Saturday, January 15, 2011

Violence begates Violence?

Last night some of my friends were out for a birthday celebration at a bar in the city. I was not in attendance, though I wished I'd been there for my friend's birthday there is not much to offer me in bars these days. I guess I am past that stage of life and now the occasional glass of shiraz with dinner suits me just fine ;) This morning I was informed that while my friends left the bar, some other (drunken) party-goers were also leaving and they were 'looking for a fight'. My friends were in the wrong place at the wrong time and a fight ensued. I am sadden to say that one of my friends is now hospitalized with serious injuries (broken jaw, ribs, etc). This happened on brightly-lit street corner in my city of  Toronto during a fairly active time in the evening (albeit with bar-goers). I was not there so I cannot comment on the course of these events; who hit whom when, and so on. After hearing of this news, it got me thinking about how much violence has been in the forefront of the media as of late and if this presence and perpetuation of violence in the media reverberates in culture and, thus, instigates further violence? It also made me question why the current state of society is so prone to violence? What is it that we are so angry about? I think it is fair to say that violence surrounds us all, daily. I think it is also fair to say that it is in every country, every city, everywhere on the planet. I am an optimist at my core and I am apt to believe in 'the good public', yet, the events of last night (in my personal life) and the last week (in the greater community- what with the brutal attacks in Arizona, the death of an innocent child and the death of a Toronto police officer) have left me feeling empty inside. Today, I will meditate on a world with less suffering and less pain. Today, I will try to open my heart, despite the defensive feeling that takes over when one hears of loss and pain to a friend. Most of all, I will practice Lotus Mudra for the people who beat my friend, as hard as this can be, in hopes that they may be rid of violence as well. In the yoga community we call this Ahima; a practice of non-violence in the purest sense.


  1. I have lived in Canada and Australia. I would say living here in Brisbane Australia people are more violent here when drunk. I couldn't figure out why. I don't believe Australians drink more then Canadians...a friend I work with was involved in a glassing which left her blind in one eye. Then it dawned on me. It's not that Australians drink more then Canadians is that they drink out doors more. Canadians spend much more time indoors but because the weather here is warm all year round it is just common to drink outside....and drunk people do like to wander around. Back home in Toronto when we drink we tend to stay in the same place and not really venture out too much. What do you think Christine?

  2. Well, as you know Peter, I also lived down-unda for sometime. Firstly, I think that the Australians DO indeed drink more, and to excess (meaning until they vomit or pass out). I don't quite know why, but its a cultural thing for sure. We can always blame the Irish (just joking;). I think it might have been the fact that I lived in a college/university town last time I was there, but, hell, those people made me look like a complete puritan (and, at the time, I was not). I think if discussing violence (while drunk), for sure if it is taken to the unsupervised streets there is way more of a chance that things may get out of hand. Its funny to me that alcohol is legal and encourage in most Western societies where as other drugs are prohibited. Alcohol, in the wrong hands, can do so much damage. I went to a couple of the Sydney MardiGras parties, and witnessed the scary side of the drunken street culture after 1 a.m. in the 'city of pink glass'. Better off eating Chinese food until the sun rises, I say. This technique works well in both Canada and Australia. Is it a universal thing? Thank-god for the China Towns of the world for keeping the peace and feeding the post-bar drunkens and louts. Does not help that the bars have NO last-call (in Oz) and are open all night long, if I remember correctly?