought the point of the talk was to point people away from things like ambition for power and money.
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    Jan 28 2012: Hi Stefan Molnar
    Sometimes the best part of a TED conversation is the question. Thank you for an excellent question!

    Be back soon...

    PS Why tolerate violence at all? In other words, why not seek the same kinds of regime changes that make things more fair and equitable, but stick to a rule of only non-violent action? According to some like Gene Sharp (movie produced about his ideas "How to Start a Revolution") the BEST way to make change for the better is non-violent action. I think the gist of it is to be irritatingly passive and completely non-compliant with oppressive regimes. It takes everybody openly acting together to get the full effect...
    • Feb 11 2012: Mark,

      Maybe we should start in our hearts, our homes, our schools....
      If the definition given above is adequate, how about the violence between the genders?
      We have a long way to go, we the most endangered species.
  • Jan 28 2012: There will always be people that are uncomfortable with change.
    • Jan 29 2012: Your comment reminded me of a quote:

      "Have you ever noticed the only person who likes change is a wet baby?" Joan Lunden
  • Jan 28 2012: Philip Slater in a bok called "EarthWalk" gives some interesting insight on this. Slater writes that "a machine-like response in the face of danger had no value until men began making war on each other".

    Evolution, suggested Slater, selected for "machine-like" thinking in terms of organization that cancelled the individual in favor of collective warfare that sacrified the individual to a greater cause. As a consequence, we tend to think in terms of collective organization to protect our personal interests."Greatest good for the greatest number". Dawkins, of course, gave us the "selfish gene", which then replicates itself as near perfectly as possible, generation to generation. To do so, the gene would need control of its immediate environment as much as possible, and cede control only in terms of what was mutually beneficial to neighboring genes. A machine-like response in the face of danger, therefore, would best serve the interest of the "genetic replicative algorithm", and allow for a greater control of environment and territory.

