Violence vs Altruism

  • by Ian Sinclair (Sinclair Martial Arts)

Both violent crime and altruism have biological roots. In fact, one might surmise that, at least in some ways, they are dependent on each other. A bird with one wing cannot fly.

Competition is beneficial to our survival as a species. But so is cooperation and collaboration.

The ability to perpetually seek balance and harmony is absolutely essential for survival.

Accepting the violent nature of the universe is necessary in order to perpetually mitigate the destructive effects of that violence. The better we are at doing so, the more peaceful the world will be. Ignoring the existence of violence is a sure-fired way to make the world more violent and chaotic.

A truly successful warrior is the one who restores harmony before the antagonist realizes the battle has begun. Just as a calm mind is cultivated through increased awareness of its subtle chaos, a peaceful existence is cultivated through the relentless study of the origins of conflict.

The challenge we face as martial artists is in learning to deal properly with our own emotional instinct toward unconscious bias and toward dogmatic extremism.

This may in fact be the main problem that we face as martial artists. We tend to commit ourselves to opposing the wrong things, and end up fighting ourselves, either directly or indirectly. We clench up, either in resistance to the perceived threat, or in support of what we think is an effective technique. Our need for proprioceptive resistance overwhelms the ability of the mind and body to understand what is actually effective, and makes us add more tension when we should be relaxing.

“Two birds tied together, though they have four wings, cannot fly.” – The Bind Man (Circle of Iron)