We are inclined  to call certain acts as violent  and others as peaceful . And then make judgements based on an incomplete understanding or partial and defective knowledge . The truth of a fact is that it is only in the Here and Now we experience things , or do acts or even think . Nobody does anything in the Past nor lives in the past or enjoys the past or nobody acts in the Future or enjoys in the future , for these are only conjectures and not realities - everything takes place in the Present .

Here I am employing a highly metaphysical point of view failing which we will not be able to arrive at a reasonable conclusion into any insight at least on violence in nature , or violence of nature or nature and violence etc. Again it has to be borne in mind that it is always the Universals that give the solution not the particulars - particulars are notorious for being subject to interpretations of necessity, motives, intent , reason ,judgement etc all of which will destroy the original truth of any Idea . So basically it is my individual view point and that of the general scheme of things .

We accept implicitly in the word Violence as descriptive of certain things unsavoury to us as human beings . Anything perceived as a threat to the collective existence is percieved as constituting violence . People are generally not very threatened by violence inflicted by one individual on another - what they are threatened by with are a perception of collective damage to existence of the tribe, people, country, world etc . Now society is as agglomeration of people - loosely associated under a so called banner either of community, or area, or state or nationhood, or culture etc - It is only a word and an Idea which clubs all individuals together , treats them as a homogenous group with similar tendencies etc - It disregards the individual , the individual has no place in society and neither are individual aspirations and tendencies encouraged in any social set up . What any government or social set up does is it PROVIDES certain facilities and permissions for living PROVIDED the individual corresponds to the Idea of the homogenous entity assumed to be comprising of the word Idea  Called Society or country . That is everything that a person does has to conform to these broad Ideas embedded in these concepts - variations are seen as aberrant and less than perfect existence in society . So the interests of the individual does not exist in any societal set up . Again laws are enacted to regulate and prohibit ACTIONS WHICH ARE SEEN as inimicable to collective existence . It does NOT PROHIBIT THE ACTION ITSELF !!! what it aims at is the undesirability , so all our laws on Torts and Criminal Codes and other things are only possible situations seen as threatening the happiness of a group (which may or may not exist in actuality) . These rules are relevant only when the act is committed , So these are Prospective in nature.

Problems arise when a person acts outside the limits of these - wherein it takes time to "Ascertain" the nature the act was etc - since rules are not exhaustive . 

Another aspect to be looked into is whether - the promised punishment for  an act is a just reward or unjust reward . This again depends on the standards to which the society moves away from the Individual to the Collective and vice versa . Society is collective and the limits to which individuality is applicable is prescribed in the Idea of the Nation - now if despite this , due to uneducation and knowledge of these basic ideas a government of fools who would like to believe that they are a free society and grant freedom to all individuals unrestrainedly by legislations etc - then it works at cross purpose - the people will be led to believe that they are free to do whatever they like and still find that they are being punished for believing so !! Education is the culprit and dishonesty by the ruler is to be blamed. In such cases there is the anomaly of a country having too much surveillance on its subjects. This is one side of the equation - so we see we are allowed to exist in society as a social being as long as we are not a perceived threat to the general percieved good or its existence . And again certain grounds for existence can be inferred by deduction - for example if one reads the laws then one understands that apart from those mentioned in it we have to be reasonably careful that what we do will not be construed as being classified under one of the mentioned crimes etc . Simple inference that the implication is that one is free to do what is not mentioned is wrong !!!. Some element of reasoming and judgement must be there .

So Justice and Crimes are Prospective and are deterrents. It is a punishment enforced as a learning to others - its value is for others , never for its perpetrator since he experiences it in close contact there is life in it for him by experience and it is a knowledge that is gained with great difficulty , whereas for the others it is direct knowledge from precepts which they can check by carrying out appropriate actions . Here no rewards are envisaged , the only reward is knowledge , and knowledge in self control . The act as such is irrelevant - the worth is in knowledge as the act has already take before and mow cannot be recalled . In other words the status quo ante will never be obtained 

So society instructs the individual in such cases and the individual instructs society by being a specimen for experiment and verification. Now again though Society is assumed to be everyone and homogenous - there may be people who as individuals are not aware of these types of  knowledge and so for them there will be learning by experience for actions done in less than good knowledge . For the others who are witnesses they will be recurringly be reminded that self control is good for the individual. Since society aggregates everyone as equal and then treats everyone as separate when that happiness of the canon of equality is breached . 

Per se there is no justice in what we have analysed so far - it is only a myth , the Idea of justice is in the poor average mans psyche and only a metaphysical consolation . A lie to the core actually . It is to the spectator that the emotion of justice and requital occur , it is not the intent of the Judiciary to do so , Natural Justice is what they look at , and natural justice dictates that the Individual suffer. 

Next is Revenge in this there is more than metaphysical consolation as the man who is being punished has already exacted justice and it does not matter what the judiciary hands out to him . Here sometimes we as spectators take a perverse pleasure that justice was exacted - though we may not personally do it since it does not pertain to our circimstances. Here the general public is to be blamed or society - we agree with glee that justice was exacted and then go on to decry the method in which it was attained . This is a position of absolute untruthfulness to the self . 

If we examine deep within ourselves - each of us have to agree that we still do not know what the word violence means exactly - it is a word understood in the general only as an Idea by everyone , and by its negative consequences by some others . It is not an inccident specific word . So it is rarely that two people will agree on violence and its meaning - It is easier for Rulers and Governments and countries to easily agree on Violence since it can be described in terms of the General - which is what they are concerned with in Day to day affairs.

Now for an Individual who has got a grasp of the above ideas - he would not bother to judge another man by his actions , whether it was violence or not or even care to remark on it for - the time ,place , age, country, morals, and ideas, education, climate, history, psychology , food etc all are contributory factors . The act was done and the lesson learnt is all that he can intuit as if he himself had done the deed and it became knowledge within him. Just like that that is all .A bad thought arose due to wrong knowledge within oneself and it was removed by right knowledge , wherein that much ignorance was dispelled. 

Do not assume a priori that every word has meaning at the individual level - never never and never . Words are the only support for the waking world . It is our indiscrimination in its use that affect us so badly and we identify with the person who did the deed or the person who suffered the deed when in fact nothing of that sort has happened to us - we have to sublimate the knowledge into wisdom - wisdom people say comes from experience - only a fool will try to experience knowledge for its verification - the less you experience and the more knowledge you have the happier and the more wiser you are !!. 

