Victor MacGill Chaos and Complexity
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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, Myths and Legends

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Gonna Lay Down my Sword
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A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

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My first book..

When the Dragon Stirs

Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories, myths and Legends

When the Dragon Stirs Book Cover

The Dragon

Line

My next book...
Gonna Lay Down my Sword
and Shield

A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from our Violent Past to a Compassionate Future

Mandelbrot Set
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Violence


Life is change. When life changes, we too must change and adapt. When we do, we have the choice of adapting through love and co-operation or through violence. By adapting through love we incorporate the change into our being and change with it. We make ourselves bigger to include the change and become one with the new. Love moves us to unity by abandoning what was the old world picture we used to have of the world and taking on a new one that is more real and more encompassing. 
When we fall in love with someone, we open ourselves for the other person to become a part of our lives. We share ourselves, we meld and allow ourselves to change as we need to live a more open real and truthful life with that other person.

When we feel compassion for somebody else we feel their pain and sorrow we allow them to enter our world and our being and affect us. In their entry into our very being there is a healing, where we become one and find our unity.

Loving, as we all know, is not easy. It means being prepared to be changed, leaving behind our familiar self as we have come to know ourselves and feel comfortable with. We do not know how we will change or what we will become. We can only trust that we will become more and feel more fulfilled. Sometimes we have the courage to love, to take the risk of losing what has given us our certainty, and at other times our courage fails us. Then, our fear is too great and we do not have enough strength to break the barrier that keeps us from loving.

What happens then? We do not just give up, because the urge to find unity is so great. It has been said that when we cannot find love, we seek power instead. Why do we seek power, when we do not have the courage to love? We seek power because power also seeks the unity. After a change, power seeks to readjust the balance towards unity and wholeness. There is a crucial difference, however, between power and love.  Through love and compassion, we seek unity by allowing the other person in to ourselves to make a greater whole. When we use power and violence, we seek unity by remaining the same and forcing the other person to change to be what we would want them to be to meet our picture of unity. Rather than let them in, we block them out. Rather than accept, we reject.

Sex and love are intricately interwoven. Sex can be a powerful means of fostering the unity between people. Since power also seeks unity, power and sex are so related. Time and time again, we find people in positions of power have distorted and often bizarre sex lives. Bill Clinton is an obvious recent example. He, and those like him, seek unity in their lives by controlling other people, and controlling people sexually.

When we co-operate, we share. Money was first created in civilisations such as the Sumerians in the Middle East. It enabled us to co-operate and share resources far more effectively than ever before. Everybody who entered into a fair trade gained by the invention of money. The quality of life was much improved and people were able to live in greater unity. This was the loving side of money. As we all know, power has used money as well. When the fair flow of money is disrupted in order to control others, money becomes violent. 

Violence is therefore the way we seek unity in our lives, when we do not have the courage to attain it by love. Power and violence is quicker and easier than love. It is easier to punch someone than have the courage to resolve issues compassionately. It is less work and takes less guts. It is easier to manipulate people who cause us difficulty than it is to accept love and co-operate with them.

Imagine a group of our earliest ancestors leaving the forests and entering the African Savannah. They had to compete with the lions, hyenas and many other competitors in the race for survival. Physically the other creatures had the edge and could kill a human with relative ease. What made the difference was our ability to co-operate with each other. A lion could not compete with a whole group of organised humans wielding weapons. Co-operation was far more difficult for our early ancestors, because their means of communications were so limited. In that situation the only way of eliciting the level of co-operation needed was paradoxically through violence. Through displays of violence, one male or some time a group of males, would become dominant and all members of the group would follow the instructions of their leader. Failure to obey would result in violence being perpetrated on that member.  

The group co-operated very effectively, but that co-operation rested on a foundation of violence, or the treat of violence. This is almost as true today as it was then. You and I have inherited a habit of violence reaching back a million or more years and we will not change that overnight.

Our increased ability to communicate has meant that we can often elicit compliance without resorting to violence. There is, however, no way we can get three and a half million people living together in relative harmony without a very clear system of violent punishment, whether it is through forcibly taking money off people, or holding them against their wishes in a prison. Violence occurs in many subtle ways that we might not notice. It is not just physical, but includes verbal and emotional forms. We have become so accustomed to violence in all it’s forms over many millennia that we have become dulled to its destructiveness in our lives. Violence is also found at every level of our society, from oppressive government policy to young childrens’ arguments.

Time and time again through history our great leaps forward have been due to a social infrastructure of violence. The great achievements of the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, the Persians and so many other empires were only achieved by the blood of thousands of people, whose lands were taken by force. The great structures like the pyramids, the Roman viaducts or the Greek temples were built on the blood of many thousands of slaves. Without the thousands of years of indescribable violence, there would have been no Plato, no Shakespeare and no Einstein. Your ability to peacefully sit and read these pages rests on countless lives lost through history.

I am not saying that that violence was justified or right. I believe with all my heart and soul that love and compassion can be used to achieve the unity that has to date been all too often achieved through violence. But I do say that we will not change our million year habit of violence until we acknowledge how deep violence is within us and how much we rely on violence as a foundation for the co-operation that enables our society to remain stable.

Another difference between love and power is that love resolves and diffuses potential conflict that may occur in the future. Power and violence work in the short term, but because they divide and isolate, they ultimately take us away from unity into chaos and destruction. The short term fix backfires and takes us even further away from the unity we so keenly seek.

If we do not find a way to replace violence with compassion as the essential means of eliciting co-operation we will find our whole society degenerates into chaos and destruction. If we do, we can look forward to a future of increased love, peace and co-operation. It’s up to you and me.


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