Tag Archives: pacifism

The Fist, and how to deal with it.

I have been proud for some time that I knew Lydia McDonald back when she was a total goofball, before she became the sort of person who writes a thoughtful, well-considered response to the violence in Norway. Here’s one of the nut sentences:

Would you not rather suffer the pain of the innocent than wonder if something you have said or done stole enough joy from another human being that they passed the pain onward until it found you again?
It is that culture that mocks love and empathy and praises violence in whatever form, from unkind words to machismo to enslavement to war, that allows for the construction of human monsters at all.

There’s more, and you really should read the whole thing, now.
When you get punched, and I speak from a long history of inspiring violence in others, most people focus in on the fist. “I just got punched! What the hell? Why did they hit me?” The key question is not the fist, but what to do about it. Are you going to wrap yourself up in a fight or are you going to get out of it?

Lydia’s response, and mine, is that we can dissolve the fist before it ever reaches our nose. This doesn’t always work – but neither does anything else.