Solving the Problem of Violence!

Welcome to my first blog post. I spent several days scratching my head, endlessly, to find a fitting content to start my blogging journey. Out of nowhere, there flashed breaking news on television about an act of violence on the other side of the globe. Then and there, I knew what needed to be said and heard. Here goes:

There is a fascinating incident that took place during the filming of the 1968 science fiction movie, “Planet of the Apes” (Good movie! watch it if you have a chance). That movie required three different ape species: Chimpanzees, Gorillas and Orangutans. It required actors to put on the makeup, costumes and play these species. Filming is taking place. Then lunch break arrives; everyone is sitting around having theirs.

Then the director notices something very curious.

At one table, only the “Orangutans” were sitting & eating together; at another table all the “Chimpanzees” were seated, another table just the “Gorillas” and yet another table only the actors playing humans were seated. They would not mix with each other for the entire duration of the filming, in spite of the fact they were all human actors underneath the masks.

As amusing and bizarre this might have looked, this incident illustrates a breathtaking fact, that our external appearance is enough to bring out our own little genetic natures of fear and prejudice.

The only difference being, those actors put on the masks willingly and everyone else lives in one, unwittingly. It is very clear that the sole purpose of the human body is to act as a container to encapsulate internal organs, bodily fluids, providing mobility and allowing for life to function. But, the human nature will prey upon this very fundamental unit to stoke fear and divisions.

Just think for a second, not a single person in this planet gets to choose which family to be born into, which ends up deciding one’s race, ethnicity & religion.

Neither do we get to choose the country to be born in, which decides our nationality.

We don’t even get to choose, how we are born as. This means, no choice in deciding one’s gender, sexual orientation, physical characteristics and not even the date and time of our birth. In other words, we have ZERO choice in all these matters.

But, when we open our eyes for the very first time, we look at our “shell” and assume this identity for the rest of our lives.

The “shell” you wear will determine which of the 193 nations you will go to war with, which of the 4,300 religions you cannot get along, which of the genders you will associate with all your life and who you will side with when a racial conflict happens. Then we fight to defend our tribe for the rest of our lives…even if it means “Kill or be killed”. In other words, if you were born into my family, my enemies would be yours. If i was born into your family, your enemies would become mine.

Then one fine day, your heart stops beating, your physical body collapses, your identity is dissolved and your fight is over. What good was all that violence for? You don’t even exist anymore. My insurance agent jokingly asks me, “What are you worth two minutes after you are dead?” My answer: It doesn’t matter because there is no “ME” anymore.

The day we realize that underneath every shell there is a great intelligence that can build impossibly huge structures, display amazing creativity and construct tools capable of travelling to distant stars and galaxies.

If only we could look beyond this transient body and realize our true nature as human beings.

When this thought permeates into every person, then we don’t need EOE disclaimers (“It is illegal to discriminate because of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin etc.”) to treat each other right. All you need is one golden rule, “Treat others, the way you wish to be treated” and be done with it. You will naturally empathize with a fellow human and treat each other with kindness.

When that day arrives, we will not need to spend millions on policing, billions on armies, maintain nuclear arsenals. We will simply find a way to accommodate each other because it comes naturally.

Make no mistake, evil exists in this planet and it has to be addressed without a second thought. But, indiscriminately targeting an entire group of people simply creates more enemies instead of solutions.

On a fundamental level, vast majority of people are good, wanting nothing more than to come home after a hard day to a safe place, warm food and a cozy bed.

Can this new mindset solve all the conflicts around the world? Yes! But, first we have to become the change we want to see in the world.

If there is one goal or purpose in life that is worthy of fighting for, is this philosophy of looking at each other simply as a fellow human beings. If we can plant this seed in as many people as possible, we will all have found a way to get along with each other. This philosophy is at the very core of what Yoga Point is and what it aims to spread around the world.

Thank you for joining me. I would love to hear your thoughts on the same.