Is change possible without violence? Everyone wants it at some point in their lives, CHANGE! Whether it be a change in their mood, change in location, change in relationship or change in society. But is change possible without some form of violence?
If you search for world changing events you will find that most world changing events came with some form of violence. For example wars or the start thereof, assassination of a leader whether it be political or religious.
Not only physical violence but also forms of mental violence brought about change. You are probably thinking, mental violence?? Think about the global financial crisis that could be seen as form of mental violence which brought about a change, or Martin Luther releasing his 95 Theses.
How the world changes can also be seen as the way we change as individuals.
Of course we have natural change such as growing older but change in habits, thoughts or mindset in most cases, comes with the need to resolve a pain. Pain being a product of some sort of violence.
Humans are creatures of habit and what is known as the reptile brain keeps us doing the things that we are comfortable with, regard as safe and are painless. In most cases we will strive to stay in a comfortable habit or habitat and even in a state of pain some tend to look for something ‘comfortable’ within that pain to keep a habit or remain in a certain habitat. Extreme example of this are cases of spousal abuse where one stays within the relationship, where reasons given are ‘he/she usually is very sweet’ or ‘what about the children?’.
Even though most world changes events are tied to /triggered by violence when you zoom in to a micro level, personal behavioural changes due to physical person on person violence occur far less. We are now thought to resolve our differences or bring about changes by negotiating.
For example in the past the spanking of children when they showed undesirable behaviour was much more prevalent, whereas now we use other forms of punishment to trigger behavioural changes. Our messaging towards children and the rest of society also steers away from using violence to bring about a desired change.
While it could be argued that use of physical violence brings about a change in a much faster pace. The recipient receives the physical pain sensation which gives the brain an immediate signal that a certain action results in an undesired effect.
Let’s take a broader look at physical violence. Doing activities which result in a form of physical pain can also be seen as a form of physical violence even though it is not intentional. Think on the skateboarder that attempts a trick, falls and breaks an arm. Subconsciously he might hesitate when attempting the trick again. The pain he felt due to the failed attempt is engrained in his memory. But this engrained pain also ensures that he thinks on corrective measures to successfully do the trick.
This concept applies to various physical activities we undertake, even those where the pain occurrence is less severe than breaking a bone. This is why physical activity is encouraged and said to increase mental fortitude. If you can overcome various forms of micro pain, you teach your subconscious that it can handle pain, as our reptile brain doesn’t recognise different forms of pain. Whether it physical or mental, for the reptile brain pain is PAIN.
This is why many say change comes from pain.
Looking to change careers? Most likely it comes from a source of pain. Maybe your job doesn’t pay enough or you have no rapport with your colleagues both are a form of pain.
Looking to change relationships? Due to the fact that you don’t feel understood or you feel as if your partner pays more attention to another person. Again a form of pain.
Looking to change a certain habit? Probably because your current habits are not working for you resulting in a form of pain.
Above are examples of pain which are not a result of physical violence but can be seen as mental violence on a micro personal level. Especially if the sources of pain are intentionally caused by another.
Now zooming out on a macro level there are different forms of mental violence that are the trigger societal change. Various forms of discrimination are a prime example of this. There would be no ‘I have a dream’ speech if there was no pain from discrimination. The fall of the Berlin Wall was also due to various forms of mental pain.
But is change truly only brought about by pain?
Change is also brought about by innovation. Think on the invention of the printing press, the founding of Facebook, unveiling of the first iPhone or the Wright brother’s first flight. World changing events coming from innovation are few and dare I say you can actually count them on 1 hand. Are there forms of innovation that can help us bring about change in our lives?
Of course there are. Think on insight gained form the do-it-yourself tips many tend to stumble upon or that bit of knowledge you picked up while reading a book or browsing the internet. The question is would we implement these innovations if there is no form of pain?
Since pain is not always linked to violence we can at least conclude that even though it’s a rare occurrence change is possible without violence!