    The biological "algorithm" therefore, would tend to select machine-like responses in the face of all threats, which would further make those religions that successfully proselytize the most successful in the evolutionary scheme. That is why successful religions also condone war as an extension of "God's will". The same "algorithms" that produced nation-states also produced religions. This suggests that the individual should not take part in either religion or government.
  • Jan 28 2012: I would not say violence but "use of force". And it is part of our "defensive" instincts. Knowledge and the bargaining capacity have replaced the "use of force" as humanity evolved. But even the most educated people are capable of violence. When a violent conflict starts there are two opposing points. And both of them have the "reason". And as time goes by two things can happen. One side wears down and gives up, or a violent confrontation starts. If any state starts putting pressure on people sooner or later this people will fight back, the primal instinct that drives us to defend what we think is good will emerge and we will put more energy in defending what we think is right
  • Jan 28 2012: Because peaceful ways do not work. Otherwise, violence or military force is a symbol of one country's comprehensive strength, such as at present U.S. are planning using military force to fight against Iran in order to frighten Iran.
    • Jan 28 2012: An ex-History major, I have been puzzling over your idea that "peaceful ways do not work". What in the world could you mean by that?! It is surely not obvous that warlike ways work. Take the famous example of WW2: the British in particular took up the idea that it was necessary for them to fight Germany. Exactly why is a mystery, since Hitler was long known as an admirer of the British, and there were really no significant issues, outside of some injustices left over from the Treaty of Versailles. But anyway, under the inspiring leadership of Churchill, whose main interest was preserving the British Empire , the Monarchy, and the culture that went with it, the Brits managed to cleverly entice the US, and the Soviets as well, into an alliance to carry out the project of "winning the war". As a predictable result of that , the British Empire was destroyed, and yet another despotic government was enabled to flourish, for a while. And both "enemies", defeated, flourished even more, as Britiain declined. How can that be said to "work"? And our present project of "being strong" (= becoming bankrupt) vis a vis the Moslem world, how could anyone think that our becoming the British of the modern world, is "working"?!
  • Jan 28 2012: Hi Stefan! Life is a box of chocolates, you will never know, which one you get. :) Enticing question! :)
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    Jan 28 2012: March 7, 1797. Thomas Jefferson takes office.The incumbent Federalists lost their power to the Democratic-Republicans. This is the first time in history in which a power shift of this scale peacefully takes place. It is possible for power to change hands in a peaceful way. Any type of representational democracy in the world exemplifies that. So it is not so much of a need as more of a trend throughout human history, that can be broken.
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    Jan 27 2012: It is the perverted nature of power over other humans that dictate when power survives and when it falls. Through nothing except violence has power over the masses been maintained. Violence comes in clothing other than just physical: Emotional, verbal, spiritual, intellectual and sexual, just to name the renowned. It is possible through each, or any of these. their power over the masses may falter, although, it's not likely. The dissidents or resisters will run out of patience, or be infiltrated by enemy subservients who will spark the violence, then the mob will follow and the rulers will send their armies to crush them. I don't mean to nit-pick words, but in the case of populations breaking free, I don't think there ever has been a true revolution in the last couple of centuries, except in Cuba. The rest have been nothing more than reformations. Just my opinion. Interesting subject matter, thanks for the question.I think we are seeing nothing more than the trailings of the french revolution in our streets today, New generations struggling against the same power stuctures and the same false democracies, ruled by the same shadowy empires. Lichtensteins, Rothchild, Kaiser, Ottoman,etc., etc. Violence is what they do best, not only against us, but they trick us into becoming their violent tools and armies to inflict their false democracy on others, over, and over, and over, again. The united states of embarrassment has invaded over thirty other countries since its inception, following the genocide of the previous inhabitants in this country. Fear is all these people know and violence is their only remedy. so sad...
    It has been explained to me by others that this innate fear that seems to be born into every soul of this land is a direct symptom of the disease they brought with them from Europe. It is the disease to possess. It will destroy great nations.
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    Jan 27 2012: Might i point out that the consept of 'wrong' here is debatable. What is wrong, and why is it wrong? what is worth fighting for, and to what end? The forces of the french enlightenment fought for rights and liberties that the working-classes a mere century later sought to remove. Later again, this search led to revolutions. Revolutions that sparked the creation of brutal regimes which later again were overthrown.
    A powershift might be sparked by good intentions, but when the shift is complete, then what? When does fighting for ideals become wrong? Or is it wrong in the first place? And if so, is there other ways for the oppressed to remove the oppressor?
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    Jan 27 2012: Because power corrupts.
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    Jan 26 2012: I believe that those in power would like to keep it that way...
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    Jan 26 2012: this is not a matter of violence or power but its an idea for existing for those who feel the ownership of power but if they consider it as career which a load allot to burden against high income then it will become more easy to evaluate in terms of hassle around it.
    another reason would be the quantity of changes happens around each transfer for individuals and corporation connect to the power sources, the NET that powers and power owner creates are not easy to monitor and specify unless you remove or replace the source!! What if we have a system to specify those NET members before they lose their source?
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    Jan 26 2012: Very simply, we do not need violence to transfer power: it is simply the most visual and often the quickest path. To us humans, the difference between peaceful resistance and violent uprising is akin to wearing down a boulder by pouring water over its surface to just smashing it to pebbles with a sledgehammer.
  • Jan 25 2012: As in the George Orwell book "Animal Farm", the concept of "all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" will always prevail in the evolution of mankind (cultures, societies etc). certain people will always rise to the top of the food chain (programming through their upbringing and values). Such people will enjoy their power position, and will get into conflict when interacting with other people in similar powerful positions. When such powerful people collide, and get into conflict over matters (energy, food, water resources etc); then each person will hold their ground whether right or wrong to get what they need in order to maintain their own position of superiority, credibility, and integrity within their own organisational hierarchy.
    Highly powerful people are usually running high on tostesterone, and truly believe in their own ideals. If such people are apposed in their mission, such people can easily resort to violence to realise their goals. You see lighter/ smaller scale examples of this sort of behaviour amongst highly driven/ tostesterone fuelled sportsmen resorting to blows over a football game.
    When the stake are bigger/ gains higher and teams bigger; this is when armies or gangs rise up to delivering the leaders demands...
    Even through evolution and becoming civilised, the easy option for most people in powerful positions to get what they want is to resort to violence squash any opposition and take what they need.
  • Jan 25 2012: I don't believe that we hold to our positions when we know they are wrong. It is more likely that we are refusing to acknowledge it when we are not right in an unconscious fashion. Coming to an opposition of yourself IS one the most dramatic processes that occurs in the Human Species.

