|Why Violence||by: Robert J. Burrowes|
The memory of my uncles: Robert Burrowes and Thomas Burrowes
My parents: Beryl and James Burrowes
My nephews and niece: Stephen, Megan, Michael, Quinn and Stevie
All those whose heart has ached, like mine, for the world that should be
And to the memory of a baby girl who died in Africa on 9 September 1985
|Posted on 10 September 2020|
The human condition is one of true horror: violence, war, poverty, ecological devastation
But ‘everyone’ keeps telling me: ‘I don’t want to know.’
If you want to change human behaviour, you must first understand what is causing it.
It is fear that makes human beings inflict violence
It is fear that makes human beings submit to violence
Obviously, therefore, violence is not the problem.
My fear tells me that ending human violence is impossible
My conscience tells me that ending human violence is what I live for
So what do I do?
I feel my fear until the way to end human violence lies clear before me.
Fear destroys the integrity of the human mind.
- That is, fear disintegrates the mind into a set of largely unrelated functions that are then individually ‘captured’ for use by others.
- The disintegration of the mind is extraordinarily destructive and causes the individual to experience phenomenal levels of fear, pain, anger and sadness.
- However, the individual is terrorised into suppressing their awareness of these feelings and the destruction that caused them.
- The symptoms of this destruction manifest in a phenomenal variety of ways including:
- The addiction to resources beyond need (whether it be attention, approval, food, money, objects and/or control),
- Other chronic patterns of behavioural dysfunction (leading to ill-health, for example) and
- Violence in a staggering variety of forms.
Violence is social interference in the genetically programmed feelings, thoughts, sensing and/or behaviour of another organism.
- For example, the human organism, like all organisms on Earth, is genetically programmed to take what they need for themself (after emerging from complete dependence as a baby) and humans who are hunter-gatherers still behave this way.
- This is imperative, in evolutionary terms, if the individual and hence their species is to survive.
- It takes enormous and protracted violence to terrorise the individual into accepting paid work in a modern economy so that they can buy (rather than take) the resources that they needs to live.
- But the social interference of humans in the genetic programming of their offspring extends far beyond control over the method of resource acquisition and this is why the power of a hunter-gatherer is no greater than that of an industrial human.
Terror is the most damaging form of violence.
- Violence in the family home
- Violent crime
- Institutional (socially endorsed) violence: police, legal and prison systems
- Poverty, homelessness
- Economic exploitation of Africa, Asia and Central/South America
- Ecological destruction
- Military violence, War
The violence inflicted by human adults on themselves, each other and the Earth is an outcome of the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on them as children.
- Each item below identifies a parental or adult behaviour that is violent but ‘invisible’ because people would not ordinarily perceive the behaviour as damaging.
- The section in blue identifies one or more likely responses of the child although the precise response(s) will obviously vary from one child to the next. The responses might be feelings and/or behaviours; they might be copies or reactions.
- treat child as a tabula rasa – ‘blank slate’
child will come to believe that they have no innate, genetically programmed capacity for functional behaviour
- pretend, despite negative feedback from the child, that interfering with the genetic programming of the child is both loving and necessary
child will learn to identify abuse as love
- do not listen to child’s thoughts and feelings
child will learn to not listen to themSelf thus destroying their internal communication system
- do not listen to and accept child’s explanations of their behaviours
child will develop dysfunctional behaviours such as lying and/or wriggling out of acceptance of responsibility
- pretend to listen to child, perhaps in a ‘knowing’ way, while waiting for the earliest opportunity to interrupt them to get attention for yourself
child will feel enormous fear, pain and anger, of which they will need to suppress their awareness, as they are denied the opportunity to talk about something important to themSelf and is required to give their attention to you at the same time
- dogmatically refuse to listen to child
child will develop authoritarian – intense fear of being out of control – or fundamentalist – intense fear of being wrong – ‘personality’
- do not allow child to listen to (that is, pay attention to) themSelf by chronically interfering with their natural inclination and capacity to do so, for example, by comforting or distracting a child that is crying, reassuring a child that is scared, frightening a child out of being angry
child’s natural capacity to become Self-aware will be destroyed
- interfere with child’s natural (e.g. exploratory) behaviours
child will become fearful of acting out their natural Self-will
- chronically interfere with child’s genetically programmed exploratory behaviours
child will develop anatomical, physiological, emotional, intellectual and/or behavioural dysfunctionalities possibly including mental illnesses such as anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia and/or phobias
- do not communicate (truthfully) with child
child will not have accurate information as one of the bases for their actions and will become increasingly dysfunctionalised
- do not let child communicate with you, especially about your violent and damaging behaviours
child will have no avenue for meaningfully resolving conflict and will become increasingly dysfunctionalised
- terrorise child out of telling the truth about, and resisting, parental violence
child will suppress their awareness of the truth and be powerless to respond to this violence and the violence of others
- do not respond to child’s requests or their feedback about your dysfunctional behaviours
child will be reduced to powerlessly whingeing and complaining
- interfere with child’s communication
child will develop communication dysfunctionalities, such as compulsive talking, stuttering, lying, hinting and/or signalling, which will obscure their actual needs
- routinely interrupt child
child will become fearful of both expressing themSelf and of listening, and will learn to interrupt others
- persistently thwart child’s initiatives to do things for themSelf
child will eventually learn to quit easily and might even develop a chronic unconscious tendency to thwart and punish themSelf as a manifestation of their self-hatred for failing to get what they wanted
- keep interfering with child (by frightening them in any number of ways), despite all of their defences, until they submit to parental will and then deny child the time and space to feel their fear, pain, anger and sadness about this interference and their consequent submission
child will be terrorised into surrendering their own Self-will
- powerlessly appeal to one child for pity, sympathy and/or support when your violent behaviour is challenged by a second child
first child will learn to perform a ‘guard dog’ function which they will then perform throughout their life; second child will powerlessly vent their anger on first child instead of you
- project onto child that they are your parent and that they are responsible for caring for you
child will be caused enormous pain and must grapple with mind-bending confusion
- project onto child that you are not the child’s parent (or carer) and that they should have no expectation that you will care for them
child will be caused enormous pain and must grapple with mind-bending confusion
- demand that child gives you your due respect and gratitude as their parent
child will be caused to feel fury
- present a delusion of always being ‘in control’
child will learn to fear unusual challenges that nurture initiative and creativity, and will probably end up deluding themself that they need to be, and are, ‘in control’ as well
- pretend to child that you are something that you are not
child might become as delusional as are you
- pretend to be and perform a set of social roles rather than being your natural self
child will learn to fearfully act out social roles rather than have the courage to become their genuine Self, warts and all
- be anxious with child
child will learn to fear but also have sympathy for anxiety and will probably develop an anxiety disorder, as well as other dysfunctionalities, of their own
- compulsively seek child’s reassurance to deal with your anxiety
child will unconsciously learn to reassure your dysfunctional anxiety in the ways that you require and might develop an anxiety disorder of their own
- take child for granted
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to not appreciate others
- do not let child have what they want
child will feel stuck, trapped and frustrated, and will probably become greedy
- do not let child do what they want
child will feel stuck, trapped and frustrated, and will behave increasingly dysfunctionally and compulsively, although these dysfunctionalities will not necessarily be easily traced to your behaviour
- do not let child say what they want
child will develop communication and behavioural dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meets their needs
- let child say what they want and then ignore or deny them
child will develop communication and behavioural dysfunctionalities commensurate with frequency of occurrence
- define child’s needs and wants for them
child will develop a warped sense of what they need and want
- deny child simple pleasures
child will become addicted to seeking pleasures beyond those that meet their genuine needs
- never allow child to have their preference
child will become obsessed with getting their own way in all contexts
- ‘give’ to child on condition that they allows you to control them
child will learn that the purpose of giving is to gain control over others
- never tell child how you are feeling
child will learn to fear their own feelings as well as your feelings
- never talk about feelings
child will learn to fear talking about their own feelings and the feelings of others
- do not love child
child will feel that they are unlovable and will not develop the capacity to love themself and to love others
- behave as if you do not need love
child will feel as if their love is worthless
- behave as if love does not exist
child will not develop the capacity to love or they will learn to suppress and give up using their capacity to love
- do not value child
child will learn to not value themSelf and to not value others or the Earth, and will behave accordingly
- do not acknowledge child’s help or positive contribution
child will feel lack of acknowledgment as a disincentive to help or contribute
- do not show your greater security or happiness when child helps you
child will feel the futility of trying to facilitate change for the better
- do not let child interrupt you even when they need attention for something important
child will learn to fear those who pay close attention to themselves and what they are doing, and may develop a compulsion to interrupt or even violently interfere with people who do this, particularly their own spouse and children, in order to get attention for themselves
- conspicuously behave as if you are superior to child
child might become sycophantic of ‘authorities’
- ‘play the hero’ to child
child will be disempowered so that they cannot defend and protect themself)
- play a ‘Poor me, I need help’ role with child
child will learn to sympathetically assist powerless and dysfunctional people like yourself
- tell child ‘You are only a child’
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and Self-love
- convey to child by attitude, words and/or deeds that they were ‘an unwanted accident’
child will feel enormous fear and pain – of which they will suppress their awareness – at not being wanted and loved, and will not develop the Self-worth and Self-love necessary to expect to be involved in loving relationships and, for example, will probably choose an abusive spouse
- treat child as unimportant
child will feel unimportant and will treat others as unimportant
- treat child as insignificant
child will feel insignificant and will treat others as insignificant
- project negative perception of child at child
child will develop a negative perception of themSelf, others and life generally
- do not respect child
child will learn not to respect themSelf while, paradoxically, contriving ways to get it from others
- do not be thoughtful of child
child will learn to be not thoughtful of others
- do not like child
child will not experience what it means to be liked and, therefore, will not learn to like others
- be inconsiderate of child
child will learn to be inconsiderate
- be dishonest with child
child will learn to be dishonest
- do not be compassionate with child
child will learn to not feel compassion
- do not empathise with child
child will learn to not feel empathy
- do not sympathise with child
child will learn to not feel sympathy and, later, to not recognise sympathy when it is offered
- do not respect child e.g. child’s personal space
child will learn to not respect themSelf and others
- do not respect child’s natural dignity
child’s natural dignity will be worn away
- do not cooperate with child
child will learn to not cooperate with others
- do not trust child
child will learn to not trust themSelf and others
- do not trust child’s judgment
child will lose trust in their own judgment
- do not show faith in child
child will lose faith in themSelf)
- do not be loyal to child
child will not learn to be loyal
- do not care about child
child will learn to not care about themSelf) and/or to not care about others
- do not care about child’s things
child will learn to not care about their own things and/or to not care about the things of others
- do not care about child’s thoughts and feelings
child will learn to not care about themSelf and others
- never be kind to child
child will not learn to feel what it means to be treated kindly and, therefore, will not learn to be kind to others
- never be nice to child
child will not learn to feel what it means to be treated nicely and, therefore, will not learn to be nice to others
- ignore child
child will develop one or more compulsive attention-seeking behaviours, such as compulsive talking, and will be unable to give attention to others; they might even treat others as if they do not exist
- dysfunctionally/compulsively seek child’s attention and/or distract child from paying attention to themSelf
child will lose capacity to focus intently on themSelf
- try to persuade child
child will be scared that they are not allowed to choose freely
- complain about child
child will be caused fear, pain, anger and/or sadness as they try to respond to your powerless and dysfunctional behaviour
- demand child’s time to do tasks for you
child will not learn to manage their time in accordance with their own Self-will, they will learn to resent helping others and they will learn to demand the time of others
- cajole child into doing what you want them to do, for example, to eat what you want them to eat
child will become fearful that they are not allowed to act out their own Self-will
- manipulate child into doing what you want out of fear of dealing openly and powerfully with conflict