I hope the philosophical angle has been presented or put across without any loss of clarity , I would be really happy if what I have written is of use to anyone in any way so as that it will help to further their progress in their individual odyssey to the self . 

Lest I be accused of duplicity , these thoughts are not my own or neither are they original - they are and part and parcel of both Eastern and Western thinking for past many thousands of years - none of these thoughts are even modern , they are as old as the hills .  


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Comment by Hari Menon on April 2, 2013 at 2:40am

Dear Peter ,

    I am gratified that you have found my post worthy to be commented upon , considering the fact that you are an authority on critical thinking plus the fact you have a very voluminous and respected intellect. If I may say so you are if reports are to be believed an adept at critical thinking and with a deep knowledge of Social structures and no mean spiritualist to boot. You wrongly honour me by attaching more intelligence than I really possess !.

Peter in fact I cannot but agree with you in whatever you have written , it is correct and faultless . I just would like to Clarify a few things which probably would shed light on the areas where some divergences are there and why those apparently seem contradictory . 

On an initial thinking on the subject - it became apparent to me that like God violence was quite all pervasive , and embraced many things and meant many things for all people , so the route of the particular was closed to me - for it is human Tendency to read and understand in light of experience and not properly ''think and infer'' . So I would have to express in General so that the reader could interpolate his experiences which were particular and see how it works , in Metaphysics one has to leave a little exercise to the reader , so inference is there , again to be able to express what was universal , I was helped by the thought that unlike love which is a sublime feeling , violence was easily understood by everyone , an investigation brought out the truth between an "Emotion" and a "Feeling" and so the Emotion was tackled , not the act itself . Again i had to leave space to the reader to think for themselves - which is why I broadly wrote on society and Justice - I do agree it is not as comprehensive as your dissertation , I left off at the generals with some pointers as to the perspective at the limit - not within the lattitudes . 

Another thing is Peter , in the Western world Epistemology is a necessary portion of serious philosophical discussions - In the Vedic tradition , we do not have epistemology , we are shown and taught what knowledge is in the very beginning itself  , and then only Vedic Reasoning starts , we do not discuss beliefs or knowledge - it is abhorred and specifically negated in our reasoning , because one mans knowledge will be called anothers belief only and vice versa and the discussion will be endless and fruitless . We have only two knowledges and they are not beliefs - they are demonstrable and can be learnt by precept , Experience or understanding completes it . The man who would try to bring in contentions of belief in knowledge would be looked down as a man of no intellect or even any understanding - But I do know the western tradition is argumentative . We tackle the thing from Ethics and Metaethics directly since the precious things are known . It is here that Meta logic also is used . It is a top down view starting from Cause to the Effect . For us belief is not a bad thing it is necessary in Philosophy and is called Faith or understanding  or right reason . But in western tradition Opinion , is not truth as iit is liable to change and it hardens to become belief and then faith which may be unreasonable and hence Epistemology is resorted to . It is a dissertation of Knowledge its ambit and beliefs in Truth or Truth of beliefs . We on the other hand do prior physical and mental practices for a prolonged period with the practice of Ethics as understood initially and honed into intuition .It is only after this Vedantic initiation is given by a Guru and Knowledge tackled . By which time one is already sure of what knowledge is . It is infallible intutive and is called Prajna (some commentators use the word consciousness ) But then Intution has two other parts to it Medha and Prathiba - Medha is the intuition into intuition and so concepts . Concepts are the Idea of Ideas and so very general . So medha is pure knowledge of concepts gained by intution , and Prathibha is the purest knowledge - when a person thinks before he speaks - the whole of what he will articulate is already known to the listener . And so he lives a dream he has already known within himself  what the other person does not himself know as it has not yet arisen in his consciousness as yet . In all the other systems of thought and philosophy

There is Knower - Knowing - and Knowledge . In Vedanta the Knower is Knowledge . The other systems of thought are classified as belonging to the species of Argumentative Logic. Obviously if the Knower is knowledge then there is no action of knowing also . Nothing is assumed beforehand if you ask a question to a Vedantin , there are no aprior i assumptions . Thought proceeds from the only one thing sure Existence itself , It is the only thing we are sure of all the rest are "probable'' or "maybe" ie, they have only theoretical or empirical existence . 

This is also the teaching of "Tat Tvam Asi'' otherwise translated as Thou art that . It might seem incredible to the Western and many Eastern minds - but I will try to explain :

Intuition transcends reason but does not controvert it - which is proved by later events . This is Prajna - the reasons are not known but an action is done in good faith and belief and in intuition. It is enough for a happy life - many stop there .True Prajna answers the question that Socrates asked "would an intelligent person do an act that would hurt him? " - The emphatic answer is no , never . It is verifiable .

Now Vedanta went a little deeper as they employ an inverted perspective for the correction of error or a priories embedded since birth in a human being or even animal - They came up with the faculty of Intuition into the operation of intution or knowledge of intutive reasoning.

It ended at Prathiba - a further stage since one knew the result of an action before it is even done . It is here Indian Ethics has its origins , handed down by the Sages and is emphatic - obviously if the end is known would one contemplate an undesirable action ? . It is also at this stage that the rules relating to nature and the infinite were gathered .

Whilst not being anything of the above myself , I have outlined the legacy that we have inherited through the Vedas , and obviously having faith in this particular system I have employed the methods therein , that is all . I would never justify myself , this is just a clarification of the angle of vision employed by myself .

