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Articles by: Robert J Burrowes

Why Are Police In The USA So Terrified?

Why Are Police In The USA So Terrified?

  In a recent incident in the United States, yet another unarmed man was shot dead by police after opening his front door in response to their knock. The police were going to serve an arrest warrant on a domestic violence suspect – the man’s neighbour – but went to the wrong address. See ‘Police kill innocent man while serving[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To End Violence And Avert Human Extinction

A Nonviolent Strategy To End Violence And Avert Human Extinction

  Around the world activists who are strategic thinkers face a daunting challenge to effectively tackle the multitude of violent conflicts, including the threat of human extinction, confronting human society in the early 21st century. I wrote that ‘activists who are strategic thinkers face a daunting challenge’ because there is no point deluding ourselves that the insane global elite –[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
The Psychology Of Mass Killers: What Causes It? How Can You Prevent It?

The Psychology Of Mass Killers: What Causes It? How Can You Prevent It?

  In Las Vegas on 1 October 2017, it appears that one man (although it might have been more) killed 59 people and shot and injured another 241 (with almost 300 more injured while fleeing). The incident got a lot of publicity, partly because the man managed to kill more people than most mass killers. However, because the killer was[Read More…]

Gandhi’s Truth: Ending Human Violence One Commitment At A Time

Gandhi’s Truth: Ending Human Violence One Commitment At A Time

  Gandhi Jayanti – 2 October, the date of Mohandas K. Gandhi’s birth in 1869 and the International Day of Nonviolence – offers an opportunity to reflect on human violence and to ponder ways to end it. There may be a fast way to end human violence but, if there is, Gandhi did not know it. Nor do I. Nor[Read More…]

Profit Maximization Is Easy: Invest in Violence

Profit Maximization Is Easy: Invest in Violence

  For those of us committed to systematically reducing and, one day, ending human violence, it is vital to understand what is causing and driving it so that effective strategies can be developed for dealing with violence in its myriad contexts. For an understanding of the fundamental cause of violence, see ‘Why Violence?’ However, while we can tackle violence at[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
Why Are All Those Racists So Terrified?

Why Are All Those Racists So Terrified?

  Racism is not a new phenomenon and while it is an ongoing daily reality for vast numbers of people, it also often bursts from the shadows to remind us that just because we can keep ignoring the endless sequence of ‘minor’ racist incidents, racism has not gone away despite supposedly significant efforts to eliminate it. I say ‘supposedly’ because[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
You Cannot Trap The ‘Magic Rat’: Trump, Congress And Geopolitics

You Cannot Trap The ‘Magic Rat’: Trump, Congress And Geopolitics

  A wonderful thing about observing and analyzing the human mind is that there is a seemingly infinite variety of phenomena to observe and analyze. I sometimes wonder if it is even remotely possible to master this subject but, even if it is not, at least it provides an unending source of ‘entertainment’. The phenomenon that I want to discuss[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled World
Biological Annihilation On Earth Accelerating

Biological Annihilation On Earth Accelerating

  Human beings are now waging war against life itself as we continue to destroy not just individual lives, local populations and entire species in vast numbers but also destroy the ecological systems that make life on Earth possible. By doing this we are now accelerating the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history and virtually eliminating any prospect of[Read More…]

Why War? Building On The Legacy of Einstein, Freud And Gandhi

Why War? Building On The Legacy of Einstein, Freud And Gandhi

  In 1932, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein conducted a correspondence subsequently published under the title ‘Why War?’ See ‘Why War: Einstein and Freud’s Little-Known Correspondence on Violence, Peace, and Human Nature’. In many ways, this dialogue between two giants of the 20th century is symbolic of the effort made by many humans to understand that perplexing and incredibly damaging[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To Defeat Genocide

