All About Pacifism?


Well-Known Member
Jul 3, 2006
Here is another interesting topic I happened to stumble upon while surfing the internet:

Is the rejection of all violence a valid principle by which to live? Is Violence never needed? Can all issues be solved in a non-violent manner?

My opinion about all of this is no. While I don't advocate or preach violence as a way to solve problems, taking the other extreme is no good either. You can't allow people to walk all over you, but you shouldn't be going out looking for trouble too.

I am sure I could have made that longer and more thought provoking but I am about to 'fall asleep at the wheel' so to speak.
Brandon, I have to agree. While I realize many people do very much believe in the principle of pacifism and do manage to live lives that are more or less based on pacifism as a lifestyle and a mindset (nobody does it better than the various denominations within the Society of Friends), I do not think that as a society we are now, or will ever be, at a point where there is not all sorts of violence at all levels of our interaction with others.

I'll be the first to admit that if we all could live with the Quaker Peace Testimony as our guide, things would be very different. But even if every last human being were to adopt that policy as their own, we would still struggle with our individual tendencies toward violence in some instances.
Heh, I have a few friends who would like nothing more than to tear the "holier-than-thou" pacifist-Buddhist types a new asshole. I don't strongly object to their inevitable hypocrisy because these days, such is merely a political statement, which misses the point.

Anyway, I kinda think it boils down to this: we have limited resources, and a growing number of members of a species. Managing a species means managing the self (I used to think of these as two "opposing" forces, in a similar way to the contrast between ethical "altruism" and "egoism", but it's not entirely the case, IMO), which means that even if in most places co-operation is a good thing, in other places defection will make for a higher gain somewhere along the track.

It takes the form of violence because we have bodies, pretty simple, that. We are in a position to try and manage and arbitrarily distribute etc. but in the end, violence is always an available solution somewhere, always.

Keeping this in mind, one can only prepare themselves as much as they can. Funny how it works- I have very little chance of being placed in a situation where I am required to run or fight, precisely because I am able to do both.