The World Today

I had an interesting conversation with my seniors the other day. It was Monday morning and they were talking about the news of the weekend and the world at large. One of them said “The world today is far more violent than it used to be”. I countered with the question, “Do you think the world is more violent, or is it that we are shown more coverage of the world’s violence due to the availability of satellites, telephones and the internet”?
This question was discussed for a number of minutes with the consensus among everyone that the world is far more violent than the one that they remember from their past.
Interestingly, I went looking for a photo to illustrate this post on Google just now. I typed in the search term “The World Today” and hundreds of photos filled my screen. Photos of war, starvation, refugees, soldiers, disasters, suffering and religious extremism. Peppered among these photos were brighter ones of quotes about change, royal weddings, technology and animals. The world is certainly a paradox.It is a question I’ve been thinking about all week though. Especially in light of the recent tragedy in Belgium. As heart rending and atrocious as this was, there are tragedies taking place every day throughout the world that find no  coverage by the major news outlets.
In the 1970s an Australian band called Sky Hooks sang a song called “Horror Movie”.  The lyrics are quite repetitive (hey, it’s a song lol) but the message is clear.

It’s a horror movie right there on my TV
Horror movie right there on my TV
Horror movie and it’s blown a fuse
Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
Horror movie, it’s the six-thirty news
And it’s shockin’ me right outta my brain

The fact is that every day, tragedies and horrors are occurring.
Is the world becoming more violent? I would offer the opinion that due to the constant barrage of violence in our media and the ready availability of violent movies and video games, we have become somewhat inured to it all. I believe that many of us have adopted the stance that as long as it isn’t happening to us personally, we can deal with it.
I still ask the question though. Is the world more violent?

I have just finished reading the book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand. I picked this book up after my family were watching the movie of the same name (directed by Angelina Jolie). I couldn’t watch it. I have this thing that I struggle to view what I call ‘unnecessary violence’ but I can read about it (go figure). I think it has something to do with the way my mind filters stuff. (If I didn’t have this ability I’m sure I would never have been able to read all of the Game of Thrones books. 😉 )
Anyway, for those of you not familiar with “Unbroken”, it tells the story of U.S. Olympian Louis Zamperini. Louis joined the Air Force at the outbreak of WWII. His plane went down and he spent 47 days drifting at sea before being captured by the Japanese and interred in a POW camp in Japan. The story is one of hope, resilience, gratitude and forgiveness and it will stay with me for a long time. However, the book also has a mass of data in relation to deaths of U.S. POWs at the hands of the Japanese during the war. It talks about the ‘Kill All’ policy held by Japan and quotes the statistics of those who were killed during the war. These numbers far outweigh the number of innocent people killed two days ago in Belgium. The numbers quoted in the book also don’t include Allied servicemen (Australians, British and others) who also lost their lives in places such as Changi.
I could go on and remind you all of the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews or the mass graves found in Bosnia and Sarajevo. And I struggle to forget the genocide of Rwanda.
So what is the answer to my question? Is the world more violent today?
My personal opinion is that the world hasn’t become more violent. It is my belief that the violence has always been there but that it has become more commonplace to see and hear about it in our technological age.
On the other side of that argument, I also believe that in this day and age, there is a greater lack of respect for fellow human beings and basic values are being eroded.
Whatever the answer to the question though, I hold the solemn belief that change, love and peace begin with us as individual.
For all the bad in the world, there is also so much good and it is the good that we need to remember. It is the good that will sustain us.

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37 thoughts on “The World Today

  1. It is a very interesting question. Perhaps your seniors were thinking of the nature of the kinds of violence we hear about today. War atrocities, committed by regimes and governments from their day may have seemed a lot more removed and “big picture” – as well as something they were clearly able to fight against. On the other hand, the violence we hear about today seems intensely personal, taking place where people live and work, perpetrated by people who look like just everyday citizens. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject.

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    1. I can see where you are making the distinction between the atrocities of war and the type of violence the world faces today and the argument is one that was presented during the discussion as well. I agree that the question is an interesting one. It’s such a shame though that it is a question that has to be raised.

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  2. You may be right: the world may not be more violent. We are just seeing more of the violence in real time. Thanks for posing the question to teens and also for sharing how you feel about violent movies. I couldn’t watch Twelve Years a Slave for the same reason. And I think Hollywood is making movies more violent to draw people to the theaters. Good post. Thought-provoking.

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    1. I refuse to watch the movie Twelve Years a Slave for the same reasons as you. I can’t bear to watch another person being cruel to someone else. I find it interesting that movies these days are much more graphic in their depiction of violence. Gone are the days of the old westerns when a man pointed a gun and the other man fell down.

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  3. I believe we are made much more aware of violence in the world these days- but I do also believe there is more violence. Lock downs in schools because of mass shootings, who would have dreamed such evil when I was growing up. Young teens randomly punching out older people they see walking- punching them directly in the face “for fun” in broad daylight, termed “knockouts” Video games did not exist years ago, the violence I have seen in them I find appalling. We played Pac Man. The world has become a sad place, brought more to the fore by the disgraceful behavior of Donald Trump here in the US who people seem to love. They cheer his bullying, his commending people for beating up protesters at his rallys – condoning such awful and violent behaviors. Ok, I’ll get off my soap box now 🙂

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    1. I find it interesting that so many people are rallying behind that disgraceful man and wonder just how many are actually registered voters or just along for the ride. That then raises the question, if they are just along for the ride is it because of the violence?

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  4. Very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. I have often wondered about this same question. I think we certainly are more aware of global violence due to technology; however, I think violence has also become more commonplace. School shootings, random gun violence, and now terrorist attacks in public places reach our own streets and families, where before violence seemed so far away.

