Welcome to Preserving Violence
About This Group
The concept of violence is a theoretical puzzle. When acts of violence take place, whether between groups, between individuals, or a mix there of there is a strong desire to make sense of it. There seems to be a disconnect by the news media when covering individual versus group violence. There is violence that is reactionary in nature and there is calculated violence. And there is the complexity of defining violence.
This group is open in order to remain objective and to allow access to theories and experts who may not be in the mainstream of thought. Academia has been looking for a useful theory to link violence to create a bridge that can explain group or political violence as well as individual violence. Much work concerns domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV). The category is under public issues and government, but is also a concern for law enforcement and so forth. Society wrestles to ascribe roles to individuals, yet the justice system is supposed to be blind when when enforcing sanctions.
Several items for thought and then I really want others to weight in also.
First, my social theory is that violence is ultimately engaged in as an act of preservation. With humanbeings this becomes very complicated because we engage in not just protecting physical objects or ourselves, but we seek to preserve and protect others, abstract concepts, ideas, and values. For example, we fought a Revolutionary War to "win our collective independence from another collective". We fought against the same country to "preserve our collective independence". Citizens fought each other to "preserve a nation" and to "win their collective independence". We see group think or group will at action. The same setting occurs in relationships as just the concept of a relationship is abstract, but in general it is singular rather than a collective. When two people mutually agree to a relationship there is minimal conflict and generally no violence. But when one wants to assert their "independence", if it threatens the "relationship" as perceived as worth preserving by the other person then conflict and violence occur either to preserve the relationship or to protect ones independence.
How individuals do this and groups do this has been made complicated, especially with the advent of complex reasoning and abstract thoughts. The concept of marriage has prevailed in society, but rarely do citizens discuss the merits of such social structures such as marriage that have emerged. Many people confuse marriage with their religious beliefs and societal norms and very few recognize it as a "product of the state" (a contract) until other government structures have to be dealt with. In a nutshell all organisms engage in activities which seek to preserve themselves. Humanbeings engage in acts of preserving social structures and other abstract concepts that it has ascribed a certain type of reality to and this complexity and how we define violence ultimately are associated with a functional or dysfunctional act of preserving. We even preserve the past, the present, the status quo, and we can even think to preserve the future as our ideas of time and space have expanded.
Second, is that much of the recent topic of violence has involved the tools employed in committing acts of violence, especially access to firearms by individuals. Most of us are disconnected from the broader conversation regarding the tools used to commit acts of violence between nations. We have read about the Atomic bomb. Many of us us mix up atomic weapons with nuclear weapons an rightfully so - these are abstract weapons to us and very few have had experience with them in their life time. Our reality is shaped by movies and literature. But we have jets, missles, tanks, mines, and many other ways to engage in violence. Society trains special persons to engage in the violence for us and a select few make decisions, supposedly rational, as to when it is acceptable to engage in violence from our perspective. Recently, we are told to worry about Iran's capability to develop nuclear weapons. We came to terms with India having nuclear weapons. And we are hearing/reading that Korea is unstable. So having mentioned this, then, it is my hope, however, that this group will not be dominated with just discussions of weapons control and tools of violence.
Third, I am looking for theories and existing societal structures that can be ued to promote accepted, funtional uses for violence (expanded definition) and ways to expand the concept of violence - competition, etc. and ways to address non acceptable and dysfunctional uses of violence. It seems that we need to get the news media to focus on this aspect of violence and not just ask large broad questions it does not plan on or is not committed to answering. For example, if society has the capability of determining that students have special needs- psychologically, then the next question that needs addressed is how to utilize that knowledge - the "Now what?" What should society do, or can it do it, and what are the obstacles to accomplishing what it is agreed on that society can or should, are topics that this group can address. Your contributions are welcome to expand our thought in this area and to provide research data, statistics, and other resources to the news media, editorial boards, and journalist who need factual information. Resources such as communities and legislators introducing legislation connected with this group topic will also be helpful.
Thank you, Tim.
P.s. There was a useful analogy I wanted to present, but it has slipped my mind. If it returns to memory and I am near a pencil and paper I will jot it down so that I can post it here later.
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