child will learn to fear conflict too and will learn to manipulate others as a result
- blame child
child will learn to avoid responsibility
- condemn child
child will learn to condemn others
- insult child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to insult others
- deride child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to be derisive
- mock child
child will be scared out of clearly explaining themSelf
- goad child into behaving in a way that will allow you to justify to yourself getting angry with them
child will be caused enormous pain, anger and confusion as they grapples with this mindbender
- be sarcastic with child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to be sarcastic with others
- embarrass child
child will feel embarrassed at trying their best and will learn to embarrass others
- humiliate child
child will feel humiliated at their ‘failure’ and will learn to humiliate others
- shame child
child will feel ashamed and will learn to shame others
- taunt child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to taunt others
- tease child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will learn to tease others, particularly younger children and pets
- snub child
child will experience enormous fear, pain, anger and/or sadness, and develop a low sense of Self-worth
- ‘shut out’ child unless they do what you want
child will be scared into suppressing awareness of their own Self-will and submitting to yours
- give child unsolicited advice
child might learn to rely on others rather than work out what to do for themSelf
- ‘motivate’ child to do what you want and pretend that child is doing what they want
child’s natural capacity to listen to, and act on, their own Self-will is warped and, eventually, destroyed
- guilt-trip child into doing what you want
child will learn to feel guilty for acting out their natural Self-will
- moralise with child
child’s natural morality will become warped
- judge child
child will lose faith in their own judgment, particularly about themSelf
- deceive child
child will experience fear and pain, their awareness of which they will probably suppress, and will learn to deceive others
- trick child in a nasty way
child will experience fear and pain, their awareness of which they will probably suppress, and will learn to trick others
- be nasty to child
child will experience fear and pain, and will learn to be nasty to others
- be ‘narky’ with child
child will experience fear and pain as you pretend that your ‘narkiness’ is not supposed to hurt them
- be ‘bad tempered’ with child
child might learn to ‘tiptoe’ around you in an attempt to avoid your ‘bad temper’ and will become fearful of acting out their own will
- hate child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and might learn to hate others
- lie to, manipulate and/or force child to make them believe your opinions
child will learn to fearfully submit to your view and to lie to, manipulate and/or force others to make them believe their opinions
- take credit for child’s achievements
child will feel enormous pain and fear at being treated as if they do not exist as a separate individual with their own capacities
- exaggerate the importance of your role/contribution to the child’s achievements
child will feel scared that their own contributions to their achievements are not valued and will learn to overplay their own contributions while diminishing those of others
- point out child’s inconsistencies and faults while ignoring your own
child will probably become as hypocritical as you
- point out child’s inconsistencies and faults while denying your own
child will probably become as dogmatic as you
- always adamantly and vehemently deny your dysfunctional behaviours
child will feel angry and powerless
- always divert child’s attention from your dysfunctional behaviours, particularly by focusing on any functional or dysfunctional reactive behaviour of the child or others in response to your dysfunctionalities
child will feel frustrated and powerless
- lie to child
child will learn to lie
- lie about child
child will feel enormous fear, pain, anger and/or sadness at this denial of their existence and they will have difficulty holding onto their sense of Self
- do not believe child when they naturally tells the truth
child will learn to lie in an attempt to be believed
- do not believe in child
child will not learn to believe in themSelf
- ridicule/belittle child
child will lose confidence in themSelf and learn to ridicule/belittle others
- ‘put down’ child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and learn to ‘put down’ others
- be impatient with child
child will learn to be impatient with themSelf and others
- be abrupt with child
child will learn to fear that there is no time or freedom for them to consider and choose what they want to do and will learn to be abrupt with others
- be irritable with child
child will become fearful of your irritability and will develop dysfunctionalities in response, possibly including irritability with others
- be devious with child
child will learn to be devious
- be jealous of child
child will learn to be jealous
- be resentful of child
child will learn to be resentful
- be callous with child
child will learn to be callous
- be cruel to child
child will learn to be cruel
- repeatedly criticise and/or thwart child’s initiatives
child will learn to quit easily rather than become determined
- tell child what to do
child will lose capacity to be decisive and to take initiative
- routinely tell child that they are wrong
child will develop a negative self-perception and become afraid to admit that they are wrong
- never apologise to child
child will not learn to apologise
- accuse child of not being themSelf (that is, of not having a mind of their own) if they do not do what you want
child will feel enormous fear and pain as it struggles with this mind-bender and desperately tries to hold onto their sense of Self
- approve and/or disapprove of child
child will become addicted to seeking approval and avoiding disapproval
- reward, ‘discipline’ and/or punish child
child’s capacity to use their own thoughts, feelings and judgment to make choices will be distorted or even destroyed
- contradict child’s complaints, criticisms, condemnations and ‘negativity’ by offering ‘reasonable’ explanations for why things did not work out as child hoped/wanted or by telling child to ‘focus on the positive’
child will feel unheard and unconsciously suppress their awareness of their natural frustration and anger that would guide them to behave differently in the future
- criticise child
child will become, for example, hesitant and indecisive, as well as critical
- patronise child
child will develop a low sense of Self-worth and will probably, therefore, patronise others
- interfere with child’s natural feelings and then their projected feelings
child will learn to suppress awareness of their feelings
- project that child is lazy
child will end up not trying because their efforts to help are not recognised and acknowledged
- project that child is greedy
child might become fearful of seeking to have their legitimate needs met or they might become resentful of the accusation and greedy as a dysfunctional response
- project that child has nothing (no friendship, love or care) to give and then treat them accordingly
child will feel worthless and powerless, and will become resentful of giving, that is, ‘selfish’
- require child to behave in ways that do not cause you to have ‘unpleasant’ feelings
child is caught in a paralysing and horrendously painful trap requiring them to suppress the feelings that drive their natural Self-will or suffer punishment for not submitting to your will
- deny responsibility for your own feelings by projecting that child is causing them and blaming them for doing so
child is dysfunctionally caused confusion as well as fear, pain, anger and /or sadness
- project that child does not love you
child will feel enormous pain and confusion
- project that child is ‘getting in my way’ (when it was actually your parents) and thus control child’s behaviour
child will be compelled to suppress their awareness of their feelings, including their anger, about this projection and control, and will thus develop a powerless and dysfunctional behavioural response, such as whingeing and/or getting in other people’s way
- project that child is attacking you and retaliate by attacking child
child will feel pain and blame at not knowing why they have been attacked
- project that an activity in which child is engaged (such as waving their fork in the air) is deliberately intended to hurt you and attack them in ‘retaliation’
child is caused enormous pain and confusion as they grapples with this mind-bender
- project that an accident in which child is involved (such as cutting themself) is deliberately intended to hurt you and attack them in ‘retaliation’
child is caused enormous pain and confusion as they grapples with this mind-bender
- do not meaningfully negotiate with child
child will not learn to meaningfully negotiate and will learn, for example, that things get done by telling others what to do
- do not share with child what it is reasonable to share
child will become obsessed with claiming resources from others that is not reasonable
- expect/require child to ‘help’ you
child will learn to feel resentful of genuine, open-ended requests for help which leave them truly free to accede to or reject as their own will directs
- never willingly do anything for child
child will become obsessed with having people do ‘little things’ for them
- routinely deny child’s reasonable requests
child will learn to be devious, in one or more of a variety of ways, in trying to get their genuine needs met
- resent child asking for help
child will become afraid to ask for help and will learn to force others to do what they wants done instead
- always react to child’s requests with irritation
child will become afraid to ask for what they need and might copy irritated – that is, fearful – response to requests from others
- refuse to help child
child will lose their capacity to seek help when it is functional to do so
- indicate that you do not want to help child
child will learn to believe that they are unworthy of help
- convey to child that they are wrong to ask for help
child will be scared out of asking for help when they need it and should have it
- pretend that you are responding to your child’s request for help when you are really just doing what you want
child will grow up with a distorted perception of what help really is
- do not listen to child when they ask for help
child will be terrorised, that is, child will become terrified, child will become terrified of asking for help and child will unconsciously ‘learn’ not to ask for help
- terrorise child out of asking for what they need/want, for example, by screaming at them when they ask for something
child will become terrified to ask for what they need/want, and will develop dysfunctional behaviours – such as hinting, signalling, lying – in order to try to get it
- help child when they do not need it and/or has not requested it
child will become dysfunctionally dependent
- chronically interfere with child’s natural efforts to do things for themSelf
child’s capacity to become self-reliant will be destroyed: child is now enslaved
- force child to say that they are grateful
child will become incapable of gratitude even in situations in which this would be a natural, functional response
- require child to ask for what they need and then say ‘no’
child will become fearful both of taking what they need for themSelf and of asking for what they need from others
- require child to seek permission
child will become fearfully obedient at expense of their own Self-will
- terrorise child into obedience
child will become fearfully obedient rather than powerfully cooperative
- never acknowledge, in any way, the genuine needs of the Self of the child
child will become terrified that they are not allowed to be themSelf and will then become self-obsessed to the exclusion of all others
- value disintegrated behaviours of the child rather than caring about the Self of the child
child will learn that they are valued for what they do, not loved for who they are
- withhold/withdraw love from child
child will become fragile and vulnerable
- intellectualise relationship with child or otherwise remain emotionally distant from child
child will learn to fear emotional intimacy
- do not give child anything
child will not learn to give and will probably become greedy
- be miserly with child
child will learn to be miserly with others
- deny child’s material/financial needs
child will develop a warped sense of their material needs and how to meet these
- control child’s access to material resources
child will become addicted to material resources
- deprive child of resources or overload them with inappropriate resources
child will become addicted to resources they do not need
- do not provide opportunities for child to experience nature
child will not develop a sense of valuing, appreciating and nurturing the natural world
- express your fear of nature
child will learn to fear and behave exploitatively towards nature
- express your prejudicial fear of another racial group instead of feeling your genuine fear of the specific individuals who actually frightened you
child will learn to fear and behave prejudicially towards racial group
- express your prejudicial fear of homosexuals instead of feeling your genuine fear of the specific individuals who actually frightened you
child will learn to fear and behave prejudicially towards homosexuals
- express your prejudicial fear of another racial group instead of feeling your genuine fear of the specific individuals who actually frightened you
child will learn to fear and behave prejudicially towards this racial group
- express your prejudicial fear of homosexuals instead of feeling your genuine fear of the specific individuals who actually frightened you
child will learn to fear and behave prejudicially towards homosexuals
- feed child unhealthy food e.g. food that is not organically or biodynamically grown, food that is unnaturally fatty or sweetened
child will develop unhealthy dietary habits and possibly chronic ill-health
- go to bed after it gets dark
child will learn to believe that living in a permanent state of sleep deprivation is normal and appropriate adult behaviour
- give child toys with which to play
child will acquire unnatural and useless capacity to manipulate irrelevant synthetic products rather than learning to use natural artefacts for life-enhancing ends
- teach child to play competitive games
child will learn to compete rather than to cooperate
- touch child inappropriately, ‘clutchily’, non-relaxedly or otherwise fearfully
child will sense your fear and develop a dysfunctional behavioural response
- never touch child affectionately
child will develop dysfunctional attitudes and/or behaviours in relation to touch, perhaps including fear of their own body
- imprison child in school
child will be terrified into suppressing awareness of their own Self-will – and the phenomenal fear, pain, anger and sadness this causes – as they are required to submit all day every day to the will of teachers
- imprison child in school
child will learn to suppress their awareness of endless insufferable boredom
- imprison child in modern house/school
child is structurally denied capacity to develop self-reliance
- force child to sit in chairs for long periods e.g. at school
child will develop postural, movement and/or physiological dysfunctionalities
