On violence and the nervous system

If you want to judge the extent of violence a certain group faces, in all the different forms everyday violence can take, what you need to do is examine the state of the nervous system of people belonging to this group.

Trauma layers after each clash with violence, no matter how subtle or imperceptible, and each layer grips the tissues, nerves and muscles tighter and tighter. The reaction becomes chronic, creating a sense of panic and danger even if the danger that originated the gripping response is not immediately present.

We often fail to recognise the subtle violence in our environment because we are desensitised and lead to think that what we experience doesn’t classify as violence because it is ‘not serious enough’. Next time you feel your body gripping, see if you can identify the source of this reaction. Don’t judge yourself if you can’t immediately recognise it or confront it; it’s all a practice, and you can only eventually address an issue if you can feel it clearly first.

And if you find yourself gripping by just sitting on the street, as I do, then do accept there is a battle to be fought; and if you don’t and someone tells you that they do, believe them. The response of their nervous system is one triggered by their survival instinct, and this occurs because experience and patterns observed have taught this highly intelligent organism that there is a threat. This isn’t rooted in fiction, because it is being picked up on a level where we are most attuned – the one of an animal body existing in the physical realm. Work needs be dedicated to adjusting our world so the threat the body registers is no longer present and / or appropriate rehabilitation is offered, not in wasting breath on trying to disprove the violent structure’s existence. The latter is impossible, and violent in itself.

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