    Don't forget that we are animals as well and while this is not an excuse to be used to do what we will, it is very important if you intend to under why we behave the way we do.

    When you get right down to it, is there anything that has come about in this universe that has not had a violent beginning? Even a seed must split open it's casing before the sapling emerges. Even a drop of rain is burst apart before it can deliver its virtue.
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      Feb 9 2012: Li Chen
      I believe we hold our positions when we know they are wrong.
      We are animals that sense shame, regret, and fallibility. If I am wounded, I may become stronger. But if I kill you or you kill me, as in war, our humanity suffers irreparable damage. Perhaps the question is whether or not we can collectively sense our common humanity.

      Anything that has come about in this universe without a violent beginning? Perhaps the birth of a friendship? Creation of a piece of art? A song? Learning? Diplomatic conversation? Practicing philosophy? A prayer? Renaissance? Science? Medicine (as in "do no harm")? Dance? Poetry? Virtue? Kindness? Empathy? Love?

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    Jan 25 2012: money and power are some of the craziest drugs on earth and will warp anyones mind who takes them
    a mad person does not think logically they just do what ever it takes to calm the masses
  • Jan 25 2012: Guess it's because we--human beings are not rational enough.
    Many biased thoughts, personal ambitions, and selfishness are the main factors that prevent ourselves from being totally rational.

    But the thing is that using violence is not a desirable thing even if it's effective.
    (I think if we really have to use violence inevitably, we should use it only as a last resort.)
    • Jan 26 2012: I suggest that the violence comes because we are TOO "rational" in the sense of sticking to a fanatic scheme regardless of cost, even to one's self . Let's be realistic about it: our present world view, especially in the West, is half barbaric , and based on warped ideas thousands of years old. Especially the Theistic ones. I believe the Buddhists are about the only major group not sucked into this sort of thing, except in minor lapses. As our scientific thinking evolves, we are going to find out that the Golden Rule, or even better, the Silver Rule (of Mencius) is actually a logical inference from what Human Nature is really like. So cheer up.; its going to be all right.
      • Jan 28 2012: Hi Shawn,
        Even though I don't agree with you, your comment is a quite thought-provoking idea!
        And there are some parts I should learn from your attitude.
        Thanks for your reply:)

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    Jan 25 2012: Any major transition requires a new resource input because something or someone has to be displaced. Its a physical thing like trying to move in to a house the past gang wants to retain and occupy. Violence is one of the oldest resources used in male dominated societies. The objective of those in power is to maintain status quo. Once you talk about power ( as the word) it implies strength and history associates strength to be muscle. When we have say 60% women in power then the violence would be scratching eyes out (less violent) and when it is about transfer of power based on knowledge and merit then it may be an exam which is not violent but will be very competitive. SO violence will end when our competitive expression changes to other forms of aggression. But for "transfer of power" violence/strength will remain the core attribute to change any power centre which is male dominated.
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      Jan 25 2012: Violence is a purely animalistic reaction. Truly human individuals can see the power of the pen, let's say , rather than that of the sword. A male dominated society shouldn't be restricted to enforcing ideas through violence. I am Romanian, and a mock revolution is taking place. Violence is not used anymore, but nothing changes.
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      Jan 26 2012: "Violence is one of the oldest resources used in male dominated societies."

      Violence is one of the oldest resources used in societies. Period. It hasn't mattered who was in charge. Female leaders have been every bit as bloodthirsty.
    • Jan 26 2012: Geez, Uday, I think I would prefer to be shot rather than have my eyes scratched out.