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  5. I do agree with your oldies Sis yes there is more random violence now ,road rage ,attacking oldies and our young in the streets .we walked or rode our bikes to school and to play and we only had to watch out for the boogie man ,we never saw him but he is here now giving out drugs not lollies .I read daily musings mention Donald Thrump. It will be a sad day in Americas history if he becomes president ..well I could talk all day on this subject but as your eldest daughter says I never stop.I agree with your oldies well of cause I do Iam an oldie also .

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    1. My eldest daughter is a naughty girl sometimes. You should read back on some of my other posts to see what she has said ha ha.
      And I’m laughing that you identify with my ‘oldies’. I guess I don’t see you as the same because you’re just mum. ❤

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      1. No. It’s not local, and it’s a great morale booster. You get to see all the wonderful things that are changing our world in very positive ways.The things that don’t make the news. When I was in High School — way back then — I took a course in Journalism. I remember quite a few things from that course, but what stands out most in my memory is that good stuff doesn’t make the news. Mostly, I guess, because it isn’t glamorous enough. Just very effective people quietly improving our world. I recommend googling “The Intelligent Optimist.”

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  6. One thing you might research is the rate of violent crime in the US. You might be surprised that it has been falling for decades – it peeked in the early to mid 1990s. It is now at the numbers of the early 70s and the numbers of the mid 60s. In the last year or two there has been a slight increase in major cities, bit it is still at half the rate as it was back 20 years ago.

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    1. thats interesting trentpmcd .Its not how we in Aussieland think of the states we think violence is out of control .Ihad a young friend go to the states for 2 months and she said she walked down some streets in New York by her self i was horrified but she said she was safe ..

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    2. That is quite interesting to note Trent. Thank you for pointing that out. One wonders (with the external influences such as drugs and intolerance) how the rate has dropped rather than risen?

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      1. I’m not sure. When I did a quick search to make sure I wasn’t way off base, they did say there has been a slight rise, particularly in a few urban areas. I’ve also read a few theories, my favorite being that a graph of the rise and fall of violence in our country is almost identical with the levels of use of leaded gasoline, but offset by like 18 or 20 years. My guess is that if that is true we’ll never know – the big oil companies will never let us find out.

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  7. You present a good and thoughtful question for discussion. I do not think the world is more violent than it has been.
    I do think we had less violent periods in America, but overall, no, I’m sure it’s less violent here than it was before we were an actual nation. I think it must be the KIND of violence we see. The evolution of violence, the school shootings, for one. The sadder truth is, we can never know all the ways in which violence may evolve.
    The world must surely have many more places where violence waxes and wanes.
    I think we do see more of the violence, and for those of us who feel deeply, it makes us strive to be more peaceful. For some, it seems to be entertainment. :/

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    1. That’s a good point Joey. I don’t know much about the days of the wild west (apart from movies and we know just how accurate they are 😉 ) but it appears that it was quite lawless and vilent.
      You also make an interesting point about the evolution of the violence and it’s type. In effect, it has become more personal I suppose.

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      1. I was thinking about the genocide of the North American natives, and the Revolutionary War, but the wild west surely was violent, as you say.
        I’m disinterested in the evolution of violence, but there does seem to be increased shock value.

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  8. You’re right Suz that there is still much good in the world and it’s that good that will one day I hope bring about a proper lasting peace. But first the good have to raise their voices against the minority who want to keep going to war, who want to profit from arms sales and oil supplies that don’t belong to them. We have to say enough is enough, we can live together with respect if not with love. We are after all One people. Let’s create a world secure for our children.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

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  9. Excellent question and discussion Suz. I’ve actually inquired of many elderly their thoughts and it was inconclusive. Some thought yes,more violence and some thought no.It is an interesting question. Many of the elderly mentioned that there was a great deal of theft and beatings but ,less killings in older years. To try and get some kind of baseline, i looked up worldwide war deaths on Wiki and I was blown away. Did you know that Imperial Japan killed far more Asians from 1850 to 1945 than died on all sides of WW2? When America was colonized we Caucasians killed somewhere between 10 million and 130 million Native First Nations – and that wasn’t even a war. there are currently dozens of wars in progress that have killed millions and are still ongoing.

    Suz, i am afraid that we are so violent as a species that it is hard to tell if violence is going up or down = we are likely to start a war at any time and millions more will die.

    To be honest I don’t think there is a lot of difference in the amount of violence Suz. Have a Great Easter!

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  10. Violence is a terrifying topic and yet many seem to love being frightened by it in fiction. In real life, we cringe, or at least those of us decent enough to value life do. I work to forget the names of those who create violence but do not forget the acts or the victims. Not sure my solution is any better, just a way for me. Well considered topic, Suz.

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    1. I can still recall the names of women in the past 30 years who were victims of well publicised and violent crimes. It is sad that even though I never knew these people, their names are known to me. What is sadder still is that it was because of violence that their names became known.
      I don’t enjoy being frightened by violence in fiction but I can understand at times where it comes from. I find it useful that my brain has this little switch that allows me to distance myself from it when reading.
      Thanks for your input Sharon.

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  11. Suz, it’s been a long time since I’ve visited, and upon arrival, realize that you took a break from blogging.
    My campaign for State Delegate kept me from WP a good bit, and 3 months later, I am still getting back into a routine of visiting blogs.
    Looking at your earlier post in March, it seems that you are accomplishing a lot and focusing on health.
    In terms of this post: my opinion is that the world is not more violent and awful, just that we hear about it within moments of it happening.

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