objectively examine what our response to this has been. In the last century, toprevent disastrous wars between nations, we e created the United Nations. Thuswhenever two countries are about to spark off a war, the UN's job is to interveneand enable them to talk, to resort to diplomacy and see that they don't start a war.But we must ask ourselves, when do we call it a 'war'? What is the level at whichviolence must reach before we declare it. as a war? Is it when guns start firing,when airplanes start crossing and when bombs start dropping,? Or is it that, if weare hating each other, wanting to kill each other, we are already at war? Though itmay not have manifested itself, violence already exists in our consciousness wellbefore a war is declared.If we look at the level of the nation, we have created the police force, a system of law-courts, rules and regulations, in order to contain the manifestations of violence. For thousands of years we have had the police and these courts of law.But have these quelled the violence within us? Individually, human beingscontinue feeling jealous, feeling angry and hating. They try to control themselvesand constantly fail. For 5000 years, perhaps more, from the time of theMahabharata down till today, the phenomenon of violence has remained a part of our lives. It is a global phenomenon, an ancient phenomenon, and its roots godeep. If we treat or try to control only the symptoms there can be no change.Violence keeps erupting again and again. So obviously, there is no freedom fromviolence in merely controlling violence. This does not mean that one must notcontrol it. But it is important to become deeply aware that control does noteliminate the causes of violence.We must therefore examine the deeper causes of violence. For violence does notlie only in Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists, whose acts are but a spectacularmanifestation of this. There is violence when a man subjugates a woman; there isviolence between families; there is violence in crime, in the family, in the office,in the nation and between communities, castes, and religious groups, there ispsychological violence going on all the time. One may not even recognise it asviolence. For one can taunt or humiliate another human being, and it is legal. Onlyphysical violence is punishable, because it violates the law. The whole mechanismof legal control cannot eliminate the violence we carry within.The real cause of violence is the hatred and the division in the hearts of men. Wemust examine where this hatred is born.Unless we go to its source we are onlyplaying with symptoms on the periphery. To understand the deeper causes of violence one has to ask, what creates division? What makes me feel that these aremy countrymen, those are others? That these are my people, my family, myreligion, and those are another? How do I draw that boundary between myself andanother? For division starts right there and that division leads to violence. When Iam only interested in the welfare of my people, I don't care about the otherpeople. They are not my concern, not my responsibility. I even exploit them tobring benefits for my people. In a war I can kill the others and be decorated as ahero.So from where does this division arise that is there in every human being? Everyhuman being is born in some family, in some country, as part of some language,some religion. Growing up in the midst of the people around him, depending onthem, imitating them, there inevitably develops this sense that these are mypeople, this is my family, this is my language, this is my culture and my religion.Along with this comes the idea of others. Our thought process and the capacity toimagine take the process further. And the mind becomes like a lawyer, interestedin profits for the me and the mine, caring only about the me and the mine, andignoring or denigrating the other.The capacities of memory, thought and imagination are gifts we have receivedduring the course of evolution in greater measure than the other animals. It isthese gifts that generate the power which man has. Our accomplishments originatefrom there, but so do all our problems. For these tools that nature has given us aregenerally used to further the interests of the me and the mine. Though we mayoccasionally talk about being kind to 'others', basically this division has becomeembedded in us. Such is the process of the mind becoming self-centred. Thinkingabout me --- my body, my family, my children, my culture, my country ---becomes a self-enclosing process. I am constantly drawing my boundaries andthose people outside them become the 'others'.One might ask, isn't that natural? Since the progression by which this happensseems so inevitable, can one find fault with any step in this process? Indeed, it issomething that happens to every human being. But the question we have to ask is:are we permanently trapped in this condition? Or can we come out of it? Theanimal, in its reactions, is completely governed by its instincts, by what nature hasdictated. It is amoral, it cannot free itself from the past. But are we so completely
Global Violence and Individual Responsibilityhttp://www.pkrishna.org/Global_violence_responsibility.html3 of 509/05/2009 07:01 p.m.