Today, while in one of my classes, my professor posed a question that piqued my interest: Where did all of this violence come from? Why are we, as a human race, so hell bent on destroying each other? These are questions I have pondered for years and in that time I have only been able to come up with one thing: We stopped listening to each other.

In today’s society, we all so caught up in our own lives. We are constantly worried about our futures, our pasts, and our present. We have become so wrapped up in ourselves, that we listen with the intent to reply rather than understand. As an individual, try and think of all the times you were talking to someone or a group of people and realized they weren’t listening. How many times a day do you have to repeat yourself because someone wasn’t listening? For me, this happens so often that there is no way to count.

When I think of this I can’t help but consider that “Black Lives Matter” campaign that is currently rocking the United States. How many of us truly understand what they are protesting and campaigning for? How many of us have taken the time to try? In reality, probably not many. Instead, we try to justify our “position” (if you can even call it that) by defending the police force, shoving examples of “reverse racism” wherever we can, and doing our best to find cases where a black person killed a white person. I have seen all of these things plastered on my social media walls, and I can’t figure out why. Why are we defending killings and racism and inequality? Why do we insist that these things don’t exist anymore? Look around- it’s everywhere. As a white woman, I have never had to fight all that hard for my voice to be heard. I cannot imagine being a black person trying to advocate for equality- trying to be heard. Why do these protests continue? Because we as a nation are not listening to them. We are not listening to what they are saying. We are not listening to what they are fighting for. We are too busy trying to defend our own lives. We are too busy ignoring our faults and our contributions to the problem.

Take a look at the problems in the Middle East. As a pacifist, I am the last person to advocate for a terrorist groups and mass killings, however I can’t help but wonder how things would be different if we would lay down our weapons and push aside our anger to take the time to listen to what they have been trying to tell us. When is the last time we took the time to listen to them and try to understand where their anger is coming from? Maybe if instead of constantly planning our “next move,” we actually took the time to listen to what they have been trying to tell us, they wouldn’t resort to so much violence and bloodshed.

So many people turn to acts of war and terrorism, because it is the only thing that gets people’s attention. It’s the only language we all seem to understand. We see violence plastered on the news, and many times don’t understand the cause behind it. We don’t try to find where it comes from. So much anger comes from not being heard. We aren’t heard because no one is willing to listen.

Clearly, our current system of killing each other isn’t working. If we as a human race ever hope to achieve peace, we have to start listening to each other. Until we do, nothing will get better. Nothing will change. We as humans will continue to destroy each other until there is no one left to kill.

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