Ever since I can remember I have been very sensitive to injustice. Or rather, passionate about justice and freedom. Let me explain.
My understanding of injustice is anything which feels violent. Violence is not just physical, but extends into every activity we care to think of: emotional, intellectual, economic, institutional, political, religious and so on.
I say ‘feels violent’ because it is in our emotional body that we actually experience violence (even physical violence, the damage of which, contrary to popular belief, is registered in a major proportion in our emotional body). All violence against us is FELT in an instant but that feeling would take 500+ words to describe logically, and even then, you would not be able to get close to the feeling of being violated.
Violence may be described as a principle whereby one person or group of people, institution, nation or race IMPOSES or FORCES their viewpoint, feelings, ideas, system, action, requirements, needs or judgement upon another or others and in doing so, denies them the right to express the full nature of their will, their desires and their free choices. And when I say ‘forces’ or ‘imposes’ this includes everything from the obvious at one end of the spectrum to the extremely subtle and barely perceptible at the other end. It is very very harmful to all life.
Violence, in other words, limits another’s freedom. And each person’s freedom ends where another’s begins.
Non-violence or loving behavior can be felt through actions, thoughts and feelings between people as well as through policies, procedures, rules, regulations, practices and principles of organisations etc…
And freedom, in my view, is the true gift we have all been offered by life. All violence is a denial of life. It is therefore a denial of love. (Now some people would disagree that life=love, however, I argue that it is violence which has created our experience of life that does not equal love..)
Starting from the premise that life=love and that when we experience any type of violence, it feels unloving, we may say that violence cancels love. So in the measure that we are violent, we diminish ourselves, our life force, we feel that something withdraws in us and from us. Or if we have a sense of our soul, we may say that our soul becomes less full, less loving, shrunken and unable to experience the fullness of life and something, no matter how great or small, dies in us. In the same way, when we are loving, coherent, non-violent we have the sensation of expansion, growth and creativity. We can go from strength to strength with this until, as Silo, an Argentine philosopher said, we become ‘like a force of nature and nothing will stand in our way’.
In your life, past or present, have you ever experienced someone who really loves you? It FEELS like they really love YOU, rather than feeling like they will love you if you are what THEY want you to be or what THEY think you ought to be, i.e. tainted love. It FEELS like they are really holding open a space of freedom for you to be whoever and however you are and desire to be at any time? Doesn’t it feel great?! Even if it does not agree with what they think or feel, they don’t mind. They just love you being you. If we can do this, we can really love and play with life. Most often we feel expectations and demands from others or do the same to them and that is pretty sad really. The same goes for institutions, governments, education, economy and the rest.
We are so used to it that desiring freedom is relegated to the domain of lunatics and fringe dwellers.
So, the giving and receiving of violence is something we all engage in on a daily basis. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we will admit this. That either directly or indirectly, we are violent: in our relationships, in our practices, in our habits, in our viewpoints etc etc… We are often indirectly violent which is more difficult to recognise but if we follow the sequence of actions that we engage in beyond the limits of our own life, we may see the pattern resulting in often very damaging effects on others and on the environment and nature. In fact, most of the careers or jobs that we are doing are actually based on a high level of violence either towards nature, the environment and/or other human beings. This is the hardest bit to recognise as we try to think of ourselves as nice or good or decent. The word violence sounds a bit extreme. But upon honest examination of the repercussions of our actions, we can arrive at a sense of it quite easily.
And most often, we are violent towards ourselves, not our facade selves that we have learnt to adopt through expediency, but to our true selves.
This is the root of it. The corollary of self inflicted violence is: if it’s okay for me, then it’s okay for everyone else, right?! Self-violence is that which suppresses our free will and which does not allow us to do what we really want to do. Doing what we truly want to do is labelled as selfish and dangerous and must be suppressed at all costs (because it is taken out of the context that each person’s freedom ends where another’s begins). In fact, suppression of our instinct to live in freedom is the very part of our training which is crucial to our submission to the violence of the system – another kingpin in the well-oiled machinery of our education system which trains us for the ‘life’ to which we must submit.
We grow up being taught how to be really good at conforming to violence. I grew up with the saying: ‘I want doesn’t get’. Remember that one?? Or what about: ‘Pull yourself together and stop dreaming’. Life, we are taught, is a series of obligations to which we must conform. That’s it, no choice. And from a very early age we are taught discipline, conformity and how to tow the line. On pain of death do we break the rules and by death, I mean the fate worse than death which is to suffer being ostresized and ridiculed, failure and shame. In other words, we are taught we must flaggelate ourselves into submission, into a shape and form that is ‘suitable’ and ‘normal’ and if it does not feel comfortable, then TOUGH LUCK!!!
All types of violence are interlinked and express in any or all of the other types of violence. It is like a virus that spreads across whole regions of our life, moving rapidly to others and through generations.
So most of us have not got a clue who the heck we really are, in fact. We just feel a sense of discomfort and unease towards ourselves and others some or more than some of the time. We feel like little sausages in the production line, waiting to be eaten by death. And, one sausage, full of resentment about being a sausage, is sure good at pointing out any diversity they may see in other sausages to the quality control management team. Sorry, got a bit carried away with the metaphor there but you get my drift!
Of course, we deny this like hell and try to put on a brave face. Everything will be okay in the end, kind of thing. (I heard a good one the other day…Apparantly in India, they have a saying: ‘Everything will be okay in the end. If it is not okay, you know it is not yet the end’ – haha!) We jolly ourselves along with distractions and ‘treats’ and drown the bad stuff in wine, drugs and sex – oh yes, sex goes a long way to relieving the ‘tension’. Yoga is another one that has reached epidemic proportions and that just about keeps people ticking along and appearing sane. (I am NOT knocking yoga here BTW!)And of course there are all the officially sanctioned ‘I wants’ like TV, movies, music, fashion, hobbies, a plethora of single-issue activist activities and so on which are fun but which distract us from the real issues and keep us ‘happy’ and in that special kind of ‘lala land’ where everyone is really miserable underneath.
The bad news is that it will actually not be okay in the end, or it will take a hell of a lot longer and a lot more suffering to make it okay unless through conscious healing and action we alter the present condition.
But the good news is that life and therefore love is actually far more powerful and springs back into every crack in the concrete. Like the force of nature in spring, it will grow through every type of violation no matter how diminished it has become.
However, conscious effort on our part MUST engage this process. The time is now and no-one else will save us.
So to the question of economy and emotions and how they are linked (which I guess you have pretty well understood by now?) I would finish by saying…
Economic violence is the most prevalent and all-pervasive force on the planet at this moment. Well, it has been practically since the beginning of time really but now it is so ‘in our faces’, there’s no escaping it. And because economy is so fundamental to our survival and to every element of the life of every person on the planet as well as every living being and the planet itself, it is this violence which I feel is at the root of much of the suffering we experience today. All wars, all poverty, all environmental destruction, all ignorance, all crime, all emotional suffering, all stress and a host of other ills have their root in economic violence.
That is why my passion is to find the real issues at the heart of economy, money and banking and to share with you here in my blog the solution that I have found.
Thank you for reading.