A Nonviolent Strategy To Defeat Genocide

  It is a tragic measure of the depravity of human existence that genocide is a continuing and prevalent manifestation of violence in the international system, despite the effort following World War II to abolish it through negotiation, and then adoption and ratification of the 1948 Genocide Convention. According to the Genocide Convention, genocide is any act committed with the intent[Read More…]

An Open Letter To People With ‘Mental Health’ Issues

An Open Letter To People With ‘Mental Health’ Issues

  As ‘mental health’ issues gain more attention, sympathetic and otherwise, in a wide variety of contexts and countries around the world, the opportunity for inaccurate perceptions of what causes these issues, and how to treat them, are likewise expanded. So if you or someone you know is supposed to have a ‘mental illness’ such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive[Read More…]

Truth or Delusion?

Truth or Delusion?

One inevitable outcome of the phenomenal violence we all suffer as children is that most of us live in a state of delusion throughout our lives. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for accurate information, including vital information about the endangered state of our world and how to respond appropriately, to penetrate the typical human mind. ‘Phenomenal violence?’ you might ask.[Read More…]

International Collaboration to End Violence

International Collaboration to End Violence

While much of the world is engulfed in violence of one sort or another (whether violence in the home or on the street, exploitation, ecological destruction or war), a global network of individuals and organizations is committed to ending this violence in all of its manifestations. With individual signatories in 100 countries and organizational endorsements in 35 countries, each of[Read More…]

Why Do Some Men Rape?

Why Do Some Men Rape?

A recent report from Equality Now titled ‘The World’s Shame: The Global Rape Epidemic’ http://www.equalitynow.org/campaigns/rape-laws-report offered a series of recommendations for strengthened laws to deter and punish sexual violence against women and girls. However, there is substantial evidence that legal approaches to dealing with violence in any context are ineffective. For example, the empirical evidence on threats of punishment (that[Read More…]

Resisting Donald Trump’s Violence Strategically

Resisting Donald Trump’s Violence Strategically

It is already clearly apparent, as many predicted, that Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States would signal the start of what might be the final monumental assault on much of what is good in our world. Whatever our collective gains to date to create a world in which peace, social justice and environmental sustainability ultimately prevail for[Read More…]

The encampments at Standing Rock worked to keep prayer and nonviolence at the center of their actions. Photo by Joe Zummo.

Nonviolent Action Is Extremely Powerful

Nonviolent action is extremely powerful. Unfortunately, however, activists do not always understand why nonviolence is so powerful and they design ‘direct actions’ that are virtually powerless. I would like to start by posing two questions. Why is nonviolent action so powerful? And why is using it strategically so transformative? When an activist group is working on an issue – such[Read More…]

Global greenhouse gas emissions are not likely to slow down quickly enough to avoid passing the 1.5°C target, scientists said. (Photo: Jamie McCaffrey/flickr/cc)

Life On Earth Is Dying

On the day that you read this article, 200 species of life on Earth (plants, birds, animals, fish, amphibians, insects, reptiles) will cease to exist. Tomorrow, another 200 species will vanish forever. The human onslaught to destroy life on Earth is unprecedented in Earth’s history. Planet Earth is now experiencing its sixth mass extinction event and Homo sapiens sapiens is[Read More…]

Seeking The True Path

Seeking The True Path

One of the more subtle manifestations of the intimate link between (unconscious) human emotions and behaviour is illustrated by the simple concept of choice and how this is so often reduced to a dichotomy between two bad options. In such circumstances, most people choose whatever they consider to be ‘the lesser evil’. But how often are there only two options,[Read More…]

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment Is Violent And Counterproductive

Punishment is a popular pastime for humans. Parents punish children. Teachers punish students. Employers punish workers. Courts punish lawbreakers. People punish each other. Governments punish ‘enemies’. And, according to some, God punishes evildoers. What is ‘punishment’? Punishment is the infliction of violence as revenge on a person who is judged to have behaved inappropriately. It is a key word we[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy to End the Climate Catastrophe

