“For peace which appears feasible.” Interview Part 1

(by Stephan Bartunek)

Is Western modernity truly the embodiment of concepts we are so eager to invoke, or are there not methods and mechanisms of force hiding behind it, which have been able to consolidate in us humans for centuries, if not millenia?

A society which, precisely in its most important institutions, does not rely on freedom, but on very transparent domination and force, simply cannot be as free as it claims to be, regardless of how vehemently.

For Idealism Prevails, I sought a person who sees behind the social norms by dealing with those who are rejected. Rüdiger Lenz is the discoverer of the “non-combat principle”, a therapist and a researcher of violence.

He goes exactly where hope glimmers only as sunshine through barred windows, in prisons where violent perpetrators have to sit out their punishment. His work with these people has resulted in a re-socialization rate which has made the autodidact remarkable for academics and scholars alike.

A conversation about the work of Rüdiger Lenz, which is applicable to individuals, but also to communities and societies.

Mr. Lenz, what is violence?

Phew, that seems to be an easy question, but it is very difficult to answer.

To understand what violence is, a general understanding of three other terms is necessary: aggression, conflict, and struggle.

Struggle is synonymous with war or battlefield (Campus). Violence is embedded in this context, and it makes little sense to explain the concept of violence individually, which has indeed contributed greatly to his irritation. Let us take the concept of aggressiveness. When people are asked the meaning of aggressiveness, they define it around the concept of violence. Which is not true at all. In addition, it would be necessary to understand the circumstances under which violence can erupt in people and when it does not. From the perspective of the brain, education, training and therapy are one and the same.

Violence is a chain of behaviour that serves as a substitute for different behavior. In psychology they are called ‘maladaptive behaviour patterns’.

Violent perpetrators, that is, people who have repeatedly resorted to violence for years, are addicted to violence. They have the same nerve network as a drug addict. Outside of addictive substances, there are very many behaviour patterns that can be addictive when used maladaptively. Politicians or the military, for example — unbeknownst to themselves — are affected in the same way as thugs or violent criminals with whom I had contact over a long period. Society as a whole just does not speak of the problem of violence to the same extent, because the phenomenon of violence is not prioritised in educational institutions. On the other hand, if one reads the great psychologists and sociologists, there is unanimity as regards the concept of violence, as I shall briefly state here.

In essence, the wish to exercise violence arises as a result of a great sense of powerlessness in people.

This powerlessness always affects one’s own life situation, in which failure is practised very successfully. And in order to escape the feeling, one produces even more powerlessness in another person — through acts of violence. This creates a maladaptive feeling of power in the perpetrator; the powerlessness and the reason for it fade away and a feeling of success is experienced.

The only way out of this spiral of violence is the experience of lasting success.

The success experienced does not have to consist in being able to call a Ferrari one’s own. Rather, everyday and possible success situations are significant.

It is important to learn how to resolve conflicts, which strategies are helpful.

Violence is an expression of disintegration, say sociologists. And they are right, but thus also begins the subterfuge of the subject of violence. From the slap in the face to the dropping of the atomic bomb. It is about the so-called integration potential of the individual and to what extent society fails to judge its members in terms of their potential rather than stubbornly decreeing some educational and working direction which does not take the individual into account.

A further important aspect is the training towards behaviour patterns which serve the system, but not the free development of personality and identity.

That is, in short, the core problem of violence in general. All of society is affected. Not just the school bullies or the work place mobbing. The entire financial economy is open to fantasies of violence, and has become a playground for the acting out of psychopathy and sociopathy. This pervades the entire military, the intelligence services, the media and the social industry. The finger-pointing and outcrying aimed at the violent offenders is a deflection strategy for the people, so as not to look in the right direction we are given the parole: “We need solutions for the problem of violence.”

Solutions must first seek the origin of the conflict, since the trigger of violence is not, as widely accepted and taught, aggression or aggressiveness. The trigger of violent fantasies and violent acts is always an inner conflict. Aggressiveness is the degree of intensity of the action.

Can violence be contagious?