On apriori assumptions and impersonality in knowledge (after all knowledge is knowledge it is not personal no ? )  - This is the reasoning employed - Society we are more or less in convergence , I have dismissed the individual - without descending to the individual by just informing that the individual has no relevance in the Concept Society though he is a basic atom of the concept . Society according to me is a word only and not a reality - the individual as soon as he steps out into the open world feels freedom but actually steps into society , it is only space which makes him think he is free , now Governments are impersonal and only the word as a concept was relevant to me - Government is only an institution and no instituition is alive as a person - it is only brick and mortar - the people inside government give it life , but they also have to subsume their personal identitiy in order to work in a group for the common good . So institutions are macro cosms of the concept society . Now which Concept subsumes the Other ? Does society Subsume Government as a concept or does Government as a Concept subsume Society ? Or are they separate and disparate ?.  It is here that the action of the individuals are taken into account - For the individual society is freedom but government is regulatory , for the government - society is regulatory and Concept of government or Nation is freedom . But within each concept the behaviour is same by the individual . Now what is regulatory in man ? Laws so I started from that angle . Now what is the pattern here of cohesion ? Man himself - he feels free in society but subsumes his individuality to become a cog in the apparatus , same in the Government - they behave humanly , subsuming their individuality in the collective !!. Now everyone is feeling more free but actually is more bound as individuals . Where is man most bound ? at home - but then he is most free there only !!!. so where does freedom lie /in a perception of vastness ! - in space - but then why is he (though they do not realize it) in TRUTH bound ? and is not even meeting my basic standards of freedom ? This is because a person unlike me will not be happy where he is supposed to be most free - at home among loved ones - the problem is Ethics - I have tackled the concept by MetaEthics and Metalogic - which is general but if thought out particular , provided if only everyone thinks like you Peter , then only its truth can be traced to oneself. and the universal established as really universal .

I will not elucidate - Justice, reason,Judgement equity , inequity can be looked in a parallel manner (not from the above specific example ) the concept must lead to the idea - the idea must Ethically lead to the reason and the right reason must lead to the judgement - wherein Justice is done to the Concepts alone . Not a person - it is for each to infer their predicament vis a vis the idea contained in the word without havimg any apriori that because a word exists that it signifies that it is a true position or reflection of how things are . Dictionary meaning will only vitiate my view as it will be based on external items.

The use of the word "Our" is also since I am a classicalist - In Vedanta we have - Uttama Purusha (or the most Excellent ) and then Prathama Purusha (First Person singular) and then Dvitiya Purusha ( or Second person ) - anything more than 2 is infinite !! and a crowd . and is not counted it is left as it is and behaviour checked from personal observation as either Uttama Purusha or Prathama Purusha ie. One looks from the First and last points and checks for integrity . This is so in Sanskrit grammar also - in fact these are rules of grammer evolved from Prathiba  and then doing an posteriori analysis so that common man would understand . and it would mesh in with his aspirations spirtually also . If looked spiritually - It would be as follows - Brahman - Atma - Jiva . or Atma - God - Jiva , or I - Intellect - Mind  or Intellect - Mind - Body . It is Top down view and does not descend to the splinterd consciousness (knowledge ) of the individual type . See how words are dangerous - many people call it Impersonal - it is a wrong word , it leads people to think of a god without feeling and distanced - what a travesty - Impersonality as envisaged is as I have explained it . Bad knowledge of the operation of sound on consciousness is the culprit . The rest is due to naiivette in distinguishing between Prajna ,Medha and Prathiba.

So "Our" means the whole worlds codiciles from the dawn of man to today from my view point - obviously you have the right idea where you have gone into the specific of the specifics.

Democracy and Republic - has to be taken as an ordered society where people are relatively under the illusion of freedom that is all . 

In Revenge - it was very general - I cannot speak of feudal mentalities , and you are correct the perpetrator is not in the same predicament as the sufferer - both will have different views , only the act was discussed - obviously and ethically why should a man want to exact justice by revenge ? it is because he is aggreived that his will has been improperly appropriated by another , (may be injustice - but at this stage we cannot call it so , for injustice can occur in the dispensing of justice only not otherwise ) in other words his will to live is being interfered with , everyone wants to live and so this must not be appropriated , let it be - the man will die or live on his own we do not have to hasten anything - this is the view . If you want to know my true opinion - the man who revenges does it in such a manner and it stops where he feels the status quo ante has been established , it may be more or less in others eyes because like money it is a matter of opinion as to how much of his honour was deemed as lost by the perpetrator !!!.Honour I mean his worth in his own eyes not anothers .So obviously there will be imbalance in the restitution - take money a man was cheated of 100 $ and obviously the value is different since satisfaction and effort is involved which will be different for both - here 100$ returned will close the matter , but a greater satisfaction of having got it back "against will" is still present !!!.So we cannot know the full truth unless it happens to us - but what we can do is - knowing things are this way - we can be careful enough and reduce the 

 misery that happens to us . 

Peter your giving up thoughts of revenge is admirable , not many people can do it - you sort of removed it by peaceful means - it is because you have corresponding knowledge .Everyone cannot do it .

Again yes - within the judiciary it is a collective effort by a group who enliven the shell of the institution , so the dispensing of justice will vary from individual to individual and judge to judge - but again broad guidelines are there - like words like meditated , pre meditated, mental insanity etc and precedents are quoted , So they work within certain prescribed limits and perspectives . So all assumptions as to Justice or Injustice have to be thrown away and the Concept and Idea checked in the general. 

In particular we cannot do any analysis meant for a group since - particular is always unique , no two things will be same within the same things itself (in nature I mean - not any production process). The world is infinite in particulars and so understanding is always from the General . The particular instructs only - how we understand is different - just as a teacher will instruct but it is the student who understands and naturally variations occur. 

For the common man words have common meanings according to usage only - It does not hold the same meaning as to you or me - who pride ourselves as thinkers - there is a great deal within every word , it is knowledge - definitions will help to clarify the Idea in a word , but a person will outgrow the knowledge contained in the word , whereby it occupies the right place in knowledge within the limits both upper an lower as is ensconced in the original idea . Ask any person (other than a thinking person ) what does the word society or government mean and they will be flabbergasted and look askance as if you are some idiot - it is there so evident and familiar to them that they have never given deep thought to it - even if they have thought on it they have gone by evidences which are particular to lead them , a deeper person would keep the idea of the Declaration of Independence and maybe say the Government does not exist at all , it is only an idea - he is correct . This is the individuals view point I am talking of - ask a government functionary and he will not say it is non existent - as he lives the idea , he has to be very deep in order to be in it and yet not be fooled and be able to say with honesty that it is only an Idea .   

I cannot comment on what people in various countries think is a crime , because it is their idea nurtured by living and what they call life . 