- teach child, that is, require child to do something that you want precisely as you prescribe
child’s natural interest, initiative and creativity in learning something new is crushed as they fearfully, mindlessly and powerlessly imitates you; they will also learn, and this is reinforced by experience at school, that learning requires mindless copying
- routinely convey message to child through attitude, language and/or behaviour that child is a failure
child will experience enormous fear, pain and anger which, unless expressed, will later manifest as vindictive behaviour in ‘defence’ of their now-warped sense of self
- ignore and prevent expression of child’s natural anger
child will learn to take violent revenge on innocent parties
- try to control child’s thoughts and/or feelings
child will lose faith in their own thoughts and/or feelings, and learn to try to control the thoughts and/or feelings of others
- control child’s behaviour
child will learn to control the behaviour of others
- scream at child either occasionally or routinely
child will learn to shut down their awareness of, but cannot shut out the effects of, the fear and pain this causes
- harass child
child will learn to fearfully submit to harassment and learn to harass others
- harass child when they has done nothing wrong and then scare them out of being angry about this
child will be compelled to suppress awareness of their anger and might react by deliberately behaving in a way that people find offensive and then responding with derision, perhaps by laughing, when they complain
- punish child when they have done nothing wrong and then scare them out of being angry about this
child will be compelled to suppress awareness of their anger and might react by delighting in getting innocent people into trouble
- threaten, intimidate and/or punish child, e.g. by screaming at or hitting child, if they do not do what you want
child’s fear and self-hatred will increase each time they submit to your will by suppressing awareness of their own, and they will learn to threaten, intimidate and/or punish others
- threaten, intimidate and/or punish child to make them accept your perception of themself, others and reality generally
child will lose control of their own mind and become a fearfully obedient slave full of unconscious self-hatred
- behave threateningly much of the time so that child lives in a permanent state of fear
child will develop a range of behavioural, anatomical and/or physiological dysfunctionalities possibly including such problems as chronic muscle tension, constipation and an inability to relax and/or sleep
- frighten child into submission by using threats and punishments but also some inducements
child will learn that it is futile to resist violence and to fearfully placate violent people by ‘helping’ or collaborating with them in the dysfunctional ways that they require
- threaten child with punishment if they do not collaborate with you in abusing other children
child will learn to fearfully betray others to avoid punishment of themself, thus deepening the child’s unconscious sense of self-hatred
- threaten child with death using words, tone of voice and/or deeds
child will be terrorised
- hit child routinely
child will develop a range of emotional, behavioural, physiological and/or postural dysfunctionalities
- sexually abuse child
child might learn to fear sex or become addicted to it, depending on the nature and context of the violence
- hold child responsible for your well-being
child will learn to hold others responsible rather than to take responsibility for themself
- take revenge on child for what your parent(s), teachers and/or other adults did to you
child will powerlessly learn to not hold the responsible person accountable and to take revenge on innocent parties
- inflict emotional and/or physical pain on child
child will initially experience this pain but will progressively learn to suppress their awareness of the pain as they are denied opportunities for feeling it; child will also learn to inflict pain on others
- repeatedly force child to do things that don’t meet your actual needs and never feel satisfied with or grateful for what child has done for you
child will feel the pointlessness of helping and then fail to help others who genuinely need and can use it
- force child to do what you want
child’s unconscious fear and self-hatred will increase each time they submit to your will; they will also learn that relationships are based on dominance and submission, not cooperation, and they will behave either dominantly or submissively in all social contexts depending on the situation
- keep pushing and pushing child to do what you want
child will be terrified that they are not allowed to choose freely and will behave increasingly dysfunctionally
- go berserk at child when they try to help you using their own initiative
child will become terrified of taking independent action to help anyone
- blast child for doing things you don’t want and never give positive feedback for anything they do for you
child will try to avoid blasts and will become indecisive and incapacitated by lack of positive feedback
- threaten or attack child to convey what you do not want them to do and then fail to give them credit for avoiding doing these things in future
child will experience ongoing loss of energy as they restricts their own life for your benefit and will experience confusion, powerlessness, anger and resentment at the lack of acknowledgment and gratitude for what they are giving up
- force child to act against their own will
child will learn to be coercive
- force child to do something that they finds terrifying because you are too frightened to defend them and also too frightened to accept responsibility for feeling your own fear
child will be terrorised
- force child to do something that is terrifying for them because you are too frightened to do something less terrifying but also too frightened to accept responsibility for feeling your fear about this
child will be terrorised into doing something beyond their capacity and will learn that putting someone else ‘in the rat cage’ is the way to deal with situations in which they lack the courage to do what feels frightening
- treat child as a slave
child will learn that they are worthless and treat other people as worthless too
- never accept responsibility for your mistakes and failures
child will learn to evade responsibility for their mistakes and failures
- harp on child’s mistakes and failures
child will learn to fear mistakes and failures, and to dogmatically refuse to acknowledge them, rather than learning to perceive mistakes and failures as valuable learning experiences
- punish child when they do something ‘wrong’
child will learn to fearfully deny responsibility for their wrongdoing rather than learning to fearlessly and functionally try again
- punish child for making mistakes
child will learn to fear making mistakes and will learn to evade responsibility for them rather than learning to powerfully regard them as valuable learning experiences
- force child to accept the blame for your mistakes and failures so that you can avoid responsibility for feeling the fear and pain this causes you
child will suppress their awareness of enormous fear, pain, anger and/or sadness, and learn that avoiding responsibility by blaming someone else – rather than some combination of retraction, apology, compensation and renewed effort – is the way to deal with mistakes and failures
- bribe child with, for example, confectionary and toys, to make them do what you want
child will learn that bribery is one way of getting what they want and that this is an acceptable way of doing so
- blackmail child, for example, by threatening to withhold something they need if they do not do what you want
child will learn that blackmail is one way of getting what they want and that this is an acceptable way of doing so
- extort attention, energy and/or time from the child
child will learn that extortion is one way of getting what they want and that this is an acceptable way of doing so
- steal child’s attention, energy and/or time to use for your own purposes, for example, to listen to your compulsive talking or to do a task for you
child will learn that stealing is one way of getting what they want and that this is an acceptable way of doing so
- deny child’s truth/reality and force them to believe your projection, for example, that child caused your feelings which are actually a projection from your own childhood with your parents
child will be caused enormous fear, pain, anger and/or sadness that, if suppressed, will cause child in turn to endlessly project these feelings onto future interactions with innocent parties such as siblings or, later in life, other adults and, of course, their own children
- present a positive picture of child’s life while ignoring and/or denying the negative experiences that are a part of it
child will learn to suppress their awareness of negative aspects of their reality and to act in denial of these, rather than to be aware of and respond ;intelligently and powerfully to them
- ignore and/or deny child’s experience and/or distract child from focusing on their own experience
child will learn to ignore, deny and distract themself from the reality of their own experience and, therefore, from social and ecological reality.
- be intolerant of child and their unique ways
child will learn to fear their natural Self
Every time that a child is terrorised into surrendering control of their own mind in order to act on the will of another, their unconscious fear, self-hatred, powerlessness and inclination to use violence increase.
- Thus, the child is taught to be violent towards themself, others and the Earth through an unending sequence of parental and adult behaviours (entailing acts of commission and omission) that, individually, might easily be overlooked or even dismissed as insignificant.
- In brief, the child’s natural Self suffers death by a thousand ‘invisible’ cuts.
The fundamental outcome of being bombarded throughout their childhood by this ‘invisible’ violence is that the child is utterly overwhelmed by feelings of fear, pain, anger and sadness (among many others).
- However, parents and other adults also actively interfere with the expression of these feelings and the behavioural responses that are naturally generated by them, and
- It is this violence that explains why the dysfunctional behavioural outcomes, indicated by the blue text in the Spectrum of Invisible Violence above, actually occur.
- For example,
- By ignoring a child when they expresses their feelings,
- By comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they expresses their feelings,
- By laughing at or ridiculing their feelings,
- By terrorising a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at them when they crt or get angry), and/or
- by violently controlling (e.g. by hitting, restraining or locking them into a room) a behaviour that is generated by their feelings,
The child has no choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings.
- However, once a child has been terrorised into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed to have their feelings and, preferably, having them listened to) the child has also unconsciously suppressed their awareness of the reality that caused these feelings.
- This has many outcomes that are disastrous for the individual, for society and for nature because the individual will now easily suppress their awareness of the feelings that would tell them how to act most functionally in any given circumstance and it will progressively acquire a phenomenal variety of dysfunctional behaviours.
- For the individual themself, these will include:
- Physiological illnesses (ranging from mild – perhaps the occasional cold – to severe – such as chronic bronchitis, chronic muscle tension, insomnia and cancer),
- Mental illnesses in mild or extreme form (such as anorexia nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia and phobias),
- Anatomical ailments (such as poor posture and movement patterns which might lead to physical injury) and/or
- Behavioural disorders (ranging from simply consuming unhealthy food and liquids to engaging in unhealthy or even dangerous activities such as industrial work).
But, as indicated, the damage is not confined to the individual: there are social and environmental consequences too. For example:
- The individual will probably become addicted to over-consumption and the accumulation of money (detrimental to social equity) and will engage in environmentally destructive activities such as driving a car and flying in aircraft (detrimental to the Earth).
- These outcomes occur largely because the feelings which would give the individual feedback about these activities have been suppressed, so behavioural change in the direction of functionality cannot occur.
Tragically, however, the damage still does not end there.
- Once the child has been terrorised into suppressing awareness of their feelings, it also unconsciously copies this fear of feelings and then projects this fear onto anyone else having and expressing their feelings.
- Even more disastrously, although awareness of their feelings has been suppressed, the feelings themselves have not been eliminated.
- Consequently, the individual will now unconsciously project their feelings onto current events (particularly the behaviour of others) which, for one reason or another unique to each individual, trigger the unconscious but now inappropriate expression of these feelings.
- Moreover, the individual will also behave, inappropriately, in accordance with these projected feelings. This is graphically illustrated by the behaviour of individuals suffering from mental illnesses such as:
- anorexia nervosa
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- paranoia and phobias,
- but is clearly evident in all human beings and particularly in the behaviour of parents towards their children.
Under this brutal, terrifying and unrelenting onslaught of ‘invisible’ violence at the hands of their parents, teachers and other adults who are supposed to love and care for them, coupled with the equally brutal, terrifying and unrelenting onslaught of ‘utterly invisible’ violence (denial of the safe time and space necessary to feel the phenomenal fear, pain, anger, sadness and other feelings that this reign of terror and violence is causing), the child is increasingly dysfunctionalised in the direction of ‘socially desirable behaviour’ (that is, in industrialised societies, obedient and hard-working student, reliable and pliant employee, and submissive law-abiding citizen).
- Moreover, as their dysfunctionalities deepen and their fear of resisting this violence is consolidated more deeply in their unconscious (where they is no longer readily accessible and thus felt), the child increasingly learns to ‘like’ their dysfunctionalities given the parental and social approval these routinely attract.
- Even worse, the child takes over responsibility for maintaining its own dysfunctionalities. Unable to get away from the pain, the child stops listening to the pain (that is, the child increasingly suppresses their awareness of the pain) as an indicator that something is wrong and that they should do something different.
- The warning signs are increasingly ignored because parents, teachers and other adults teach the child that there is no way out. The child eventually stops looking and trying.
- At some early point in their development (and certainly long before the age of ten) the destruction of the child’s natural Self and the creation of their socially acceptable ‘no-self’ is completed.
