Violence as a Means of Promoting a Worldview is a Failed Strategy

Sunlight shining through leaves

Wael Abdelgawad | WaelAbdelgawad.com

“Although you may spend your life killing, you will not exhaust all your foes.” – Nagarjuna

Violence is ultimately a failed strategy for spreading a message or promoting a worldview.

The Soviets sent millions to the gulag to suppress dissent, but communism failed anyway. Terrorists slaughter innocents and only turn the world against their causes. The Israelis have been killing the Palestinians and bulldozing their homes for sixty years, but the Palestinians remain. The USA has invaded or manipulated numerous nations, and (with the exception of the World Wars and perhaps the Serbian-Bosnian war) has only ever made the situation worse. The Syrian government has unleashed total war on its own citizens, but in the end the Asad regime will fall – count on it.

Did historical violence between Catholics and Protestants (and there was quite a lot of it) ever succeed in wiping out one side or the other? Of course not. So do the Sunni Muslims who bomb Shias, or the Shias who kill Sunnis, think they will wipe the other out? It will never happen. It is so stupid, evil and pointless.

Any organizations – or nations – that think they can achieve meaningful goals through violence are only squandering resources, wasting lives and corrupting their moral centers.

Zen master Sêng-chao/Sõjõ (384-414) said, “Heaven and earth and I are of the same root; the ten-thousand things and I are of one substance.” In other words, the air you breathe out is the air I breathe in. The earth on which I stand is the same on which you stand. All life comes from the same water and dust. All people are one people. All want the same things: family, security, and love.

This is why violence against someone else is violence against myself. There may be times when it is necessary in self-defense; even so, it represents a failure. This is the state of mind I strive for as a martial artist, an American and a Muslim.

– From the journal of Wael Abdelgawad

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