Fakirs are a strange type of people and very rare , they do not intend experimenting with knowledge - since it has a nature of conferring the experience that you contemplate upon - and it is a lengthy process of gaining knowledge , and time consuming .  Let me illustrate this in another way lest you think it is metaphysical happiness and not real - 

A man has a desire to acquire something in the hope it will make his life happy, or smooth or easier - he does not have any intention of grabbing a snake on the fence and putting it into his pants as we say in india . 

Now the desire arises in consequences of some knowledge which inflames his mind and imagination and promise of a better tomorrow is held out by himself . He imagines the prospective situation he will be in on having the object of desire (you may by extension interpolate any known object including wife, kids, and televison etc ).  Now consider this Fakir like thinking :

The mind (or himself whoever he thinks he is ) craves the object but cannot touch it or do anything , it does not come into contact with the object - like space and objects . 

The body has no desire ,  but it can grasp the object physically - but cannot enjoy it on its own !!!. 

Even in the case of money - the mind or will or whatever wants it but cannot grasp it physically - the body cannot desire  or enjoy  the thing - so is this not a strange anomaly ?

Now assuming the man gets his object of desire - is  not a combination of the mind and body required to enjoy it ?.

Individually they cannot enjoy the thing on their own , and so what enjoys the item is what directs them - So who is the enjoyer and wherefrom has this enjoyment appeared ? Is it from oneself or from the object ?. What is that which knits the mind and body together ? are other things also held by it ? . 

When we are a linguist or a Grammarian or a Scientist or an Artist - always the thought and life and living and knowledge begins from pre conceived notions based on conditions which we accept as given - these we never question as they are accepted as given and True and not requiring verification - this is life and living . A ground for existence is "created" and then lived in . The truth of their existence is already believed in . and from this particularly constricted peephole of theories and personal existence they attempt to unravel the mysteries of the universe . It is not possible for already being conditioned by the effect through living and life , they look through tainted glasses. Evidence or proof is what they need to proceed . So a crutch is required in the form of theories and concepts and ideas and other objects . And then thinking is started from those premises .This is a priori and invalid in true philosophy . Which is why secondary knowledge or acquired knowledge is decried . It is knowledge dependent on something that is only temporary. And the knowledge so gained becomes useless when either the object or proof or evidence is no more existing , or if the possesor of this knowledge is no more .

Again there are many secondary knowledges - all may not be useful to me in living my life ethically even temporarily - Knowledge of Ethics and right reasoning and self control are of use to me - but what use have I got of the knowledge of Black holes or , age of universe , unless I am an astronomer it is not life and living or experience -, or thermodynamics or Botany and classification of species and genus , or surgery , - all that is required is that I have faith alone in the belief that those knowledges required for my life and living will come at the appropriate time , and be open to that and this will show a lot and those knowledges I do not require will fly away from me as they came - like a book coming and then going from us. We need not run after anything , if we need it it will come to us - why should we fear that life has passed us by and so many knowledges are there of which I am hearing and that I do not know these and so I am out of the mainstream of life ?. No these thoughts are bad very harmful to us . Show me one Captain of Industry who has any kind of decent knowledge - no most are uneducated and rely on their staff , they are gratified if you give them insights into your profession and how you think - it is education for them and they hang onto you . This is trust and honesty . They learn from life and see millions of people come and go and see things in a bigger view , so too policticians - Look at their view it is not small - but being not educated in thinking and ethics they fail - that is all . Culture is embedded in every human being equally - we all have the same culture - culture is not history or gained because of parents or society or the country we are born in - Culture is because we are born as human beings and it is this culture that we have to tap into and develop . The moment a man stops watching the TV and reading the news paper he becomes clean , and impervious to cheap words and suggestions - and would be suprised that he is still alive and in fact more alive than before . If that is not practice and knowledge than what is ? and you can save money also in the bargain and buy an extra beer or a steak !!.


Comment by Peter O'Lalor on April 1, 2013 at 12:51pm

Dear Hari,

    Thank you for sharing your many levels of insightful thoughts, on humanity, society, and individuals. I take it by the definition, of the word Assay, there can be only one relevant meaning, vis-à-vis, to "examine (something) in order to assess its nature." The word Assay comes from an older language as well, "and ... in a general sense is testing, or a test of, the merit of someone or something."

     I read you first paragraph with physics and metaphysics on my mind. I find the idea of time, to be a construct, to give us order. Doesn't it say in the Gita; the time is now, and we are here? Take for example the past present and future as one moment. Like a flash, all of us, through all of time, and all the worlds, are exhaled, Be, then are not. Of course this is hyperbole, so please excuse the channeling. It's not authorized. :=D.

    How do we experience consciousness? If at all, we take the time, like you Hari, to expound and share, the benefits of self-awareness. So lets examine violence, in order to assess its nature. Does not creation contain violence? I pay homage to Siva, for once I saw creation come from destruction, and the violence I have suffered, suffered then, has a Divine and Human nature. The Gods have their Dharma, and Humans have theirs. Subsequently, I would ask, that we focus on Human nature, assess their potential and propensities, for violence, and and look for an outcome, if not an awareness. Would you agree with Socrates, "That a life unexamined is not worth living?"

     Considering further, and taking my time to understand, your view point, for as you say. we can not group together, one understanding by us all. Certainly, the victim and the perpetrator, have different views, on what is a threat. Furthermore, you seem to be exploring, what George Orwell, 1984, called an un-person. In human services, and psychiatry we use the term, persona non gratis, when a patient is not welcome. It is present in many cinematic and literate, social commentary.

     You have done well breaking down the constructs of society that strip the character of independent thought and action. For example, what kind of qualities, relevant to human nature, have advanced societies, with extraordinary market places, where individuals sacrifice their selves, for the sake of luxuries? It's an old story. America, however, does not hold violence unsavory. Violence against our person yes, others not so much. At least violence abroad is covert as much as over, but domestically, violence is overt, against our intellect, character, history, and ancestors. Violence desensitized Americans to the point of having no compassion?

      Then there are those unfortunate enough to have to drone away, in (oft time), foreign factories, at the expense of their martial, intellectual, and spiritual virtues. Why are the material needs so necessary, when they are at the expense of others? We can begin with compassion not being socially rewarded, at least in America. You say society is doing it, I say; people participate in their own oppression. I agree agents of change are needed, but do we not by now, understand the nature of violence? Is it not the same emotion as greed and envy? 