- No adult is even aware that they have lost something, let alone what it is: their natural Self.
- In summary, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence destroys the natural Self and the potential to realise their True Self of each and every human individual.
So what, exactly, does it mean when I say ‘destroy the Self?’
- It means that invisible and utterly invisible violence destroys the components of Self-hood of the child, including their:
• Self-awareness • Self-will • Self-power • Self-memory • Self-approval • Self-worth
• Self-respect • Self-judgment • Self-authority • Self-governance • Self-defence • Self-trust
• Self-faith • Self-reliance • Self-belief • Self-consciousness and, most importantly • Self-love
- Thus thwarting the realisation of their True Self.
- The individual that is left, having been stripped of their Self, is now:
- (Unconsciously) terrified,
- Powerless and violent (particularly towards themself but also towards others and the Earth)
- And is readily manipulated into becoming a passively obedient student, worker/soldier and consumer.
Moreover, the brutal, terrifying and unrelenting nature of this invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on a human being throughout their childhood leaves them so desensitised that their capacity to perceive the violence they have learned to inflict on themself, on others and on the Earth is either grotesquely diminished and distorted or, in many cases, totally destroyed.
Let me simply illustrate and summarise this point in another way.
- If you want a child who is: • truthful, • compassionate, • considerate, • patient, • thoughtful, • respectful, • generous, • loving of themself and others, • trustworthy, • honest, • dignified, • determined, • courageous and • powerful,
- Then the child must be treated with and experience: • truth, • compassion, • consideration, • patience, • thoughtfulness, • respect, • generosity, • love, • trust, • honesty, • dignity, • determination, • courage and • power.
- What sort of child will you get if you treat it otherwise?
- Do you really think that you can smash it into the precise shape that you want, for example, mindlessly obedient, without also getting the corresponding range of emotional, intellectual, physical and behavioural dysfunctionalities that go with mindless obedience?
If you do not think that you can treat a child truthfully, compassionately and so on, or if you think that this treatment is inappropriate, there is an excellent reason for this.
- If you have not had the feelings about the violence (visible, invisible and utterly invisible) inflicted on you by your parents and other adults when you were a child, then there will be occasions (more or less frequent depending on your childhood) when you will unconsciously project that your child (or another child or adult or even circumstance) is causing the feelings that you are experiencing now and this will unconsciously generate your attitude and behaviour in the circumstance.
- Moreover, you will not have the self-awareness to note your attitude and behaviour (and the unconscious feelings driving them) let alone to alter these.
To reiterate very bluntly: Why do adults terrorise the child into suppressing expression of their feelings, and into behaving in accordance with a very narrow range of ‘acceptable’ behaviours?
- Adults do this because they are unconsciously terrified of their own feelings being ‘triggered’ by the feelings or behaviours of the child.
- In brief, denied the opportunity to naturally express their feelings, the child suppresses their awareness of their feelings (because the feelings themselves cannot be eliminated through suppression).
- The child grows into an adult and the cycle is repeated.
Do you want a child who is enslaved or who is free?
Do you want a child who acts out your will or lives their own?
If you do not want your child to defend themself against your violence,
then when you terrorise them out of being able to defend themself against you,
you also terrorise them out of being able to defend themself against anybody.
Children are genetically programmed to move about to explore their world and to focus their attention on an endless succession of natural phenomena which stimulates their emotional, intellectual and physical development.
- However, if you confine a child in a pram, pusher, basinet, cot or any other ‘imprisoned’ space, and particularly if you leave them inside a house or other building (devoid of natural stimuli such as sun, wind, rain, rocks, sticks, leaves, earth, sights, sounds and smells), the child is denied a natural range of movement and the environmental stimulus they needs for their development, including the development of their capacity to become self-reliant.
- Consequently, they now ‘requires’ the attention (that is, stimulus) of another individual (which, in a nuclear family, will most usually be a parent) and delusionary artefacts such as toys, to compensate for the lack of natural stimulus in their confined and artificial space.
- The child’s natural capacity to pay attention to themself and their environment is thus systematically destroyed and this increases the pressure on parents to provide ‘endless’ amounts of ‘outside’ stimulus for the child which is vastly beyond what evolution intended and not what the child actually needs.
The point is that children need a certain amount of stimulus, and some of this in the form of attention from other humans, so that their innate potential to develop a full range of emotional responses and to speak, for example, is realised.
- But they will make phenomenally good use of natural stimulus (and require a great deal less attention from others) if they have the opportunity to do so.
- And they will use this learning to become self-reliant.
The most important form of attention that anyone, including a child, requires is listening.
- Listening, in this context, has a precise meaning and it is invariably done extremely badly, particularly by parents in relation to their own children.
When someone speaks, apart from uttering words, they also convey feelings (which might be very subtle).
- Therefore, any communication consists of intellectual and emotional content and both of these elements need to be heard if you wish to understand what a speaker is trying to convey.
- Given that human beings are taught to focus on the intellectual content of any communication and to fear their emotional content, it is not surprising that few people are naturally good listeners and few people have benefited from the effort made in recent decades to learn some of the art of listening (through, for example, workshops that teach ‘reflective listening’).
Virtually all humans learn to unconsciously screen out the emotional content of the communications of other people. Why?
- Because listening to the feelings of another person is likely to ‘trigger’ feelings in the listener, and that is frightening.
- For example, if someone is angry with you, do you find it easy to calmly listen to their anger and then reflect, for example, ‘You sound very angry that I did not listen to you’ and, if necessary, to then listen more while they tell you how angry they are with you?
- Most people ‘listening’ in this circumstance are immediately frightened into a defensive reaction which exacerbates the speaker’s sense of being unheard and their anger in response to this.
- And the ‘listener’ is now scared and needs listening about their own fear as well.
- So the competition to ‘get the listening’ (often in the form of an argument) quickly spirals down into ‘no-one is listening’.
There are, of course, more mundane reasons for not listening to a child.
- How many parents are able to listen to a child say that they do not want to go to school?
- Listening to this might be quite inconvenient for the parent. And frightening if it becomes the norm.
- For most parents, it is easier not to listen and to fall back on violence: force the child to attend school.
If you cannot listen to someone’s feelings, then you cannot listen to all of what they are trying to communicate.
- And, in order to listen well, it is necessary to be unafraid of any of your own feelings that might be raised by their communication.
Given that virtually all people are scared of feelings (which are often seen as ‘inappropriate’ in particular social contexts) and the power these feelings give the individual to resist their own oppression, there is ‘good’ reason why children are systematically terrorised into suppressing their awareness of how they feel.
- After all, if you want an obedient slave who fits readily into one of the approved roles in existing society, it is vital that their emotional power is destroyed.
- People who are emotionally powerful make appalling slaves.
It is easy to fall into the trap of assuming that each human being has a more or less identical range of emotions. This is not so.
- Just as each human individual is physically unique while fitting into a general physical shape (that usually, but not always, includes four limbs and an adult size of between 1.5 and 2.5 metres) so, too, the range and intensity of emotions felt by human beings varies from one individual to another.
- The outcome for each individual is based on the unique genetic potential of that individual and, more importantly, the social terrorisation experience of that individual within their particular culture, community and family.
- Thus, each human being is as emotionally unique as they are physically and intellectually unique.
At birth, a human being has enormous intellectual, emotional and physical potential.
- It develops in accordance with the stimuli that are provided by their social milieu and physical environment.
- Obviously, a child born to Shona-speaking parents will learn the language and cultural traditions of the Shona people and they will also learn how to live in the natural environment of the Shona people or, these days perhaps, in the physical environment of the city of Harare in Zimbabwe.
- Of course, if a Shona baby is taken from their parents to live in Sri Lanka and be raised by Tamil ‘parents’, they will learn the language and cultural traditions of the Tamils, and how to live in the local environment of these Tamils, even though they are Shona by birth.
- If they then returns to Zimbabwe when they are six or seven years old, they will be quite unfamiliar with the language, customs and environment of their birth, although they can still learn about these.
- If they did not return until they were twenty, however, their learning would be much slower.
There is some evidence, including from my own observations of babies and very young children, to suggest that the feelings of fear, anger and sadness are part of the genetic inheritance of each human individual (although, as explained above, awareness and functional expression of these feelings can be suppressed as the child grows).
- But there is monumental evidence to suggest that some other feelings - such as love and compassion - exist at birth only as potentialities and need to be experienced in a social context when the child is very young to be brought forth to manifestation.
- Thus, for example, if a young child lives in a social milieu devoid of love, they will be deprived of the opportunity to develop the capacity to recognise, experience and offer love, and they will not be able to develop this potential later in life.
- There may also be a third category of feelings: those for which there is no specific genetic potential but which are simply copied from others in a social context; jealousy and embarrassment may be examples of this.
Moreover, apart from the fact that certain feelings might not be developed, others might be underdeveloped, maldeveloped or hyperdeveloped.
- For example, an individual might acquire an underdeveloped version of the feeling of sympathy, meaning that they experience this only in a very muted form and probably insufficiently strongly for them to act meaningfully on them in relation to another person.
- More bizarrely, if a young child lives in a social milieu in which they are exposed to a particular feeling, such as anxiety, but this feeling is referred to by another name, say ‘love’, then, in this example, the young child will learn to feel anxious but to believe that they are experiencing and expressing love: I have labelled this phenomenon maldevelopment.
- And a feeling might be hyperdeveloped through excessive experience of it without safe opportunities to feel and thus release it.
- For example, if you terrorise a child routinely but do not allow them safe time and space to feel their terror, then this suppressed terror will subsequently be projected onto all sorts of inappropriate events that are not actually frightening as the individual’s unconscious seeks opportunities to feel this terror in order to release it: an individual might exhibit clear terror (gauged by their dramatic, and apparently angry, overreaction) in response to some trivial event such as someone waving their fork in the air.
If we are to understand human behaviour, including violent human behaviour, it is vital to understand the ‘emotional profile’ of individuals, including the extent to which they are emotionally undeveloped, emotionally underdeveloped, emotionally maldeveloped and emotionally hyperdeveloped.
- And this emotional profile will give us greater capacity to understand everything from the diversity of human cultures to the exploitative practices of transnational corporations.
Perpetrators of violence exist at all levels of society and all adults are, consciously or unconsciously, perpetrators of violence.
- But, for the purposes of this section, I will define the archetype violent personality.
- In the next section, I will describe ‘the spectrum of the violent personality’ that exists alongside this archetype.
- And, in the following section, I will describe collaborators and traitors.
Although such prominent (twentieth century) historical figures as Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Idi Amin and Pol Pot might be considered primary examples of the archetype, perpetrators of violence who exhibit the archetypal profile exist throughout society even if the domain of their violence is limited and, in some cases, confined largely to the family home. It includes both men and women.
Archetype perpetrators of violence have suffered an extraordinary level of terror and violence during childhood leaving them particularly badly emotionally damaged. So what are the archetype personality characteristics of perpetrators of violence?
A close observation and analysis of archetype violent personalities reveals that these individuals have at least twenty-three fundamental feelings/attributes that characterise them.
First, archetype perpetrators are terrified and they are particularly terrified of those individuals who perpetrated violence against them when they were a child although this terror remains unconscious to them.
Second, this terror is so extreme that archetype perpetrators are too terrified to consciously identify to themselves their own perpetrator (one or both parents and/or other significant adults who are supposed to love them) and to say that it is this individual or individuals who are violent and wrong.
Third, because they are terrified, they are unable to defend themselves against the original perpetrator(s) but also, as a result, they are unable to defend themselves against other perpetrators who attack them later in life.
