There are many, sometimes complicated, definitions of violence. In keeping with equality, I prefer the simplicity of, ‘Violence is any behaviour that harms or weakens the quality of relationships.’
Systemic violence can exist in a wealthy economy when a law or set of laws ensure certain groups continue to live in poverty. Violence can be part of any system, such as family, community or nation, if the rules favour one person or group of people at the expense of others.
Many people are kept in a different kind of poverty by our culture and are described as being ‘time poor.’ They look for books that supply quick, ready-made solutions to problems. They are too busy to spend time reflecting on beliefs and values and just want to know how to quickly fix a problem so they can get on with other things. A social researcher, Bernard Salt, refers to these people as Nettels, which means Never Enough Time To Enjoy Life. A Nettel leads a hectic and stressful lifestyle and feels there is no choice. That’s how life is and there is no way to go back to the simpler life of past generations.
However, there is always a choice. We can continue as a nettel, or we can spend a little time reflecting on the ideas presented in this A to Z series, many of which can save us a lot of time in the long run. Madly trying to keep up the pace of today’s world is approving of the inequalities causing so much of the unhappiness and conflict harming relationships. This is a form of violence called ‘cultural violence’.
We can Take Enough Time To Evaluate Life. It takes time and it takes effort, but setting aside a little time to reflect on what is really important in life saves a great deal of time and stress in the long term.
Researchers Pickett and Lynch describe good mental health as coming from what a person does rather than from what he has. A mentally healthy person accepts himself as he is. He can look after himself, and judges his worth as a person against realistic standards, rather than against the almost impossible standards advertisers and others try to push onto him.
Bob Myers, author of Travelling the Road of Peace and Happiness.