     I do agree that society disregards the individual, but in common-law nations, individuals matter, stemming from ages of custom, which eventually became common-Law. I also agree with you that, " the individual has no place in society and neither are individual aspirations and tendencies encouraged in any social set up." You stated it twice! However, as I stated above, the latter is something that is given up in lieu of security, an expansive market place,and Nationalism.

     I agree because of the obvious and apparent greed in America, from Student Loans, to Bailouts, and what we don't know. Then there are those whose idea of civic duty is to be a good customer, vote, and be law abiding. However, it was Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, that states, in 1775, a warning "... not to raise a nation of customers." America did, it wasn't supposed to be that way, but that's another story. However, in America at least, and one who has taught political science, Nationalism, is an emotional attachment used by the State to support its cause. When, in a republic at least, the only cause "ought" to be the public good. I used to think a person may lack compassion. Now I believe, it's a choice, motivated by a violent, selfish, greedy, civilization. You know, the enlightened and moral one?

     The only remedy is to let the world out of one's heart because Christ or Krishna are already there. PS: I noticed a Freudian slip when you stated, "an Idea which clubs all individuals together." Subsequently, I do not agree that the loss of character, individuality, and compassion, are forced from above, but chosen from below.

     The last of this paragraph is difficult for me to gauge. "Our" is unclear. "Our laws on Torts, and Criminal Codes" need to be addressed so as to compare Civil Code, with Common-law. For example: In Common-law nations, Torts, or bodily injury or harm, are clearly established in the West, with the Book of Rochester, 600 a.d.. The Adversarial system of common-law nations, is a German custom, wherein there is a defense, prosecutor, and magistrate. The difference between a Civil Code nation and a Common Law nation, may be the cause and remedy of Law and government crushing the individual into an unperson, with the most insidious, and passive aggressive violence.

     One does it with crushing authority, (Civil Code), and one does it by not being true to the principle, (basic truth), on which all others rest. Which is corruption. In a republic or Commonwealth, it is virtue, (the desire to good), that all other "truths" rest on, and is not one of authority, but one of morality. If common-law rests in custom, (including later precedent law based on those customs of the people), we find not what a person must do or must not do as in civil code. We find what a person "ought" to do and not "ought" not to do in common-law. Ought is referencing Ethics, but the Romans translated Greek Moral philosophy as ethics. Today we have meta, applied, and normative ethics. Then dozens of other ethics but where is the morality, where is the compassion? The moral philosophy, is prevalent in Americas' Founders' classical education, as well as clearly stated in the fist President's Farewell Address, in 1796.

    In 1931, (speaking to "Criminal Codes" above), America's courts were so corrupt, the government, guided by "ought," instituted The Rules of Civil Procedure. It regulates conduct in court, rules of evidence, and for example, if not Justices' sake, both defense and prosecutor now had to share all evidence prior to trial. In less than a decade, it had to be revised.

     Now it is the Legislature's turn; the millionaires, who crush the hope, of the young and reject the old. Law makers and their laws, are now becoming so oppressive to freedom of thought, as they laugh all the way to the bank. Yes, Hari, violence takes on many forms, including lawful injustice. (Laws knowingly made to be contrary to the spirit of law, common-law, and unconstitutional. No one is guarding the Constitutionality of the laws that are being made, or overseeing, the ones that die in back rooms, and never see the Senate floor, and we don't even know what they are. When we do find out, they are laws that would have been good, but not profitable or expedient to the lawmakers coffers and their minions.

  •    "These rules are relevant only when the act is committed , So these are Prospective in nature." Prospective acts, if I'm not mistaken, prospective, are future acts, but why is it only then that "these rules are relevant?" 
  •  "Problems arise when a person acts outside the limits of these - wherein it takes time to "Ascertain" the nature the act was etc - since rules are not exhaustive. What person, outside of what limits, takes time to ascertain, or find something out for certain. What is certain? (Referencing, ascertain). Would you agree that just because you believe something to be true, doesn't necessarily make it knowledge, it makes it true belief? Then you agree with Epistemology, and I agree with you again, problems would arise, if people mistook, or were fed, beliefs in the guise of knowledge. OH Right, America's Federal, Dept. of Education. A powerful tool for crushing the desire to seek and understand." 

     I agree with the following paragraph. What passes for education in America is teaching to the standardized tests, for the federal budget money, and individual thought of teachers are stifled, while their pay checks barely reflect skilled labor. You cover punishment well. In America, where, the punishment is said to suit the crime. What if we don't call it punishment, suffer forms of punishment, or even, subject to consistently qualities of punishment? What if you were to suffer a violent beating every day, and you are only 3,4,5, and 6 years old. In other words there are many forms of punishment, societally, govermentally, and religiously. Whey Julius Caesar was beaten to an inch of his life, every day from age seven onward, he grew to be "the destroyer of republics." No punishment may be handed down, calling it suffering would only give a call to arms for its remedy.

    Another form of punishment, is being punished for being poor, weak, uneducated, in a competition led society, compared to a cooperative society. The world knows how the wealthy Americans view of the poor: "It's their fault." Where's the opportunity, the fairness, sorry, only violence. There is also the inheritance of classes. I do, what my father did, and he did what his father did. A cycle few rise above. Or the Student Loan Crisis, banned from bankruptcy, (See "Equal justice under the law," Bill of Rights), which in the eighteenth-century, bankruptcy, was a moral victory for Americas' founders. Bankruptcy was a second chance. Bankruptcy replaced Britains' Debtors' prisons. Now youth are burdened with student loan amounts, impossible to pay back in a life time, will be paying back for their life time, are not forgiven through bankruptcy, and how is this not servitude to government, the banks, and the student loan industry. How's that for oppression? A very passive violence.

    To concretely reply, I see toward the end of this paragraph you state: Simple inference that the implication is that one is free to do what is not mentioned is wrong !!!. Some element of reasoning and judgement must be there . I've taught a lot of Western Civilization. I always introduce it as the administration and dispensation of justice. From the Civil Codes of Hammurabi, The Ten Commandments, the XII tables of Rome, the Justinian Institutes, natural law, civil law, and common law. Law is the cornerstone of Western Civilization. America enjoyed in the eighteenth-century, a saying that came true: A government of laws; not of men. So I have to ask: What kind of justice are are these laws providing for today? Below, are you talking about, social equality, social justice, economic justice, and or political justice?