This lack of capacity to defend themselves leads to a fourth attribute – a deep sense of powerlessness.
The fifth attribute is a deep sense of self-hatred (also because they cannot defend themselves).
And this, in turn, negates any sense of personal self-worth, leaving them with an extremely negative conception of themselves as ‘bad’, the sixth attribute.
However, it is too terrifying and painful for the perpetrator to be consciously aware of any of these feelings/attributes.
Seventh, archetype perpetrators unconsciously believe that they deserved the violence (‘punishment’) inflicted on them as a child when they were ‘bad’.
- This generates an unconscious attitude that others should suffer in the way that they did or ‘it’s not fair’ because these others are as bad as are they.
- And, for perpetrators, not seeing others being punished means that they are bad but ‘getting away with it’.
Eighth, archetype perpetrators thus end up believing that the individual Self is inherently evil (‘Everyone is a bastard’) and deserves to be ‘punished’ so that they will become ‘good’, that is, do what the perpetrator wants.
- This is because, for perpetrators, ‘good’ means obedient; it does not mean intrinsically good, loving and caring.
- ‘Good’ also means that the victim has been terrorised out of ‘attacking’ the perpetrator (such ‘attack’, of course, being the projection of the perpetrator).
- Alternatively, perpetrators want to believe that the ‘evil’ is inherent (which is what they were told when they were punished) but, paradoxically, that their own victim had a choice and chose to be evil which is why their victim must now be punished in turn.
Ninth, the extreme social terrorisation experience to which archetype perpetrators of violence have been subjected means that the feelings of love, compassion, empathy and sympathy, as well as the mental function of conscience, are prevented from developing.
- This is because the human potential to have a conscience and to have the feelings of love, compassion, empathy and sympathy depend on exposure to these and cultivation of them during childhood: they cannot be fully developed later.
- Devoid of conscience and these feelings, perpetrators can inflict violence on others without experiencing the feedback that conscience, love, compassion, empathy and sympathy would provide.
Tenth, and reinforcing the previous point, archetype perpetrators of violence have been taught (that is, terrorised into believing) that it is wrong to love: they are not allowed to be loved or to love other people.
- Consequently, the idea of being loved is terrifying and the idea of loving another is terrifying.
Eleventh, archetype perpetrators of violence have a compulsion to be violent; that is, they are addicted to it.
- Why? Because the act of violence allows them to explosively release the suppressed feelings (usually some combination of fear, terror, pain, anger and powerlessness) so that they experience a brief sensation of delusional relief.
- The relief is delusional, rather than genuine, because it does not last and because it does not occur as a result of insight into why the violent behaviour is occurring, which is necessary for behavioural change away from violence to take place.
Twelfth, archetype perpetrators of violence have a delusional belief in the effectiveness and morality of violence; they have no capacity to perceive its dysfunctionality and immorality.
Thirteenth, because they are terrified of identifying that they are the victim of the violence of their own parents (and/or other significant adults from their childhood) and that this violence terrified them, archetype perpetrators unconsciously delude themselves about the identity of their own perpetrator.
- They will unconsciously identify their ‘perpetrator’ as one or more individuals of whom they are not actually afraid from an existing ‘legitimised victim’ group because this or these individuals are either clearly not threatening (to them) and/or are vulnerable in some way: this identification might be limited to their own children and/or be a larger social group such as people who are black, Jewish or Palestinian, for example.
Fourteenth, archetype perpetrators project that their (unconsciously chosen) victim is now ‘attacking’ them and this ‘attack’ justifies their own violence against their victim (which they will delusionarily perceive as ‘self-defense’).
Fifteenth and simultaneously, archetype perpetrators unconsciously project their self-hatred, one outcome of their own victimhood, as hatred for their victim, thus giving themselves an ‘ideological’ belief to both justify their behaviour and to obscure from themselves their true but unconscious motivation: to remain unaware of their own terror, defencelessness, powerlessness, self-hatred, self-worthlessness, and all of the other unpleasant feelings that make them become perpetrators of violence.
Sixteenth, they do these last three things because their terror (which they are too terrified to feel) compels them to project itself onto something that is ‘controllable’ (because their original perpetrators never were) and on which they can ‘justifiably’ and safely take revenge.
Seventeenth, archetype perpetrators of violence are terrifiedly incapable of listening to feedback about the harm their violence is causing or of otherwise perceiving how it is for their victim (as noted earlier, they are incapable of empathy).
Eighteenth, archetype perpetrators have an intense fear of knowing the truth: it is safer to believe that their carefully but unconsciously chosen victim, who is always much less powerful than the perpetrator, is ‘the problem’ and to terrorise this victim (and thus gain the desired, but delusionary, sense of ‘having control’).
- The truth would require them to stand up to the actual perpetrator - their relatively powerful parents and/or other significant adults from their childhood - and, of course, this is utterly terrifying.
Nineteenth, it is this intense fear of the truth that makes archetype perpetrators of violence both bigoted and self-righteous: they cannot afford to even contemplate the truth.
Twentieth, this also means that they will manipulate the perceptions of others to obscure the truth in order to defend their own delusion about what is going on, which includes pretending that they are innocent and doing no harm.
- Moreover, they will lie prodigiously in defence of their delusion.
- But there is a fascinating aspect to their lying: they are unaware that they are doing so.
- Why? Because, the unconscious primary function of their lying is to assist them to maintain their own delusions about themselves (for example, they are doing the right thing) and their victim (for example, their victim is evil, psychotic or sub-human, and either does not suffer or it does not matter if they do) and the unconscious secondary function of their lying is to deceive others, including their victim if possible, so that they can try to evade responsibility for the consequences of their violence.
Twenty-first, archetype perpetrators invariably fear those victims who resist their violence, usually perceive resistance to their violence as ‘morally wrong’ and perceive any resistance to their violence (including justifiably expressed anger and/or explicitly nonviolent resistance) as ‘violent’, which they then use as post-fact justification for their own accusations (that they have been attacked) and violence against their innocent victim.
- They do this because their own fear of resisting genuine perpetrators is so deeply embedded in their unconscious that it is virtually impossible for them to accurately perceive their victim and interpret their behaviour or, paradoxically, to even acknowledge the original violence they have themselves inflicted on their victim which generated their victim’s response.
Penultimately, archetype perpetrators of violence lack the courage to heal; that is, they delude themselves that their own fear and terror are not responsible for their violence because they are too terrified to take responsibility for feeling this fear and terror as the central component of any strategy for dealing truthfully and powerfully with their violence.
- They are too terrified to take responsibility for their violence by seeking regular sessions of high quality listening in an appropriate setting, that will enable them to safely feel and express their fear, terror, pain, anger, sadness, powerlessness, self-hatred and the other suppressed feelings that unconsciously drive their violence.
- They might mask and/or justify this fear one way or another: for example, ‘I don’t want someone prying into my private affairs’.
- Of course, it must also be noted, some perpetrators of violence might not be aware that they need help of this kind and even more problematically, the capacity to offer the quality and amount of listening necessary is exceptionally rare so it is not readily available (and will virtually certainly not be provided by a psychiatrist whose professional training is misconceived and hence unlikely to help them to assist someone, including a perpetrator of violence, to deal effectively with emotional problems).
Finally, archetype perpetrators, if challenged to accept responsibility for their violence are most likely to respond in the following way.
- Because of their fear of being held accountable for their violent behaviours (which, as a child, meant suffering terrifying punishment), they will usually deny that they are violent (perhaps simply by refusing to acknowledge it in any way or by minimising it if this is not possible), they will endeavour to suppress awareness of the truth about their violence in the public domain, and/or they will maliciously attack any person who challenges their violence (for example, by claiming that they are ‘criminal’, ‘psychotic’ and/or under the ‘evil’ influence of another individual/ideology) in an attempt to silence their challenger or to undermine the credibility of the challenger’s truthful message.
- Only as a final resort, if none of the above strategies is feasible, will the archetype perpetrator attempt to justify or excuse their violence, usually by claiming ‘self-defence’.
In addition to the attributes listed above, but just outside the perpetrator archetype, some perpetrators of violence are full of self-obsession and self-pity: that is, they are unconsciously obsessed with a sense of what they personally did not get as a child (usually projected as material rather than emotional) but lack the capacity to deal with this functionally and powerfully by seeking to understand and address its emotional origins.
- As a result of this self-obsession and self-pity, they are also likely to powerlessly play for sympathy (to which collaborators are particularly vulnerable).
Apart from archetype perpetrators of violence, many other individuals occupy a place on ‘the spectrum of the violent personality’.
- These individuals will have many of the attributes of archetype perpetrators but not necessarily all of them and/or the attributes they do have will be less extreme.
- For example, these individuals might have some conscience as well as some capacity to feel love, compassion, empathy and sympathy but these might not be well developed and/or they might be skewed (perhaps so that they have sympathy for archetype perpetrators of violence).
These individuals might seek a legitimised way to inflict their violence, for example, by working in the police, legal or prison systems.
- This will be an (unconsciously) attractive option to those individuals who have been successfully terrorised into obedience.
- By working in the institutional setting, some perpetrators will be able to inflict their violence ‘legally’, most usually in the form of ‘punishment’.
- This means that some judges and prosecutors, police and prison officers will use their position to inflict violence of all kinds, knowing that they will ‘get away with it’ precisely because the institutional setting gives them licence to do so.
- Most of this violence is easily obscured and not just because it is socially endorsed.
- In a courtroom setting, for example, the legal obsession with procedure (including what constitutes ‘legally permissible evidence’) can easily be used to obscure the truth; judges can readily manipulate (inexperienced) juries.
- Other institutional settings allow employers and teachers, for example, to inflict legitimised violence as well.
- A key attraction of positions such as these is that they allow the perpetrator a strong ‘defence’ in modern society: ‘I am only doing my job’.
In summary, individuals who are violent each occupy a unique place on the spectrum of the violent personality, depending on the precise range and intensity of the violent behaviours that they exhibit as a result of the unique social terrorisation experience to which they were subjected as a child.
- And many of these individuals will unconsciously seek a socially-endorsed role that allows them to inflict their violence ‘legally’.
The Emotional Profile of Collaborators and Traitors
Collaborators and traitors take many forms: they are prevalent in warfare but common in ‘ordinary’ society as well, and labels such as ‘scab labourer’ are used to describe them.
- Most frequently, they are those relatives and friends who ‘stab you in the back’.
- Why do many people collaborate with perpetrators of violence and/or betray victims of violence becoming (what is more accurately called) co-perpetrators of violence themselves?
A close observation and analysis of collaborators and traitors reveals that these individuals have at least ten fundamental feelings/attributes that compel them to collaborate with perpetrators of violence and/or betray the victims of perpetrators.
First, of course, collaborators are terrified and they are particularly terrified of those individuals who perpetrated violence against them when they were a child although this terror, and the identity of their perpetrator(s), remains unconscious to them.
Second, because they are terrified, they are unable to defend themselves against the original perpetrator(s) but also, as a result, they are unable to defend themselves against other perpetrators that attack them later in life.
This lack of capacity to defend themself leads to a third feeling – a deep sense of powerlessness.
- Thus, terrified, defenceless and powerless, some victims will try to placate the perpetrator.
Victims who resort to placation, the fourth attribute of collaborators, will invariably fear those individuals who resist the perpetrator’s violence, will usually perceive resistance to violence as ‘morally wrong’ and perhaps even perceive any resistance to violence (including explicitly nonviolent resistance) as ‘violent’, because their own fear of resisting perpetrators is now so deeply embedded in their unconscious that any form of resistance is considered futile and likely to provoke further perpetrator violence.
