In Praise of the Violence of the Non-violent

Erasmo Calzadilla

Havana Street.

During this period, the anniversary of the death or birth of Gandhi is being marked.  Just like they did last year, my pacifist friends (the pacifist wing of my friends) therefore decided to call for a day of non-violence.  This will be taking place in a country where interpersonal aggression has become the norm (with individuals even acting out against the State, and vice versa).

I applaud the effort of my friends, but I have something in favor of violence, and I’ll take advantage of this opportunity to explain myself here.

Let’s play around with philosophy:

If we accept that no one has the final truth (which to me is the least violent point that anyone could ever base themself), then all conflict can be summarized as a confrontation between identities that struggle to live and to make their will prevail in the face others with opposing desires.

If we don’t accept the existence of final truths, if we don’t smell the ontology anywhere, then discourse concerning violence (and the practice that accompanies it) is as valid as any other.  Moreover, to seek to exclude it, even if this is attempted kindly and gently,  is also a violent or abusive action.

But there’s the other variant: the recognition of final truths, even asserting that these exclude violence.  But we have to ask whether this is any less violent.  Is anything more violent than a final truth?

It’s worth asking yourself whether it’s possible to live without practicing violence.  I’m not referring to elementary acts (physical blows, insults etc.), but to violence in the deepest and most philosophical sense in the word.  Is it possible?

Perhaps the best solution, the fairest and most sustainable solution, will not be found in “non-violence” but in a balance whose exact latitude would have to be reconsidered in every circumstance.  Maybe the wisest thing would be to avoid direct confrontation as much as possible and to try to harmonize energy with those who are in opposition (to the degree you can…).

Indeed, all identities —by virtue of the fact of being identities— have their opposite, and even the all-powerful Lord has one (in this way he ceases to be the all-powerful Lord) without which he wouldn’t be who he is.

Note: This writing does not have the slightest intention to justify violence.

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Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

Erasmo Calzadilla has 408 posts and counting. See all posts by Erasmo Calzadilla

3 thoughts on “In Praise of the Violence of the Non-violent

  • i gave up the use and consumption of all animal products a decade ago. i believe we can relieve ourselves of all forms of cruelty and violence, and i can tell you it feels fantastic. i’ve never been healthier – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, physically.

  • Grady violence ¿is not a concrete problem in Cuba or the entire world?

    saludos amigo

  • If you should tire of playing around with academic or abstract philosophy, Erasmo, perhaps you might devote some of your fine mind to the concrete problem and question at hand for Cuba and the entire world: “What is the core economic attribute to a reformed, workable form of socialism?”

    If you should ever apply your mind to this important problem or question, perhaps you will be good enough to report back to us poor, befuddled HT readers.

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