    You are clearly at odds with the very individual freedom you say others oppress. For example, when driving in Massachusetts, if the sign does not say you can't do it, you can. Everything a government official does, there is a law that authorizes that official to so. Americans grow up with a sense, soon effaced and unrealized, that police are good, obey the laws, and be a good citizen. While you are passively raped, robbed, and dumbed down! Even if civic virtue was taught, again, it would soon be effaced by lack of example.

    In your last sentience I could only state: you are correct but it needs to be taught. For example, "the spirit of the law." I would not guess that you are in a society that embraces change or has a legal system, at least, in spirit, as one of compassion. For example, the common-law will go to great lengths to find one is not culpable. Crimes are in degrees just as human nature is. For example murder. Does the accused exhibit mens rhea, (guilty mind), was it premeditated, or the most ancient, cowardly, and dastardly, deed, ... lying in wait? Was it an accident? Purely an accident, or was it negligence?  A judge following the Rule of Law, would ask, did the lawful owner become aware, or made aware, of imminent harm, and having foreknowledge of a potential risk, then neglect to attend to it? Of course it all rests on evidence. No real opinions, but interpretation is another story. Thomas Jefferson said, liberty was so long as you neither break my leg nor rob my purse.

    Deterrents only work for those who care about consequences. For example:

  • Adolescent brains still developing, finding it difficult to be mindful of, careful of, considerate of, and remain cavalier about consequences. 
  • Anti-social personality disorder: Doesn't follow societal rules. Only cares about their own rules. Amoral, (without morals as opposed to immoral when person knows, their behavior is unacceptable, but does it anyway). They make great criminals and they are the ones that need deterring. We know; it has never worked.
  • Working for more than twenty years with persons with mental retardation, crisis prevention, and intervention, one thing is clear:
  • Improving the good, rather than getting rid of the bad, increases the chances that the scales of justice will balance, while the goodness of humanity will ring true, and government will have duty and a purpose, other than its own perpetuation.

      I am enjoying your thoughts. I so agree with "... punishment enforced as a learning to others - its value is for others , never for its perpetrator.  ... [I would add threat of violence].

  • So society instructs the individual in such cases and the individual instructs society by being a specimen for experiment and verification. This clearly calls for an observer, enforcer, and analyst. I like to think of it as taxes support society so long as those taxes support society. Taxes also support justice, so long as the Judiciary supports society, through upholding its just laws, punishment in accordance with the crime, proved beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the rules of evidence, in The Rules of Civil Procedure. Justice does not seek the truth, it seeks the weight of the evidence to determine innocence or guilt, responsible or not responsible. Never the truth.
  • Though Society is assumed to be everyone and homogenous - This was true in Democratic Greece. Conversely, democracy was equated with mob rule, where, only wealthy white men, and land owners, actually voted. This was abhorred by America's founders. Polity is how societies organize into governing bodies. America's polity is not Greek Democracy. America's polity is two houses of legislature voting on the passing of laws, (bicameral). Americans vote democratically, but America is a Representative Republic NOT a Democracy. In Greece it was an homogenous demographic, all men, and majority rule. However, they did NOT PASS LAWS, only voted on them.
  • Huzzah! Well said:
    • "There may be people who as individuals are not aware of these types of  knowledge and so for them there will be learning by experience for actions done in less than good knowledge . For the others who are witnesses they will be recurringly be reminded that self control is good for the individual. Since society aggregates everyone as equal and then treats everyone as separate when that happiness of the canon of equality is breached .

Per se' there is no justice ..."Natural Justice is what they look at , and natural justice dictates that the Individual suffer." It depends on the country and the integrity of its magistrates. If Attorneys do not manipulate the judicial system as in America, the cause of The Rules of Civil Procedure, and just laws, are handed down, in accordance with the crime, proved beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the rules of evidence, in The Rules of Civil Procedure. Justice can not seek the truth, it can only seek the weight of the evidence, to determine innocence or guilt, responsible or not responsible.

Next is "Revenge in this there is more than metaphysical consolation as the man who is being punished has already exacted justice and it does not matter what the judiciary hands out to him . Here sometimes we as spectators take a perverse pleasure that justice was exacted - though we may not personally do it since it does not pertain to our circumstances. Here the general public is to be blamed or society - we agree with glee that justice was exacted and then go on to decry the method in which it was attained . This is a position of absolute untruthfulness to the self."

It is also a contradiction. My Brother was in the American Military in 1968. He had a nice post in Greenland and after a year he volunteered for Vietnam. He came home to see me in my foster home. Four hours before leaving, while in uniform, at 2am, he was beat up to death, in Abington, Massachusetts. The police said it was anti war protestors and there wasn't enough clues to warrant an investigation. Nearly one year to the day after my Mother, whom I knew for a few years, prior, did not diminish the feelings of revenge. However, at the time I really wanted to be a Franciscan Friar Missionary. Torn between revenge and forgiveness, (of the sin not the sinner). Faith eventually helped me learn, "God will get you for that." So revenge, as an emotion, and a crowd pleaser, is also catharsis. It is also closure. The emotions that reflect the former, are also a part of revenge. Perhaps, revenge is a starting point, but to exemplify the ethical behavior of one's conscience, Lord, or God, you give up your revenge to a higher power.

"If we examine deep within ourselves - each of us have to agree that we still do not know what the word violence means exactly - it is a word understood in the general only as an Idea by everyone , and by its negative consequences by some others . It is not an accident specific word . So it is rarely that two people will agree on violence and its meaning - It is easier for Rulers and Governments and countries to easily agree on Violence since it can be described in terms of the General - which is what they are concerned with in Day to day affairs."

     For me; a victim of childhood, on-going, nightmarish violence, from people I knew not, nor never knew:

  • It is easier to understand what violence is not rather than what it is exactly.
  • if you believe we still do not know what the word violence means exactly, please see The Oxford English Dictionary. Hard copy if you can; online if you can't. It gives the history of the meaning of the word, its roots, where it came from, how it may have changed over the centuries, and most importantly, the word is shown in the context of the time it was being used. The link above is useful but does not reflect the latter.
  • As the Renaissance Philosopher (Piccolo?), stated: To define anything you must state its limits. 
  • Perhaps, the threat of limitless force, drives some into submission. Paranoia big destroyer, and if we examine, deep within ourselves, each of us have to agree, we don't know what is meant to threaten us, unless it is an elephant in the room. Hence, paranoia.
  • Do Americans believe their government loves their country?
  • How many other world wide citizens, could be asked the same question?

