An alternate view on violence in society

Posted on April 30, 2011. Filed under: Social commentary |

When we reflect on the history of seemingly ‘random’ violence or other forms of highly offensive, irrational behaviour, we see a common pattern of reaction from the public and media in their attempt to explain such extreme acts.

Rather than deeply examining the nature of human social development and the vast spectrum of influences that create and shape each of us in unique or even detrimental ways, they take the easy way out.

The first thing they do is simply ignore all modern scientific, social understandings of what generates human motivation in both positive and negative regard; for to do so can only call into question the social system itself and hence the intellectual climate of the time/culture at large.

Generally speaking, it is historically accurate to say that the mainstream media (especially in America) simply isn’t in the business of challenging the Status Quo.

The limits of debate are firmly set. Virtually all ideas, persons or groups who have succeeded in changing the world for the better, later to be hailed as heroes in the public mind, started out being condemned by those in the mainstream media.

Even Martin Luther King Jr., a peaceful, loving, wonder of a man who contributed more to our social progress than likely any humanitarian in Western history, was followed by the CIA and labelled once as a “Communist” which he even had to defend in front of a Congressional Committee.

In fact, you can rest assured that if King was alive in the current paradigm today and seeking an equal form of justice – he would probably be given the name: “Terrorist”.

So, again, rather than taking the scientific view, the Mainstream Media often seeks out or implies one point of blame and runs with it.

After all, it is much easier, presentable and more simplistic for the public to think that the troubling reality of seemingly random acts of mass murder is the result of a “singular influence” and hence the logic goes that if that one influence is removed, then the world will be back in balance.

This gives the public a false resolve and position of focus in an otherwise unclear, complex world of social and biological influences.

And as far as the scapegoat itself, very often any group or media that is “counter-culture” or even hints at wishing to challenge the status quo, is a magnet for such blame.

Or in another case some people are content to say, “These are signs of the times, all we have to do is pray”. I say it is not enough to just pray, some action is necessary. I dare say we need more action than prayer.

For example, musicians who represent this “counter-culture” have been a favourite scapegoat for acts of murder/violence historically.

Buju Banton – “Boom bye-bye”, Bounty Killer – “Fed Up”, Chuck Fenda – “Gash dem & light dem” and many other Jamaican songs were singled out and banned because they were to “blame” for inciting acts of violence.

Frankly, it’s simply pathetic – avoiding the true nature of the problem – which is the socio-economic environment itself.

Make no mistake: The Social System is to blame for the rampage of any serial killer, lone gunman who goes on a shooting spree or gang who’s defending turf or killing for reprisal.

I read a book called “Violence” by Harvard Criminal Psychologist Dr. James Gilligan. Dr. Gilligan headed the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School for many years. He spent his life personally engaging the most dangerous, violent offenders the US system produces, he found some basic trends.

The most common is the social issue of “shame”.

The global socio-economic system breeds social division and there is a natural demeaning of “others” generated as a result.

It is a scientific fact that mass murderers and those who many just dismiss as “evil” today, are the product of years of being shamed, humiliated and demeaned.

Their acts of violence is a reaction from these highly oppressive feelings and the real resolve to such acts can only come from removing the real source of such emotional hurt.

What our leaders and media should be focusing on, is critical thought regarding various social issues which challenge many erroneous notions held as “fact” in the modern culture and remodelling the current socio-economic system which puts over 80% of the world’s wealth in the hands of less than 10% of the world’s population.

We must promote non-violence, human unity and prosperous human development based on truth and science.

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