No! Violence, however, can be transmitted and turned into a tradition. Because of this, most perpetrators were previously victims of violence. Violence is a mental illness. And if ideas can be strong viruses, violence could be called contagious. But perpetrators cannot infect a healthy, well-grounded human being.

If one wanted to infect a healthy person with violence, this would only be achieved by means of long-term propaganda (military strategy) or brainwashing (political strategy via media). In both cases, however, what the psychoanalyst Arno Gruen calls “the stranger in us” would have to have occurred beforehand in one’s upbringing and humanization. It would lead too far to explain this now.

I touched on the topic in my “Vienna Lecture” and would like to refer to this lecture, which can be watched on YouTube on the channel of “Gruppe42”. If violence were contagious, then we would have a pandemic. I am glad that violence is not contagious for then our species would have died out long before our time. Mel Gibson’s new movie “Hacksaw Ridge” clearly shows that violence is not contagious.

Renowned peace researcher, Dr. Daniele Ganser, speaks in his lectures about the “spiral of violence”. For him, war and war-related crimes are always a chain of different causes, which then lead to a breakout of violence.

Dr. Daniele Ganser is a peace researcher in the sense of uncovering geostrategic events and intrigues. One might call him the Sherlock Holmes for hidden operations on this geostrategically very large board.

The spiral of violence is also the main focus of most actors within the peace movement as well as outside the movement. This knowledge is, for many, the gateway into the movement. For me, however, this is not research into underlying causes, but rather symptom recognition. And this is important! However, it cannot lead to the solution of the phenomenon. Rather to uprisings or revolts.

If one solely examines the geostrategic involvement of war and peace, one is looking at the surface level. At that which the phenomenon of violence leads to, and not at what causes it. It is similar to the wounds that a thug causes to a victim. If a psychology of the perpetrator were to be built on the basis of these wounds alone, it would be completely useless in practice to change violence in the perpetrator. This is a significant difference for me, towards a strategy for peace. For peace, therefore, which appears not only possible but rather feasible.

In the end, even the loyalty to alliances and allegiance behaviour of the state blocs are nothing more than hollow words. They are only valid until someone disbands them or leaves and joins another alliance. And thus, such strategies, to me, are maladaptive strategies of finding an externally induced or expected peace. For they seduce the researcher as well as interested parties into knowing about the latest symptom and strategies, and to explore them. This is a never-ending story in the history of mankind.

This is almost like in local or national football matches. All viewers become coaches, experts of the game. Right now, we can witness this in the example of the new President of the USA and the startled Europe. A new symptom, so let’s shoot another 10,000 hours of documentaries about the how and where to.

The causes of the outbreak of violence lie in substitute actions of state leaders, in the principle of rule in general. Domination suppresses self-discovery and self-control. Domination requires external leadership. External leadership leads to people in society not being able to develop their talents and their potential.

Wars that are based on resources and rare minerals are trying to come up with roundabout ways of stabilizing society for their nations or states. This is irrational, because the domination of such a state does not respect the treasures of people’s potential, but robs others to steal their mineral resources.

Would not it be much wiser to tap the potential of the people themselves and set in motion unimagined developments which completely dispenses with the ‘war for resource snatching’? Oh yes, of course. Then the pyramid system, that is, the entire domination caste, would crumble completely. And here we are faced with the basic foundation of wars, oppression, colonialism, and bondage and power. Purely from a human perspective, the issue is primarily about power. Everything else is fillers for the legitimacy of the exercise of power.

Our realm of life is legitimized and justified with all sorts of academic frills. Quasi kept alive. Looking at the great spectacle is still the most successful strategy of the perpetrators (in official courts as well as in Den Haag, the UN or NATO) to divert from their actual wheelings and dealings. This has been successful for thousands of years because they know how to steer the view of the masses as well as the interest of many academics in the wrong direction.

In my opinion, the causes of wars is not the detonating of bombs. We must go back much further. They are also not really about true conspiracies or secret interest groups. They are grounded on the behaviour and the complete disease of the normal or normative.

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