"Now for an Individual who has got a grasp of the above ideas - he would not bother to judge another man by his actions , whether it was violence or not or even care to remark on it for - the time ,place , age, country, morals, and ideas, education, climate, history, psychology , food etc all are contributory factors . The act was done and the lesson learnt is all that he can intuit as if he himself had done the deed and it became knowledge within him. Just like that that is all .A bad thought arose due to wrong knowledge within oneself and it was removed by right knowledge , wherein that much ignorance was dispelled."

  • Question: Why must one's benefit of learning a lesson, be at another's expense? It seems a brutish thing to do and not worthy of right knowledge, or dispelled ignorance.

"Do not assume a priori that every word has meaning at the individual level - never never and never." Words are the only support for the waking world."

  • Here I disagree. Understanding without knowledge is a psychic and spiritual quality v. physical and intellectual capacity. We could get very deep into the human psyche with this thread. However, certain words in and or out of context will have different meanings, connotations, inferences, and personal interpretation, then the subject matter changes, and then people and their history may wind up with different truths, than they would have had otherwise. I enjoyed this, and I hope, from what you have read above, I just contribute a little more to your meaning. Per usual; brief responses are in bold.

"we have to sublimate (transform?), the knowledge into wisdom." - Philosophy; love of wisdom; wisdom; the understanding of knowledge, knowledge is only true belief. Just because you believe something to be true doesn't necessarily make it knowledge, it makes it true belief. Epistemology.

"Wisdom people say comes from experience - only a fool will try to experience knowledge for its verification -What do you mean: Is this confronting dis-belief? Can you expound on the experience of knowledge, for its verification? I'd like to learn more. Please elaborate.

Lastly, I thought of one thing only that could make sense from your words, "The less you experience and the more knowledge you have, the happier and the more wiser you are !!. Is that why Fakirs spend twenty years sitting still? :-)



Comment by Hari Menon on March 31, 2013 at 7:14am

Dear Captain,

       In the matter of certain concepts for the individuals as as guideline for Ethical thinking (note it is a prescription only ) - it requires definition by negation only to make it sensible , Violence is one of them - this is an indication that the Concept and its original word idea is relates to a rule of the Infinite - and can only be known in the negative and even if known is for each one to be exceedingly discriminative in his judgement . As one moves higher its real nature is revealed and why it is so . Which is why the Pure Self which is homogenous is described by negation as it relates to not an object but a non object . Violence is pervasive and relates in general to everything - a man tries to break a stone , he encounters a difficulty so exercises violence on it (as a person ) in order to break it - the individual action is violent , since the impression in memory and knowledge created is the same as one would apply if a hammer was used or a cudgel was used to crack open a mans head . The contortions of the mind and brain and face and body of the effort is similar . the result is same in both  viz. a cracking or breaking of a hard object . So  one is necessity the other is unnecessary - discrimination in use of  instrument by the agent and the object is the matter here . 

We cannot use this concept in an isolated manner , it is accompanied and in relation to another thing so it is not right to ascertain what violence is by analyzing a thing which we have already pre concieved as violent - for we are then in violence ascertaining violence  and not "on violence". The cause is the only indicator of the Ethics involved never in the effect . The cause is to be worked out from the Axiomatic Condition that exists and does not require validation or evidence . It cannot have another cause nor should it be an effect by default or faulty logic . Only this Cause will restrict all debates or circumlocutions in thinking and give a decisive answer to the way in which this concept is to be understood. 

In digression (on defining by negatives ) : It is to be applied only to things which are pervasive in concept and so give an idea of oneness or homogenity through and through , not to concepts seen and understood and which are direct . As an illustration 

The great Shankaracharya says " The definition of a non cow would not produce right knowledge of a cow " !! it si such a beautiful way of putting it. Transmission of knowledge is the right thing to be aimed at in all human intercourse , failing which there will be perpetuation of error according to him . 

Violence is not an object it is an emotion of some vague nature which takes or is termed Violent according to the result it brings about . So when this is so the immediate cause of a distatsteful act is Violence - now what further cause is required ? What meaning is in trying to look into the cause of a cause ? It is madness . 

Violence if an effect , the cause was violence itself in emotion - where is the motive ? the motive was violence , why is it so - because the man indulging in the action overextended himself from the normal bounds of his will and subjected another by making ingress into this others will and created havoc . this is the analysis of violence - again take the case of Hitler - historians will say (in hind sight that he practiced Violence due to xxxx beliefs ) the beliefs are immaterial Violence in thinking or understanding of a subtle theory in a physical manner was the cause and the result was knowledge for everyone all round . People may disagree with what i am saying but they are of weak intellect - the thing is Violence is described in negative terms only. And if a man is so stupid as to see it otherwise it is eminently possible he will see a state of war as Peace itself . 

Commonsense is called for in Ethics and reasoning - it depends on the clarity of the idea within each person , are we not thinking animals , rational and , with intelligence and conscious ? So then why should we behave in an opposite manner and treat language as if it did not matter - it is the umblical cord tying the body to the soul . It is the only connection the body has to the Inner Knowledge and nothing more .

History moves on and on in some strange manner , events which are labelled by the common opinion as earth shattering moves into history - it is not a good indicator of what is right and wrong unless seen with an inverted perspective knowledge was offered and interpreted wrongly if repeated and if not then knowledge was received correctly that is all .

It is a matter of experience to see for all sane right thinking people whether :

The Jews, Tibetans, Kurds, Paletinians,Kashmiris, Indians ,Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Kosovites, Austrans ,Germans, Americans, Portugese,Chinese ,Japanese and what not have transmuted past knowledge displayed to them and learnt correctly or interpreted it wrongly that is all  and given way to fear and human tendencies which are base . The world is an open book one need only a chair and the sky to look up into infinity and think happily . The point of despair is the point where one reaches a point of nothingness and turns fully to existence as the sole succor and stay of the universe that is all . It is the point where the Self communicates and draws a person lovingly to itself and resolves all contradictions of the individual . It shows with great magnanimity that is infinite and with great displays what is right and what is wrong and what is there and what is not there and why . 

