December 29

A Violent Culture

Posted by William Berry | Filed under Blog | 2 Comments

This will more than likely be a rambling than any concise thought. But I think I’ve reached my maximum threshold.

I do not watch the news, as it focuses on and breeds negativity. Generally speaking, there is little on the news that affects anyone directly. It simply reports the horrors, which garner ratings, which bring us to their advertisers. What will affect me (hurricanes, etc.) I will hear about one way or another. I don’t want to feed into their propaganda about how horrible the world is.

There is a tremendous amount of good in the world. People helping people. And yes, unfortunately, there is also a lot of bad.I guess this run, which I’ve been unable to avoid, began with Sandy Hook. 20 small children killed. Needlessly would be redundant, as there is never justification in killing small children. As a mental health professional I have to try to understand how mental illness can lead to this. And cognitively I suppose I do. But it is difficult to internalize, as a feeling, that knowledge at times. Then there was the gang rape of a woman in India, and her eventual suicide. Recently another woman in India died of her injuries sustained when raped and beaten by six men, despite being with her boyfriend. Today I just saw an article where a 10 y/o girl’s body was found stabbed to death in Las Vegas, possibly by her father’s ex or current girlfriend.

The day after Christmas I saw “Django Unchained” with my daughter. During the film, which I am aware is fiction, I was saddened by the violence, cruelty, and horror bestowed by men (white men in this case) upon other men (black men). Despite knowing this particular tale was fictional, the reality is that I am sure much of the cruelty committed happened somewhere in this country. I am sure someone sicced their dogs upon another human being until he was dead.

Yesterday in my class, (yes, I am teaching the Winter Mini Semester during the break) a speaker described some of the horror bestowed upon her as a child, which contributed to her addiction (she is now in recovery and spoke to foster some understanding of addiction and recovery for the class). When the class asked questions, and directed some to me about these types of horrors, the discussion turned to the violence man commits against one another. I raised the example from Django, and compared it to UFC.

We are a violent species. In fact, most are. My overweight cat chased a small dog around the house when her space was invaded. Most species will fight for survival, or even territory. But our species is excessive in their violence. We all have a dark side. We all have a death instinct. We all have a life instinct that spurs us to survival. But we also have the function of higher thought, reasoning, the ability to overcome our animalistic instincts. For some this is more difficult, due to mental illness or their own traumas. But we need to work toward a less violent world culture. As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” What do you do that promotes violence? What are you willing to do to change the world?

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This entry was posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 at 1:11 PM and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “A Violent Culture”

  1. Kaiulani on January 3rd, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    William, I too do not watch the news as I cannot bear the constant barrage of negativity. I find it very disturbing for several reasons, not the least of which is the lack of moral consciousness on the part of the media. Don’t they realize they are contributing to their own demise??? My personal “conspiracy theory” is that the media and the drug/alcohol/cigarette companies work together . . . the more anxiety-producing and/or abhorent the news, the greater the volume of sales of drug/alcohol/cigarettes generating a nice revenue flow for the “investors”. But, by my not watching (the news), am I the passerby who witnesses the atrocity but does nothing? Thank you for this piece, William, as I feel a sense of camaraderie.

  2. William Berry on January 3rd, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Thank you for reading. I also read recently that by not reading the news, or keeping up, I am not being a good citizen. But I suppose it is a choice I make to be happier. I do, however, get involved in some petitions against some atrocities, and big news will not be missed, as it is unavoidable.
    Thanks again for the comment.

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