- And this ‘violates’ their powerless ‘strategy’ of placation.
- In these circumstances, such victims might be offered what looks like a way out of being further victimised themselves: the perpetrator might have a use for them as a collaborator, that is, someone who will actively assist the perpetrator to retain control either by aligning themselves (often secretly) with the perpetrator in any conflict and/or (often secretly) by betraying (perhaps by spying on) the perpetrator’s other victims.
The strategy of placation is usually made more attractive to collaborators because they have a warped sense of empathy and sympathy, the fifth attribute.
- They will have empathy and sympathy for the perpetrators of violence (rather than the perpetrator’s victims) as an outcome of how they were damaged by the social terrorisation experience they suffered as a child.
Having unconsciously ‘chosen’ collaboration and betrayal as a means of ‘defending’ themselves (that is, minimising the violence inflicted on them personally by perpetrators), the collaborator/traitor will now unconsciously reinforce or acquire five other conscious or unconscious feelings/attributes as a result.
The sixth feeling, which is definitely unconscious, is a deep sense of self-hatred (precisely because the collaborator/traitor cannot defend themselves and now betrays others) which, in turn, negates any remaining sense of personal self-worth, the seventh feeling (although it was their existing sense of low self-worth that was partly responsible for them allowing themself to be used in this way in order to get a delusional sense of feeling ‘wanted’).
However, it is too terrifying and painful for the collaborator/traitor to be aware of these two feelings any more than the first three, so the collaborator/traitor will usually exhibit an eighth attribute if challenged: self-righteous justification for their collaboration/betrayal often expressed in either ideological/religious terms or as sympathy for the perpetrator (perhaps, for example, for ‘doing their best’).
- One version of this occurs when collaborators justify their collaboration with perpetrators of violence in terms of a supposed ‘obligation to obey’, although they might not use this precise language: many collaborators will characterise their obedience as ‘loyalty’, ‘support’ or ‘helpfulness’ in order to mask from themselves the fear that drives their submissive behaviour.
- For collaborators, the importance of obedience also far outweighs any sense of personal moral choice.
- Obviously, it is their fear that generates this attitude and behaviour. If you are scared to resist violence, then you must make a virtue out of submission and obedience.
- In essence: the collaborator/traitor will dogmatically defend their behaviour as ‘right’ in the circumstances as the means of suppressing their own awareness of the terrifying and painful tangle of feelings in their own unconscious.
Penultimately, collaborators/traitors invariably exhibit a ninth attribute: they unconsciously project their fear and self-hatred, as outcomes of their own victimhood, as fear of and hatred for, the perpetrator’s victims, thus presenting another ‘ideological’ belief to both justify their behaviour and to obscure from themselves their true but unconscious motivation: to remain unaware of their own terror, defencelessness, powerlessness, self-hatred and self-worthlessness, as well as the self-righteousness and projection that make them become, initially, co-perpetrators of violence but, ultimately, perpetrators of violence in their own right.
Finally, as a result of all of the above, the collaborator will exhibit a tenth attribute: the delusion that they are ‘in control’; that is, they are no longer (and never were) the victim of violence themselves.
- Tragically, of course, this delusion is a trap: an individual is never safe in the role of collaborator.
- Like perpetrators of violence, collaborators are victims of violence who haven’t found a way to heal themselves from the fear and pain of their own victimhood, and so they cannot genuinely defend themselves against the violence of perpetrators.
The individuals described above are active collaborators: those who actively seek to undermine the capacity of victims or intended victims to defend themselves against perpetrators of violence.
There is another, much larger, class of collaborators. Passive collaborators are those individuals who feed the perpetrator energy by submitting in fearful silence to the perpetrator’s violence; that is, they let the perpetrator ‘get away with’ violence against others without protest, challenge or resistance.
In addition to these two types, structural collaboration occurs when an individual collaborates with structures of violence and exploitation, such as capitalism.
Collaborators and traitors learn their ‘craft’ during childhood.
- Most usually it will originate when a parent terrorises the child (by threatening and/or inflicting violence) into collaborating with this parent against the other parent and/or the child’s siblings.
- Sometimes it originates when a teacher terrorises the child into collaborating with the teacher against the child’s fellow students, perhaps to find out who was responsible for some minor ‘wrongdoing’.
- Once the child has betrayed its siblings or classmates, it will usually need the ‘protection’ of the violent parent or teacher as a ‘defence’ against any retaliation by its siblings or classmates.
- Hence, it will become ‘locked’ into the role of collaborator/traitor out of fear of the perpetrator’s violence against it as well as fear of the violent retaliation of siblings or classmates. This, of course, suits the perpetrator.
- The collaborator will perform this role throughout its life as it now unconsciously recognises and identifies with those who are most violent, including state authorities that inflict legitimised violence on those individuals perceived as ‘criminals’.
Any form of violence – including that which is inflicted in the name of ‘punishment’ and that which is inflicted in the extreme form of torture – is designed to cause the victim to feel pain.
- But the pain, in turn, is intended to cause the victim to feel frightened so that the victim will submit to the control of the perpetrator.
- Why does the perpetrator inflict violence? Because the perpetrator fears that they have lost control and they must use violence to force submission of the victim so that a feeling of being ‘in control’ can be re-established.
- The perpetrator does not have the Self-awareness, and particularly the emotional and intellectual capacities, to both feel their fear of having lost control so that a strategy to re-establish it nonviolently can eventually become clear and to determine what knowledge and perhaps other resources it must acquire in order to implement this strategy.
How does this feeling of having ‘lost control’ originate?
- It originates when parents, teachers and other adults set the framework within which a child must think, feel and behave, and whatever control the child might have within this framework, the child does not have control over the framework.
- If a child is denied functional control over its own life, and not allowed to have its feelings about this, the child will endlessly seek dysfunctional control over other people and events to retain a sense of being in control or, if even this is thwarted (as it must be on some occasions), they will create a delusion that they have control in situations in which they do not.
In essence: If you deny a child natural control, and don’t let them get angry about this, they will become obsessed with controlling ‘everything’ and will use devious (including violent) means for doing so, or they will delude themself that they have control when they do not.
If you terrorise a child out of taking action to change their circumstances for the better (for example, to get out of a situation in which they are suffering the violence of a parent), then that same terror that stopped them changing their behaviour will also cause the child to now unconsciously delude themself that there is nothing wrong.
- It must do this because the human organism is genetically programmed to be an integrated whole in which mental functions (including sensing, thinking, feeling and conscience) are intended to work together to generate the appropriate behaviour in any given set of circumstances.
- If you prevent the logical behavioural outcome, you force the child’s mind to deal with this.
- Initially, they will simply repeat the original process of mental assessment and try again, one way or another, to escape the violence.
- But if they are repeatedly stopped from carrying out the logical behaviour, they must find another way of dealing with the problem to restore a sense of consistency (or integration).
- Unfortunately, of course, this response must be dysfunctional simply because the functional response, and any functional alternatives, were repeatedly blocked.
- After their functional responses have been routinely blocked for some time, the child unconsciously ‘learns’ that functional behavioural responses ‘don’t work’, so they increasingly resorts to deluding themself that ‘really there is nothing wrong’ (which means that they must suppress their awareness of all of the feelings – the fear, pain, anger and sadness, among others – that are telling them that there is something wrong).
- Once they have suppressed awareness of these feelings, mental assessment (‘really there is nothing wrong’) and behaviour (not allowed to act for change) are consistent but, of course, only in a dysfunctional/delusional way.
- If in response to every negative, dysfunctional and/or violent experience the child is thwarted from taking remedial action that leads to clearcut improvement, they becomes progressively more dysfunctional in their responses and increasingly deluded about the circumstances of their life.
- As the child grows into adulthood, their mind now routinely deludes themself that violence is not happening because, unconsciously, they feels utterly powerless to do anything about it.
One outcome of this is that many individuals are completely unable to acknowledge, in any way, the prevalence of violence in its many forms or, therefore, take action to resist it.
- These individuals must maintain, for their own sake, the delusion that, on the whole, violence does not happen.
- Why? Because to acknowledge their failure to find a way to defend themself from the violence of their own childhood will require them to feel the monumental, unconscious fear, pain, anger and sadness (among other ‘unpleasant’ feelings) that they were originally terrorised into suppressing.
- Clearly it is far less frightening to delude themself that the violence never happened and still isn’t happening, and to even take action to prevent the courageous efforts of others to both tell the truth about the violence and to resist it.
To summarise in less technical language: The individual pretends that everything is okay so that they can avoid feeling their fear of taking action to fix things.
- This is why they do not act: they are too scared.
- It is easier to pretend that things are okay, that is, ‘under control’, and then the fear of taking action can be ignored.
There are, of course, many other adverse outcomes of this denial process including a phenomenal variety of dysfunctionalities that adversely impact on the individual themselves, on others and on the environment.
- For example, many people refer to ‘climate change’ (which sounds almost benign) and some even argue that it is a natural phenomenon; many of these people accept that we will experience ongoing disasters of many kinds as a result of this ‘change’.
- These people are so frightened of acknowledging the genuinely catastrophic state of affairs and its human cause, as well as the visionary and powerful action that must be taken in response, that they ‘normalise’ what is taking place in a powerless way: their ‘reasonable’ manner masks their deeply suppressed terror of taking action.
What I have discussed above is the process that leads to what the literature on psychology sometimes refers to as ‘denial’ or ‘the denial of reality’.
- This problem has enormous implications.
- One fundamental outcome is that once you have terrorised a human being into ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and behaving in a delusional/dysfunctional way, it is extraordinarily difficult to get them to think, feel and behave functionally, because they are now unconsciously terrified of doing so.
- What they are ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and doing now is what got them approval as a child and that is terrifiedly but unconsciously locked in their mind.
- And the fear of even becoming aware of this, let alone feeling all of the feelings so that things might change, is overwhelming.
The purpose of fear is to
suppress awareness of the truth.
People always lie for the same reason: fear.
- But the precise fear that makes a person lie in one circumstance might be different from the fear that makes them lie in another.
- When a child is young, they will naturally tell the truth. Most usually, they start to learn to lie (consciously or unconsciously) when they discovers that they are not believed when they tell the truth or they are blamed and punished for telling the truth (particularly if the truth is unpalatable to the parent or other adult).
- In these circumstances, lying might occur in an attempt to be believed or in an attempt to avoid blame and punishment and the lie might take the form of the child fearfully telling the parent what the child knows the parent wants to hear.
- Why does this happen? Because a child is genetically programmed to behave functionally (evolution had to get this right or individuals and species would not survive infancy), on this basis, they would always tell the truth.
- But if they are not believed then the child must ‘learn’ to devise strategies, including lying, to be believed.
- This might start as a fearfully conscious response but it will probably become increasingly unconscious and automated as they learns what is ‘expected’.
- If the child is blamed and/or punished for telling an unpalatable truth then, again, they must ‘learn’ to devise strategies, including lying, to avoid blame and punishment.
- Given that many social institutions routinely require behaviours that evolution did not intend and which are not functional (for example, sitting in a school classroom all day), the child will be progressively dysfunctionalised in a variety of ways, including ones that scare them out of telling the truth about how they feel and what they need as they would otherwise do naturally.
You can run from the truth
You can hide from the truth
You can deny the truth
But you cannot destroy the truth
By the time the child has reached adolescence, it will live in a world of considerable delusion about themself, other people and the world in general.
- In these circumstances, the emerging adult will now lie unconsciously, primarily in order to maintain their delusions about themself and the complementary delusions they have about others and the world.
