6/3/15

Living With The Beast Within



It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
Mahatma Gandhi
One of the main staples of toxic masculinity is the reliance to violence as a means to solve problems. Yet, we constantly are teaching out boys to praise violence. From the mother who beats discipline into her son, to the athlete applauded for his ability to crush his opponent, to the businessman respected for his “take no prisoners” mentality. We applaud aggressively as a virtue while condemning the results of an aggressive behavior. We honor those willing to fight for us, yet have gotten front row seats to the hurt and damage that results from it. So the obvious solution would be to view violence as a problem, right? Take Violence out of video games, out of sports, out of society, out of our lives?

Wrong.

Violence and the ability to be violent is actually an important aspect of simple self-preservation. The willingness to stand up and confront someone, challenge someone, is actually a necessary aspect of society. Without it, without rage, you would lose the ability to confront injustice. Without it you would just be another victim to a cruel world. It’s your personal rage that keeps your own worlds cruelty in check. Just think what kind of society you would live in without that anger that swells within your spirit every time you see someone doing something wrong.

We might blame violent media, be it music, movies or games, as directly responsible for the violence within society. There have been plenty of studies that the link between violence and violent media. Ironically, there have been plenty of studies that prove the complete opposite, how there is no connection between one and the other. The latter actually questions if we want to make that link just to justify our fears. Personally, I don’t think one causes the other automatically. If you need proof of how violent games don’t produce a violent culture, just consider all the countries that consume violent media, yet have some of the lowest violent crimes statistics worldwide. When we relate violent behavior and blame the media for violent acts, we remove personal accountability from these actions.

The danger of being blinded by the beast within comes from our inability to control the beast within. We are taught to unleash our beast when the time comes, yet do little to teach how to keep them in check. If anything, we are taught to suppress them so badly that the beast turns inward and consumes our soul. At this time, we either turn self-destructive or become that caged lion that no longer cares how much abuse is done on to him as you are left with an empty shell where once lived a majestic creature.

So, how can you unlearn to unleash the beast when it’s not needed, and keep it from eating you from the inside out? Create your own pressure valve. Give it an outlet. Hit the gym, take up fighting arts, run, anything that pushes the body and burn off the beast’s energy.

Take the time to understand your beast. Is it a result of frustration? Of anger? Of impotence? Or is it just habit as you are used to solve everything with confrontation? Understand who you are and contemplate why you are that way. You can’t really better yourself without understanding yourself. Write, reflect, meditate, smoke cigars, or whatever you need to create a space where you can lose yourself in thought. Only when you lose yourself within your mind can you find who you are.
Civilize the mind but make savage the body.
Find what works for you to keep the beast on a leash. Now, if you find it hard to discipline the animal within, DO NOT BE AFRAID OR ASHAMED TO LOOK FOR HELP. If you have a cold, you’d go to the doctor, right? If your car’s not running smooth, you’d take it to a mechanic? Then why wouldn’t you do the same for your emotions and your thoughts. We have made great strides in removing some of the social stigma from depression, yet have done little to do the same for violent behavior. Seeking help isn’t an admission of being an abuser, but rather an admission that you refuse to be one.

Just remember, "Only a Warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."