i decided to mess with her head this afternoon. i’m not a violent person, she was telling me, but someone had made her very angry. blew the top right off of her.

but i didn’t punch her, she said. i could have, but i didn’t. i’m not a violent person.

we were sitting by the river and i was high and so was she, and she’s savant-smart so i went for it to see if we might be able to talk philosophy and so i said yeah, there are people i have wanted to punch too but i didn’t do it, but i still thought about it. so what is it that makes a person truly nonviolent? is it when you simply don’t think of punching someone anymore when they drive you to rage, or is it the choice you make not to act on impulse or to indulge that rage? the latter would suggest that violence and rage are innate, instinctual things that had a point when our amygdala served more of an upfront purpose.

If the latter is the case, then more than likely some of this fear is imprinted in our genetic expressions, our limbic systems, and originating from a scarcity fear that turned us from peaceful garden dwellers in fig leaves to the warring, post-Saharasian tribes that may have given us our first real, violent inclinations. it’s one theory, anyway.

i liken this particular question to that of freedom versus determinism. i find great comfort in determinism, of course. it gives me purpose and meaning to look for and stay focused on. i am here with a purpose and that purpose is… bam. done, kinda. i will just go and do that.

freedom seems terrifying in comparison, like the difference of being in a lush and comforting forest versus facing a great wide open plain. it is easy to see which i prefer – the forest is as a womb to me. the field has nothing to hold up the sky and is too full of too much possibility. and again, i’m likely operating from my amygdala. i’ve done a lot of work the past several years on rewiring some things around that, but at one point in our evolution, we shifted to bipedalism so we could see over the grass and better keep ourselves fed and out of danger, so… it’s in there, that fear of the hunted, and it’s more about collective species damage than individual trauma (add that to our united misfortune, though, and that person suffers even more than most. they are always watched). It might do me some good to channel the raptor, to fly over the plains searching for prey, but i am not really interested in hunting anything, and I do not want to kill.

what i want is trust, strength and indulgence and a consciousness that has a very sharp eye. i ask myself what it is that i want from other people. the next step is to cultivate those things in myself.

when i remember to do this, i’m forced to be honest about what it really is that i want from others and what is mine to fill. what comes next then, are those joys that can only be shared through conscious communication with others, endeavored and indulged in with a much higher level of clarity, sincerity, and courage. and maybe some dirty words (actually yeah, definitely some of those. i’m a fan of spoken word).

oh, courage. one sometimes needs so much of it to be vulnerable. shame is maybe the biggest curse to befall us; it cuts us off from joy and catharsis and the sloppy wet sounds of life. we lose out on the answers to questions we don’t ask.

 

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