What is the Cause of Violence?
No matter where we live, it seems we can’t escape from encountering violence in some form or another. Violence surrounds us, whether we witness it firsthand or see it on the news, in games and tv shows, as school and workplace violence and shootings, or in countless other acts of violence for which there seems no sufficient explanation.
It’s hard to even imagine a world without violence, yet we know violence is not something imposed on us from outside – rather, it is something which wells up from within individuals.
Time and time again it is proved that violence fails to solve problems or lead to a positive outcome for anyone involved. So why do people continue to turn to violence, and can it be stopped?
A Few Violence Statistics…
Violence causes more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Violence is one of the leading causes of death in all parts of the world for persons ages 15 to 44. [Krug EG et al., eds. World report on violence and health. Geneva, World Health Organization, 2002. Via CDC]
The US Bureau of Justice reported in 2010 that 25% of women have experienced domestic violence and 6 million children witness domestic violence annually.
In 2013, an estimated 1,163,146 violent crimes occurred nationwide in the US, including murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault and crimes of theft.
More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history. [Politifact.com]
Research has indicated that investing early to prevent conflicts from escalating into violent crises is, on average, 60 times more cost effective than intervening after violence erupts. [Based on research found in the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict’s The Cost of Conflict: Prevention and Cure in the Global Arena (Ed. Michael E. Brown and Richard N. Rosecrance, 1999)]
Meditation practices in schools have noticeable benefits in alleviating violence. In a San Francisco School implementing meditation practices called “Quiet Time” saw suspensions decrease by 79 percent and attendance increase by over 98% as well as a noticeable increase in academic performance. [NBC Nightly News, January 2015].
How to stop violence?
When violent acts receive high-profile attention, fingers get pointed in all directions – towards mental illness, gun control, police and security, and the exposure of children to domestic and media violence, among many others.
While these aspects may all play their own role in any given violent situation, the root of humanity’s violence problem goes back much farther and deeper, to our very evolution as a human species. As Sadhguru explains in the video below, excerpted from a conversation with Arianna Huffington at Isha’s annual World Peace Day celebration, fundamentally, violence is rooted in human instability. Human evolution has brought us to a state of higher intelligence of which we need to learn to control. Cultural influence needs to produce more stable human beings early on to control intelligence and reduce violence.