- Hence, for example, a mother will want to maintain a sense of herself as ‘a good mother’ (however dysfunctionalised and/or violent she is) and if one or more of her children decide to challenge her dysfunctional/violent behaviours or even to discontinue their relationship with her, then, rather than acknowledge her dysfunctional/violent behaviours and accept responsibility for dealing with these (which would require her to have the courage to feel the suppressed fear, pain, anger, sadness and other feelings that drive her dysfunctionalities and violence), she is most likely to reinforce her own delusions about herself by lying about herself and her child, including about the reasons her child no longer wants a relationship with her.
- But much of her lying will be unconscious because, to lie consciously would mean that she could acknowledge (at least to herself) her dysfunctional/violent behaviours and, perhaps, accept responsibility for these.
- However, of course, this almost invariably does not happen precisely because of her fear (based on her own childhood experience) of being blamed and punished for making, and acknowledging, ‘mistakes’.
- It is far less frightening to fearfully lie (and act accordingly) than to acknowledge her delusion about herself and to accept responsibility for her dysfunctional and violent behaviours.
All attention-seeking behaviours (including those which are dysfunctional such as compulsive talking, lying, screaming, endlessly getting people to do things for you, as well as overt acts of visible violence) are intended to get someone to ‘listen’.
- Individuals who use dysfunctional and/or violent behaviours to get someone to listen only do so because they were terrorised out of listening to themselves during early childhood and because their functional attempts to get someone else to listen to them, under ordinary circumstances, when they were a child routinely failed.
- As a result, they have learned, usually from the example of others, to resort to using dysfunctional means that will increase their chances of getting someone’s attention.
- Moreover, because more functional means failed them routinely throughout childhood, they are no longer able to perceive the difference between functional and dysfunctional means of getting attention or to perceive that dysfunctional means are unlikely to get them the type of attention that they actually need or, even worse, to identify clearly what it is that they now need.
- Attention becomes an end in itself and they can no longer use it even when they receive it, which is why the dysfunctional behaviour, such as the compulsive talking or the violence, persists even if the individual gets the attention they want in one particular context.
Tolerance can be a slippery concept. Many people talk of tolerance: religious tolerance is regarded as important by many, as is tolerance of people of other races or people with different belief systems.
- But is it tolerance when we ignore a sexist or racist remark?
- Is it tolerance when we choose not to consider or investigate the significance of a neighbour’s screams?
- Is it tolerance when we remain silent about someone’s violence?
- Is it tolerance when we pretend that a parent or other adult has the ‘right’ to use violence against a child?
- No, this is not tolerance. This is cowardice.
- It takes courage to speak out or otherwise intervene in situations of violence.
- And it takes greater courage to challenge the social conventions that tolerate the violence against children that occurs in the privacy of the family home or in the school classroom.
One of the vital problems confronting those who seek to end violence is the fact that individuals who are violent almost invariably seek to evade responsibility for, and the consequences of, their violence.
Why do individuals who are violent seek to evade responsibility?
- Most usually, it is an outcome of childhood experience when the child was blamed and punished for their dysfunctionalities and mistakes.
- Blaming someone or, even worse, punishing them, however, inclines the individual to try to evade responsibility (primarily because responsibility, in this context, means suffering blame and/or punishment which is both frightening and painful).
- In contrast, providing opportunities for someone to accept responsibility when they had previously avoided it is, pre-eminently, an act of love. And, of course, how this is done is vitally important.
- For the practitioner of nonviolence, it means challenge and support of the perpetrator of violence, with any violent punishment being taken on fearlessly by the practitioner of nonviolence.
- This is because only in a context in which their fear, and the fear of punishment particularly, is minimised, can the violent individual be expected to ‘soul’ search the truth of the practitioner’s challenge.
- Of course, one vital element that often sustains the perpetrator of violence is that they have the (active and passive) support of collaborators.
- But to support someone to avoid responsibility for their violence is no act of love but is an act of fear. And this must be withstood and challenged as well.
In some traditions and religions, there is an emphasis on forgiveness but it is a powerless forgiveness in which the dysfunctional/violent individual is ‘forgiven’ without any effort on their part to take responsibility.
- This approach avoids the harsh reality of conflict and the need to challenge individuals who are dysfunctional, rather than to simply forgive them.
- This fear of engaging in conflict might be typical of some traditions and religions (and even characteristic of them) but it is not functional.
- Nonviolent activists, among others, recognise the reality of conflict and engage in it but, of course, this requires courage. It also requires that conflict be engaged with compassion and without blame or punishment.
Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there is a widespread belief that all parents love their children. This is not so.
- Many parents are so badly emotionally damaged as a result of their own childhood experience that they are not capable of loving their children.
- Moreover, the fear, self-hatred and powerlessness that characterise all humans means that parental violence against children is chronic even if one or both parents are capable of love.
Evolution’s great trick was to connect reproduction with intense sexual pleasure, not love.
- Couples may engage in sex as a result of love for each other and possibly the desire to create and care for a child.
- But many children are conceived outside the loving long-term relationship necessary to nurture a child and even those children who are conceived within this framework will routinely suffer parental violence as an outcome of the fear, self-hatred and powerlessness of their parents.
Visible parental violence against children is a deep social problem, constituting a substantial proportion of the cases of domestic violence reported to state authorities.
- And cases of domestic violence are the main, or one of the main, forms of criminal violence in all police districts.
- In extreme cases, such as those in which children are forced into sexual slavery, bonded labour or military service, parents are often responsible for selling the child to improve their own material circumstances (see David Batstone, Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade – and How We Can Fight It. New York: HarperOne, 2007)
- But these extreme cases should not obscure the foundations on which they are based: the behaviour of many ordinary parents who, because of the damage they themselves suffered during their own childhood, might have children for reasons other than love. For example, a prospective mother might simply be trying to avoid or defer undesirable employment. A prospective father might be trying to create an acolyte who feeds the gaping hole in his own sense of self-worth.
- And even if this is not the case, all parents still inflict, consciously or unconsciously, visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence on their child throughout their childhood.
One other driving social force in this horror equation is the imperative to obey conventions, commands, rules and the law, and few parents have sufficient sense of Self to resist this imperative in defence of their child.
- This is why virtually all Western children, for example, are imprisoned and enslaved in school with active parental cooperation.
- The True Self of any individual cannot be nurtured under a relentless regime of submission to the will of others whether parent, teacher or other controlling adult.
One central problem of terrorising individuals into obedience of conventions, commands, rules and the law is that once the individual has been so terrorised, it is virtually impossible for them to change their behaviour simply because they are now terrified of doing so.
- If the obedient behaviours were functional in the circumstances then, apart from the obviously enormous damage suffered by the individual, there would be no other adverse social or environmental consequences.
- Unfortunately, when all humans have been terrorised into behaving dysfunctionally on a routine basis (for example, in the Western context, by engaging in over-consumption) then changing their behaviour, even in the direction of functionality, is now unconsciously associated with the fear of violence (in the form of punishment) and so desirable behavioural change (in the direction of reduced consumption, for example) is much more difficult.
- To reiterate: if all individuals are terrorised into obedience of conventions, commands, rules and laws, then even when a convention, command, rule or law is utterly dysfunctional, few individuals will have the capacity to identify, let alone to resist, the dysfunctionality precisely because the fear of being subjected to violence (punishment) obliterates both of these capacities.
The fear associated with behavioural change is a key reason why it will be difficult to eliminate human violence and to prevent human extinction.
- We are, to a large extent, terrifiedly locked into the behaviours that both drive violence and the rush to extinction.
In the words of Anita McKone: ‘Violence against legitimised victims is invisible.’ And who are ‘legitimised victims’?
- Depending on the cultural context, it is: Third World peoples, indigenous peoples, women, workers, non-white peoples, military personnel, ‘criminals’, ‘enemies’, non-human species and natural systems of the Earth itself.
- But, in all cultural contexts, all over the world and all throughout human history, legitimised victims always and pre-eminently include children (and that means you).
- According to Anita: ‘Violence against legitimised victims is always presented by the perpetrator as necessary, reasonable and caused by the victim. The victim may be portrayed as causing the violence against them in one of three ways:
- The victim is portrayed as intrinsically wrong, dangerous or dysfunctional, and needing to be controlled with emotional or physical force;
- The victim is portrayed as deliberately behaving badly and deserving vengeful punishment; and
- The victim’s inherent weaknesses are portrayed as justification for their exploitation – the victim is seen as a “natural victim” whose feelings, needs and contributions (as an individual or as a species) do not need to be taken into account.’
No child is ever ‘naughty’. Indeed, it is not possible for a child to be ‘naughty’. ‘Naughty’ is a delusionary concept.
- The child at birth is genetically programmed to seek to meet their own needs and will go about doing this with intelligence and increasing self-awareness if they are allowed to do so.
- It is also genetically programmed to expect parental and other adult assistance (primarily by providing a loving and safe environment) with which to do this.
- And they are genetically programmed to have feelings of fear, pain, anger, sadness and others so that they can recover from incidents in which their efforts fail, or in which the violent or unintentional interference of others make them fail, and to determinedly keep trying until they succeed. This is how a child learns to walk, for example.
Many adults equate ‘naughty’ with ‘disobedient’, without questioning the functionality of obedience.
- A child is genetically programmed to seek to meet their own needs, not obey the will of another.
- And in some cases, forcing the child to be obedient will simply generate an equally dysfunctional compulsion to disobey.
However, there is a deeper dimension to the problem of ‘naughtiness’ than this.
- Because all adults have been so dysfunctionalised by violence, they now believe that chronic and compulsive interference in the natural development of the child, and particularly in the expression of their feelings, is ‘normal’.
- Why? Because this violent interference is regarded as necessary to ‘socialise’ the child in the ways of their society.
- But the outcome is disastrous and tragic: this violent interference makes it impossible for any child to become properly functional (which does not include being obedient) let alone to realise their genetic potential for consciousness (or Self-realisation).
All violence is a dysfunctional attempt to get attention for something one needs including, especially, the need for attention themself, although this need remains unconscious to the perpetrator.
- Violence, in this sense then, includes all forms of controlling behaviour, such as, for example, that exercised by those in authoritative positions including:
- Military officers
- Business/bureaucratic managers
- Violence is simply an extreme form of attention-seeking behaviour for those individuals who are no longer able to pay attention to themselves.
- Controlling or directing a subordinate becomes a perverse way of getting attention for oneself and those adults in subordinate positions themselves will invariably find someone else, especially children, to control.
We are all terrorised out of telling the truth. But not only do we not tell the truth to others, we end up afraid to know the truth for ourselves. In the words of Anita McKone:
- We are so frightened we hide behind the lie. But what is the point of existing? … It is fear of the feelings that debilitates people. … You have been taught to feel afraid of telling the truth (about parental violence) because, if you do, you will have to feel the fear and pain that goes with telling the truth. … If you are scared into not telling the truth to others, you ‘learn’ not to tell the truth to yourself.
The ultimate act of violence is to terrorise a child out of telling the truth to themself.
The endless and terrifying onslaught of invisible violence and the further utterly invisible violence of terrorising the child out of having their feelings in response to this violence, has many other disastrous outcomes for the intellectual and emotional capacities of the individual and, therefore, the behaviour that is driven by these.
These outcomes include the fact that the child is made substantially less intelligent that they would have been otherwise. For example:
- The overwhelming evidence, which is readily available to anyone who seeks it, clearly indicates that human health is most effectively nurtured by a diet of organically or biodynamically grown, fresh, whole (unprocessed) vegetarian food that is healthily prepared and consumed in modest quantities.
- However, most ‘industrialised’ human beings, including those who are reputedly ‘intelligent’, eat processed food-like substances that fall well outside these parameters.
