This institution is dedicated to psychological task which is simple, and yet enormous in its difficulty: breaking the cycle of violence.
Violence is a cycle. Always. A person who is harmed seeks to do harm in return; and after they have done it, somebody will seek to hurt them back.
The cycle continues.
It is in every “I am justified in demonizing them, they are evil.” It is in every “You can’t blame me, they started it.” It is in every “It was necessary to eliminate the threat.”
It is in every argument that ends in hostility; it is in every clash of politics and values. It is in everything that makes our lives hell.
The hardest thing in the world is to break that cycle. We are animals, designed for an environment where survival depended on striking at the enemy as hard as he strikes at you.
Which is why we still have violence, even though everyone agrees that it’s a bad thing.
Recognizing this common thread in everything that holds us back from our potential; recognizing its manifestation within ourselves, within our everyday lives; recognizing the violence we do in response to what has been done to us; recognizing the effects of that violence which we do on ourselves.
That is what this institution is about.
Violence is not determined by blood and guts and gore; the word itself stems from “violation.” It is about an assault on something; a strike against its being, its essence, its right to exist.
It is in the outrage you feel at yourself for being who you are. About the outrage you feel at others for being who they are. It is in the outrage you have at those who propagate beliefs or values different from your own. It is about the rage that others have at you, that has infected you with self-hatred.
Stopping the cycle is the hardest thing in the world. It is also the most important.
We all say we want a better world.
Let’s go make one.