A country annhillates another - why see it thus - what is wrong in seeing as man doing it to man and why as a country ? . You can never blame a country - its intellect is to be blamed - the fault lies there . And intellect is applicable to all when you are looking at a world view . If my neighbour usurps my land  it is not any indication why the ottoman empire fell , or why another country invaded another - scale is to be the same . Why should I worry if one country annexes another or if my neighbour annexes another fellows property ? How would it affect me as an individual ? The point is does it deprive my rights and individuality in any way - in which case I have to be careful . If it does so I have to see is it only me or others - if others are there also in the same predicament then it is a social problem and out of my hand - all I can be is an anarchist or a thorn in the flesh or divide  opinions all of which are wrong . If me alone then all things considered  I have to see carefully is it revenge or justice that I am aiming at , knowledge and life or life and living and then act accordingly with full knowledge of the consequences . This is not martyrdom - martyrdom is an act of misguided belief , it is contingent upon the whims of other people - Others have to survive me and have a good opinion of me in unanimity , not divided opinion !! . If one cogitates correctly the truth of martydom is known - rarely are they acts of courage rising from full knowledge - rather they are foolish delusions arising from an inflated opinion of ones place in history .

What is the value of motive or intent analysis when the deed is done ? the knowledge is to be learnt in general was it good or bad , should it have been done or not , what are the subsequent consequences ? . Not the motive or intent the emotion is to understood. Violence is to be understood not megalomania or having inherited a febrile temperment or an inadequacy complex - the chances are that combination of emotions will never again occur in the history of the world in the same manner !!!. Nobody consults an astrologer to find out the possibilities of a still born child . 

Man is happy when there is action and so cannot endure peace and stillness , so naturally the means at ones disposal if immense then his nature as a human being will take over , Husband beats the wife , the wife will beat the child , the child will harass the dog who will go and chase a cat ( Sheridians Rivals ). One country harasses another as they lose interest in a fantastic stand off of ages which suddenly dissipated so they turn their gaze to other more unfortunately placed brethern and the world is happy as everyone is occupied and happy and we move from crisis to crisis - even in the corporate sector - peace is rarely tolerated - without a crisis there is no life !!! Crisis brings out the idiot in the fool and his self importance and a fat pay check . he is feted as a Trouble shooter and a problem solver - it would be better to shoot him and solve all problems .  Power and the sense of power is such an intoxicant that it makes a man appropriate from his bretheren with such ease and a happy conscience .Man is the paradox , the parallax effect in the world and in knowledge . 

It is good that we are so crazy that we negate each other every single moment , so the net effect is that nothing really is happening and everything is only apparently so . In my opinion stones should have more value than diamonds , but they say that demand is met by supply and there is still a lot more to go by with . But we are having more water than earth and water is a scarce resource - demand is more than supply it seems so . We are going to build houses on the moon and we cannot even stay underwater for considerable time . We are trying to ascertain the age of the world  but what practical utility it has is very hazy to me , a black hole exists but the world has only a theoretical possibilty of existing and it makes no sense , Polictics is still believed to be the only profession where a few can make good fro the many even today but Aristotle starts his ethics ........" Having understood politics and what is Really good for man ... we will now tackle the subject of Ethics ..... " and this from ages ago  that ancient and venerable culture  that gave democracy and aesthetics and Philosophy to the world . 

" Maya shakthi Vilasa Kalpitha Maha Vyamoha Samhariney , Guru Shree Dakshinamoothaye Nama Idam Guru Shree Dakshina Moorthaye " (obeisance to Shiva the dispeller of  the playful forces of  Maya that create extensive infatuation ) . It is only a very free translation , greater minds exist who may be able to give deeper meanings . This is from the Dakshina Moorthy Stotra  od Adi Shankaracharya . Can be googled for I guess for those who are interested.

Comment by Capt. Anand Kumar on March 30, 2013 at 10:25pm

One is indeed grateful to Hari Menon for acceding to the request and undertaking to write on such complex issue as violence. It is an issue which touches everyone's lives at all levels, be it individual, societal, governmental or international.

There is a lot of confusion in our minds as to what constitutes violence. From Indian perspective the word, violence (Himsa in sanskrit) is not defined any where but its opposite, non-violence (Ahimsa in Sanskrit) appears in the earliest scriptures, the Vedas. It would be reasonable to conclude that violence is the opposite of non-violence.

While non-violence as the core guiding principle of our lives can hardly be disputed, a confusion is created because,

1. Story of Human evolution appears to be a story of violence being a tool of introducing change by nature.

2. A concept of "Just Violence" or "Justice by Violence" is introduced by Lord Krishna in the celebrated Indian Text of Bhagvad Gita, where he exhorts Arjuna to kill his kinsmen for a just cause.

Let us discuss the second point first. Krishna expands the meaning of violence to by linking it to cause. However, our experience is quite indeterminate in this respect, as cause is relative concept. Viewed from different points on a timescale, an event may appear as either cause or effect. Viewed from the same point on a timescale but spatially separated, an event may appear as two different causes or two different effects. Let us look at two examples.

The US used nuclear devices to annihilate hundreds of thousands of Japanese, believing it to be a just cause, i.e. ending of war. But did the war end? has it not changed its form, and today not only the US but the entire world is living under the threat of nuclear devices?

Compare the struggle of Palestinian to the struggle of Tibetans. Both beginning at approximately the same time to secure an independent homeland. While the Palestinian struggle has used violence as a means to achieve their end, Tibetans have used non-violence. None of them are any closer to achieving their results after over half a century of struggle.

It is difficult for us to figure out which one works.

Let us look at the first point now. Had violence not been used against one Jesus Christ, Christianity today may not have existed. Had the King Ashoka the Great not used violence against others, Buddhism today may have been confined only to India. Even the two of the greatest people of the past century, Gandhi and Martin Luther King who successfully preached non-violence and presented a social as well as political model of it, chose the path of non-violence only after affected by violence.

Trust the enlightened minds here will examine the paradoxes and come up with answers.

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