Fear is at the core of anger and aggression. Yet we become so busy with the strategy of control and the act of aggression we rarely see the cause. We can see the emotional dynamic at work whether we look at our internal thoughts, relationships, or the macro relationships of countries. The basis if aggression is a primal instinct for survival. Through awareness we can elevate our self to make a different choice, a choice of kindness, compassion, love, and respect. Failure to awaken to this choice will leave humanity in a perpetual state of fear and emotional suffering.
People who choose aggression can be very intelligent. Intelligence is no defense against the insanity of violence. This is true whether that violence and anger takes place in our personal relationships, or international affairs. Read the articles and chapters by Ben Ferencz ( I was not able to find some of the material that I had read earlier. His website has changed but you can probably find it in his books or website if you look. Here is a short excerpt below.
From his website
Now, I do not wish to compare any Americans to the Nazi leaders. But after hearing Rumsfeld’s words, I could not avoid being reminded of the argument put forward by the lead defendant in the Einsatzgruppen (Group of the SS in Germany under Hitler) trial at Nuremberg, S.S. General Otto Ohlendorf. When asked to explain why his unit murdered more than 90,000 Jews, including their children, the remorseless defendant casually explained that it was justified as anticipatory self-defense.
Germany anticipated an attack from the Soviet Union, Ohlendorf argued, and since Jews were perceived as supporters of Bolshevism, they presumably posed a potential future threat to German national interests. And if Jewish children knew that their parents had been executed, he continued, they, too, might become enemies of Germany, and therefore they had to be killed.
In a carefully reasoned judgment by the three judges presiding over the case — all of them American — Ohlendorf’s defense was held to be untenable, and the S.S. general was hanged.
Sixty years later, I am afraid, this and other lessons from Nuremberg are lost on the Bush administration.
Benjamin Ferencz was chief prosecutor in the Einsatzgruppen trial at Nuremburg.
Interesting read on the history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes by Pulitzer Prize winning author Tim Weiner It should help Americans with a perspective of how much of the world sees the US.
From one of my favorite programs, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
From the interview of Dough Feith, asst Secretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld during the second Iraq war. The specific line that points to the paradigm of fear is near the end of the second video. (time 9:55) Jon Stewart’s reply is, “With that standard of evidence, we’d have to take out,,, maybe 15 countries.” It all begins with assumptions based in fear.
Notice in the interview how the paradigm is different. The type of thinking is different. What is specifically different is the fear involved that drives the logic. It is late in the second video that that Doug Feith specifically refers to “worry”. Which is an intellectual and academic way of describing fear. The principle difference in the point of view is that of the underlying assumptions of fear based beliefs. The arguments you end up with very much depend on the assumptions you start with, and this is the real source of the problem of aggression and violence.
How to deal with agression
There is more to this answer than I can put in a post. But certainly becoming an aggressor is not the answer. It only leads to fear on the other side, and a reaction of aggression in return. The first step is to address the reactions in your self, and that means dealing with your own fears. That includes your fear of death. I found this video about Sergio Vieira de Mello. Perhaps his experience of what he learned in his life can help you.
Richard Feynman invites us to take another point of view and expand the way we question what we believe and what we do.
There are several more videos that follow this section that I don’t include here for space. You can find them on Youtube.
A man who is not afraid is not aggressive; a man who has no sense of fear of any kind is really a free, a peaceful man. – Jiddu Krishnamurti
For specific practical exercises to identify and change core beliefs and perceptions of fear practice the work in the Self Mastery Audio Program. The first few exercises are free.