A Nonviolent Strategy to End the Climate Catastrophe

As the evidence mounts that we are fast approaching the final point-of-no-return beyond which it will be impossible to take sufficient effective action to prevent climate catastrophe – see ‘The World Passes 400 PPM Threshold. Permanently’ http://www.climatecentral.org/news/world-passes-400-ppm-threshold-permanently-20738 – the evidence of ineffective official responses climbs too. See, for example, ‘Climate Con: why a new global deal on aviation emissions is[Read More…]

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

Gandhi And The Message Of Nonviolence

As most of the world ignores or hypocritically celebrates the 147th birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi on the International Day of Nonviolence on 2 October, some of us will quietly acknowledge his life by continuing to build the world that he envisioned. When asked for his message for the world, Gandhi responded with the now famous line ‘My life is[Read More…]

An Open Letter To The People Of The United States: Election or Revolution?

An Open Letter To The People Of The United States: Election or Revolution?

As citizens of the USA with a presidential election approaching you have a wonderful opportunity to ponder whether to participate in this election or to participate in the ongoing American Revolution. Your first revolution might have overthrown the authority of the British monarchy and aristocracy but the one in progress must remove the US elite which has executed a political[Read More…]

An Open Letter To The People Of Brazil

An Open Letter To The People Of Brazil

As I read of the latest coup in Brazil, once again removing a democratically elected leader from power, my anger surged. Not again! However, as I see and read about the ongoing massive protests, as well as calls by prominent community leaders to mobilize in defense of your country’s democracy, I feel great hope for Brazil. Having been a nonviolent[Read More…]

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

Nonviolent Revolt In The Twenty-First Century

I sometimes wonder whether one of the ways in which ‘Amercian exceptionalism’ manifests is that many US scholars and others are unable to consider the contributions of those who are not from the USA. For example, I routinely read about studies of Martin Luther King Jr. and his associates (such as strategist James Lawson) in relation to nonviolence while the[Read More…]

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

A Nonviolent Strategy To End War

There is a long history of anti-war and peace activism. Much of this activism has focused on ending a particular war. Some of this activism has been directed at ending a particular aspect of war, such as the use of a type of weapon. Some of it has aimed to prevent a type of war, such as ‘aggressive war’ or[Read More…]

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

The Psychology Of Ideology And Religion

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion. Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization[Read More…]

Hiding head in sand

The Delusion ‘I Am Not Responsible’

One of the many interesting details to be learned by understanding human psychology is how a person’s unconscious fear works in a myriad of ways to make them believe that they bear no responsibility for a particular problem. This psychological dysfunctionality cripples a substantial portion of the human population in ways that work against the possibility of achieving worthwhile outcomes[Read More…]

Beryl & James Burrowes 1942 & 2016

Lament For Humanity: A 50 Year Reflection

Deeply affected by the death of my two uncles in World War II, on 1 July 1966, the 24th anniversary of the ‘USS Sturgeon’ sinking of the Japanese prisoner-of-war ship ‘Montevideo Maru’ which killed the man after whom I am named, I decided that I would devote my life to working out why human beings are violent and then developing[Read More…]

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia: Why Are So Many People So Frightened?

Islamophobia has become a significant factor driving politics in many western countries. Islamophobia – fear of Muslims – is now highly visible among European populations concerned about terrorist responses from Islamic groups claiming Jihadi links. However, it is also evident among those same populations in relation to the refugee flow from the Middle East. In addition, Islamophobia is highly evident[Read More…]

by Comments are Disabled Life/Philosophy
A Critique of Human Society Since The Neolithic Revolution

A Critique of Human Society Since The Neolithic Revolution

There is a long history of social critics and progressive thinkers offering critiques of human society. Among those who are better known, Karl Marx offered a critique of capitalism, anarchists have critiqued the state, Mohandas K. Gandhi offered a critique of industrial society, Sigmund Freud and Herbert Marcuse offered critiques of civilization, and feminists have critiqued patriarchy. In addition, critiques[Read More…]