Posted by: nmontague | September 22, 2010

Todays thoughts

I’ve been thinking a bit about violence and non-violence as principles. I’m a martial artist, you’d think I’d be drawn to combat. But lately, I feel called toward more non-violent living. It’s odd. Because it makes me question alot of my previously held assumptions of right and wrong. It’s also been causing me to honestly look at the media around me and ask myself whether it’s really good to partake of it.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved action movies. I’ve loved comic books and video games. I’ve always loved watching the struggle between the heroes and the villians. But lately, I’ve been realizing that both heroes and villians are humans. In fact, they live in a very grey area where it’s sometimes difficult to tell who is the good guy and whose the bad guy. The truth is most people aren’t good or bad. Most of us are struggling with our various life issues. We do good sometimes. We do bad sometimes.

I find myself angry and thinking about violence at the weirdest times. I am convinced that the media we participate in becomes part of who we are. I mean corporations pay billions of dollars for 30 second advertisements because they are convinced those ads will convince people to buy their product. If 30 seconds can influence people to buy a product they probably don’t need, what will hours and hours of such media do to us? Think about how much violence and pornography our society mentally ingests every day, every month, every year, every decade.  How does that change people?  I can’t believe that all that time playing games, watching movies, or tv, or even the books we read dont effect us to some degree or another.

And what about children? There are some kids who do nothing but play video games. They aren’t taught any other skills. They aren’t taught to interact with people. Often they are ignored by their own parents. Is it any wonder when kids start rebelling? When children get angry? or worse when they start committing crimes?

There are scriptures that indicate that the last days will be like the time before the Flood when the world was so full of violence that God had to send the flood. Is our media contributing to this violent society? Is our neglect with our youth leading to this?

I’m just becoming more and more convinced that I don’t want to participate in this violent culture any more. I don’t know what it means. Does it mean I stop playing video games, or at least the violent ones? Does it mean I stop watching violent tv shows or movies? Does it mean I give up my comic books? I don’t know. It might be wise to. But how do I define a non-violent life? Is it just lack of violent actions or is it a complete disposition change to loving people who hate, despise, and use you? I am thinking more the latter. Do you have to give up the thoughts or just the actions? how do you give up the thoughts?

Should I swear off violence? I don’t know. Does this mean I can’t do martial arts anymore? I really do love it, even though I’ve never liked hurting people. (Weird, I know). How do I reconcile this with my thoughts that there are times that God commands us to defend ourselves and others?

Needless to say there is some inner conflict here. I have a lot to think about. It’s not a decision I have to make this second, but I would like to make it.

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Responses

  1. This is great!

    Really liked this —

    The truth is most people aren’t good or bad. Most of us are struggling with our various life issues. We do good sometimes. We do bad sometimes.

    I had a prof in college who told a story once about his son when he was little. His father had asked if he was being a good boy, and the boy replied that he was a “mixed up” boy. Not all good and not all bad. Gotta’ love kids.

  2. One thing to consider is whether your thoughts about anger and violence are fantasy or motivating. Are you idly thinking or are you holding yourself back from acting violently?

    If you swear off violent reading material then you technically won’t be able to read certain parts the Bible or the Book of Mormon.

    Don’t give up martial arts . . . your goal in pursuing MA is not to harm others, is it? Train for personal improvement. Prepare to defend yourself so that you may calmly walk in peace.


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