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Articles by: Robert J Burrowes

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…]