The pursuit of peace se­ems to be one of the core pursuits of an individual’s life. Whether you have all the comforts of material life or you have to face all manner of struggles to get things going, at the end of the day, this is what everyone looks for: a moment of peace.
Everywhere you look, people are seeking a way out of conflicts and turmoil — both inner and outer. Whether it is external everyday turmoil that everyone has to face, large-scale strife such as a country at war or inner turmoil which is, perhaps, one of the toughest to handle, we are constantly searching for ways to make sense of our world. Peace can safely be called one of the most elusive objects of human desire.
And yet, ironically, what we are most entertained and excited by, isn’t peace. It’s conflict, conspiracy, intrigue, challenge and even violence. Human art and creativity is known to reflect the deepest longings of the heart, the visions of what we’d like to see, of what we’d like to be. One would think that with the quest for peace being so central to human lives, it would get more than its fair share of representation. But that’s hardly the case. Our most popular stories, our television programmes, our movies or our everyday conversation are mostly focused around conflict and violence. The most popular ones are usually the most violent — whether physically or ideologically. Even fictional characters that become popular among people are often embodiments of violence.
Turns out, the human mind seeks constant stimulation and peace happens to be boring. Since ancient times, violence has been a mode of entertainment for people embodied in often fatal human-animal contests of strength and skill; think about the gladiators of Rome and the bull fights of Spain or even Jallikattu — the bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu. Not to be forgotten are the modern embodiments of violent entertainment such as boxing and the hugely popular and greatly bloody WWE championships. Everyone loves a good fight, it seems.
While it is a known fact that the Y-chromosome in particular is more drawn towards violence and aggression, women are no different when it comes to having th­eir daily dose of conflict-based entertainment. Though it is true that female audience and readers tend to prefer more romance-based or comic content, one just needs to glance at the popular TV soaps, which primarily have a female viewership. Indian women in particular have a penchant for dramas that provide their staple diet of intra-family intrigue and conspiracy. That’s mental and emotional violence for you; the need for conflict is just the same, the difference lies chiefly in the category.
If all our popular characters started living everyday like a happily-ever-after, you can guess the direction that the television ratings or box-office collections would take.
And that’s where lies the chief reason for peace being so elusive: it bores us to tears. Through centuries of struggling for survival and competing for supremacy, we have become programmed for conflict. It’s more of a habit now, a heady addiction. We search for peace merely as a form of interlude — a period of rest between our battles. It’s not really eternal peace that we seek; it’s eternal stimulation.

(The writer loves to write)
Columnist: 
Zehra Naqvi
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