"We each need to discover our own relationship with violence. Even if we hold a strong moral or ethical view about the importance of nonviolence, we need to come to terms with our own experiences of frustration and rage that can turn into violent action. I discovered this through an intense and difficult process.
In order to deal with this aversion to violence, I decided to psychologically desensitize myself. I spent a year going to every war movie I could ever find, and reading stacks of soldiers' memoirs and true life accounts of wartime adventures. I didn't limit myself only to the tales of soldiers. I also read about the experiences of doctors and nurses, bystanders and victims, leaders and followers.
At first I would have to leave the theater in the middle of the film or close the book partway through. Gradually, I was able to stay to the end, without running away. I began to come to terms with the experience of violence, and the profound damage it does to all the parties involved.
There came a time when I noticed a slight shift over some invisible boundary, when I started to feel inside myself the thrill of the kill that was portrayed in these books and movies. It was subtle at first, but eventually I had to admit that I was having a visceral experience of what people call bloodlust. I could understand the rush, the heightened state that some soldiers described, as they poured the power of destruction onto the 'enemy.'
I could also experience the fear of the firefight, the terror of the trenches or the night patrol, the horror of seeing your friends blown apart beside you, and how that horror could be translated into unthinking brutality against fellow human beings. At the same time, I came to relate to the desire and willingness to live through this kind of nightmare for the greater good — the intention to serve and protect the people. When I came to know in myself this range of emotions and possibilities, I met the warrior within, with all her potential for violence and for service, and I was humbled."
- Louise Diamond