Why does fear prevent an ‘intelligent’ individual acting on sound evidence? There are many reasons.
- First, fear distorts sensory perception; for example, taste buds become addicted to sweet, salty and/or fatty foods.
- Second, fear interferes with analytical capacity, skewing the individual’s judgment away from ‘unpalatable’ conclusions.
- Third, fear generates compulsive behaviours (including addictions and other eating disorders) that are extremely difficult to break and which cannot be broken by intellectual effort alone.
- And fourth, fear interferes with emotional and physical responses that signal damaging behaviour; for example, substances like milk, coffee, cola drinks, alcohol and tobacco have a soothing or stimulating effect which overrides feelings and physical sensations that signal their damaging impact.
- Similarly, it is evident that driving a car is damaging to the Earth but the invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on the child destroys the intelligence of the adult that emerges who would otherwise find alternative transport to a car (even given the difficulties of public transport, for example).
More profoundly, this invisible and utterly invisible violence, and the monumental unconscious fear that it generates, interferes with other emotional responses in ways that are devastating for the individual, others and the Earth.
For example, anger is the quality, given to the individual by evolution, for communicating to the individual that they are being threatened or attacked in some way (whether by a more ‘subtle’ abuse or in an explicitly violent manner), while also giving them the power to respond to this threat/attack.
- The individual who is not afraid to be angry, will respond immediately, powerfully and, in virtually all cases, nonviolently to this threat or attack, warding off the attacking individual, for example, simply by clearly showing their anger (which is, of course, a clear defence in itself).
- In contrast, the individual who is afraid to be angry will either retreat inappropriately, use violence to ‘counter-attack’ (including in situations in which the ‘threat’ or ‘attack’ is actually an outcome of their own projection) or engage in vicarious and powerless acts of rebellion or interference.
What is a powerless act of rebellion?
- It is an act that is harmful to themselves, others and/or the Earth that is done in a way that allows the individual to either:
- Avoid responsibility as would occur, for example, by dropping an item of rubbish or by starting a bushfire where no one will see them.
- Or to delude themselves that they will not be held accountable (as occurs, for example, when someone pretends there is no connection between their unhealthy diet and their ill-health).
- Similarly, an individual might engage in a powerless act of interference in the life of another as an unconscious manifestation of their suppressed anger. For example:
- If someone is angry because they feel they are being forced to clean up after someone else, but this anger is fearfully suppressed and cannot be acted upon by raising and dealing with the conflict openly, then the person might half clean up something but then leave all of the cleaning equipment in the way of the other person in an attempt to powerlessly ‘force’ that person to, in effect, clean up after them.
More interestingly perhaps, an individual might engage in a powerless act of interference in their own life as an unconscious manifestation of their suppressed anger. How might they do this? And why?
- A person might get in their own way by, for example, being untidy, disorganised or by persisting in using dysfunctional equipment (rather than having it repaired).
- And they do this as a projection of one or both of their parents ‘getting in my way’ when they were a child.
- This ‘getting in my way’ usually occurs when the child is ‘held to account’ for making mistakes (that is, being inappropriately and unfairly treated as dysfunctional) but is not allowed to get angry about this unjust response to their ‘mistakes’.
- So, not allowed to get angry, the child (now an adult) wants to ‘insist’ on doing what they want (dysfunctional or otherwise) because this represents them trying to learn to do things for themselves (and ‘getting away with’ making mistakes in doing so) when they were a child.
- Unfortunately, they are now trapped in this behaviour pattern because they cannot have the feelings, which are deeply suppressed, that would allow them to restore more functional behaviour.
- Finally, the individual whose anger is warped by both their own fear and pain, will probably act in a vindictive manner, trying to inflict unnecessary or excessive violence on the person who is threatening or attacking them (again, including in situations in which this might simply be a projection from their own past).
Perhaps the ultimate state of being in this regard is one of fearlessness (which must include fearlessness in relation to having one’s own feelings, including one’s anger).
- The individual who is fearless will respond powerfully and nonviolently to any threat or attack simply by being fearless: any attacker will unconsciously perceive their fearlessness and know that submission will not occur.
- In more complex situations, the fearless individual might ward off the attacking individual or group by doing something as simple as reflecting how the person or group feels; for example, ‘You sound very angry that what I am doing is harming you’.
- Listening is an extraordinarily powerful and transformative defence. And there are others (including many that require much less than fearlessness).
- (See Robert J. Burrowes, ‘Nonviolent Intervention in Interpersonal Conflict’, Nonviolence Today 44, May-June 1995, pp. 4-6. http://dkeenan.com/NvT/44/2.txt)
Fearlessness is simply the knowledge that
the person who is threatening you is terrified.
Another damaging outcome of the violence described above is that violence becomes deeply but invisibly entrenched throughout society and this is indeed evident in all of its structures and institutions, including:
- The economy (which ensures ongoing accumulation of wealth by the relative few through exploitation of the vulnerable many, as well as nature).
- The education system
- The medical and pharmaceutical industries
- The media industry
- The police, legal and prison systems
- The military defence system
- (For brief critiques of these structures, see The Flame Tree Project To Save Life on Earth http://tinyurl.com/flametree)
- Clearly, if violence is to be ended, then all of these structures must be dismantled and replaced with small-scale local structures that do not have violence built into them.
Human violence, represented as an iceberg, has three giant tips. The three tips represent:
- Exploitation of the Third World
- Environmental destruction
However, just below these tips but above the water surface is a section of the iceberg proper and this represents the enormous violence inflicted on many constituencies including:
- Indigenous peoples
- Non-human species
Beneath the surface, well out of view, is the vast bulk of the iceberg.
- This represents the violence - visible, invisible and utterly invisible - directed against children.
If we are to tackle the problem of violence and its more obvious manifestations, then we will need to tackle the cause:
- A society so terrified of the powerful Self of each of its individual members that it uses social terrorisation (what humans call ‘socialisation’) to ruthlessly destroy the Self of each and every child.
In summary, the fundamental purpose of social terrorisation is to violently force the child into fearfully accepting society’s (and particularly their parents’) preferred delusions about themself, about their parents and other adults, as well as about the world in general (which will invariably ignore all of its violence and injustice, for example).
- Once the child has been terrorised into accepting these delusions, they can be relied upon to behave in ways that do not scare their parents or other adults. That is, they will behave in ways that reinforce their delusions.
- Once this process has been completed, the True Self of the child has been deeply suppressed and their socially constructed delusional identity (that is, their socially acceptable ‘no Self’) is what is now presented to the world.
And the child gets considerable approval for being this ‘no Self’.
- In the case of the Western middle class professional, for example, the rewards usually include (limited amounts of) money, status, travel and/or influence.
- But this simply reinforces their already deep fear of challenging the status quo and going in search of their True Self while struggling for a just world.
Self-awareness is the capacity to pay conscious attention to all aspects of yourself:
- To use sensory capacities such as sight, hearing and touch to provide accurate information about the external world.
- To use feelings such as thirst, hunger, nausea, dizziness and physical pain to provide accurate information about the state of your body and what it needs.
- To use memory to store and provide access to information from past experience.
- To use your ‘truth register’ to detect lies and other misinformation.
- To use intuition to ‘listen’ to and remain in touch with ‘the big picture’ of life as a whole.
- To use conscience to enable you to make and act on those difficult moral choices that, for example, might ultimately require you to act against social conventions or laws.
- To use feelings such as fear, happiness, emotional pain, joy, anger, satisfaction, sadness, sexuality and a vast variety of others to tell you what is happening for you in any given situation and to give you the power to behave appropriately in this context when the time is right.
- To use intellect to acquire, interpret, analyse and evaluate information from these and other sources, such as written material.
Self-awareness is the capacity to synthesise all of the input from these and other sources in order to crystallise the appropriately precise behavioural option in any given circumstance.
- To disintegrate or rank these interrelated components of Self-awareness (for example, to regard ‘thinking’ as somehow separate from and superior to ‘feeling’) or to regard them as in conflict with one another, gets in the way of appreciating each function as a vital part of the whole even if temporary indecision precedes an integrated sense of how to proceed.
- The mind is genetically programmed to be one integrated whole, not a conflicting set of components, but it is easily damaged so that one part of its capacity dominates or suppresses others.
- It is the ongoing destruction throughout childhood of the capacity to pay attention to all of this input and particularly your feelings that progressively destroys the innate capacity to become Self-aware.
What causes this damage? Terror. And what makes a mind react with terror thus disrupting all other functions simultaneously? Violence.
- And particularly the unrelenting onslaught of invisible violence and utterly invisible violence inflicted on children throughout their childhood.
If you want to know how serious this damage is, then consider some simple questions:
- Do you ever do what others tell you? Why?
- Do you know how to stand in a perfect posture (and can you do it)?
- Do you know what food makes you healthy (and do you eat it)?
- Do you deliberately frighten children to make them do what you want?
- Why do you believe that this is functional?
- And do you feel calmly and powerfully able to deal with any situation, including the looming threat of human extinction (or do you prefer to delude yourself that it isn’t happening)?
Self-awareness also enables the individual to prioritise but to not ‘forget’.
- For example, if an individual injures their leg while escaping a dangerous situation, the individual will need to prioritise escape over the injury.
- But, as soon as circumstances allow, the Self-aware individual will stop doing everything else to pay deliberate attention to the injury by specifically focusing on the pain and, if necessary, by applying the appropriate first aid treatment.
- Why? All communications, whether in the form of feelings such as fear and anger, physical symptoms such as nausea and pain, and sensory signals such sounds and smells, are designed to give your mind information about what is taking place but this information can only be fully utilised if you devote deliberate attention to this or these phenomena.
- In the case of physical pain, for example, the pain is designed to attract your attention and, if you focus your attention on the pain rather than fearfully suppressing your awareness of it (by distracting yourself or by taking painkillers, for example) as you were taught and terrorised into doing as a child, then your body will be in the optimum mode for responding to the pain, and what it signals, with the appropriate short and long term healing strategy.
Your attention is a vital ingredient of your healing:
- First, because it optimises your body’s capacity to identify and efficiently implement the uniquely appropriate healing strategy for this circumstance.
- And second, because it tells you what you need to do and what you need to change (if anything), both in the short and long terms, if complete healing is to occur.
If you focus attention on the pain, it will virtually always be both manageable and short-lived.
- Once it has your attention for the problem, your immune system will automatically start to mute the pain.
- Without attention full healing will never occur.
- Even worse, your body will store the disease or injury of which the pain is a symptom and this will keep manifesting one way or another repeatedly throughout your life resulting in chronically declining health, as well as more intense and long-lasting bouts of pain requiring more frequent and ever-stronger distractions and drugs to suppress it, as you get older, despite the fact that the human organism is designed to be as vigorous (even if differently so) in old age as in youth.
The purpose of emotional pain is the same as physical pain: to get your attention.
- But if emotional pain is not felt at the time (that is, it is fearfully suppressed), it will come back later to wallop you bigger and harder. Or kill you prematurely.
In summary then, just as an individual will fearfully (and either consciously or unconsciously) suppress their awareness of physical and emotional pain, they will also fearfully (and increasingly automatically and unconsciously) suppress their awareness of all aspects of their mind.
Hence, if you wish to acquire the Self-awareness that is your birthright, you will need to pay attention to (that is, to spend time feeling) the fear that makes you unconsciously suppress it.
How do you do this? The short answer is this:
- If you feel scared in a particular situation, try to consciously focus on feeling your fear for as long as you can before reacting to it.
- But a great deal of experience has taught me that the short answer will not work for many, if any, people because of the monumental reservoir of unfelt feelings that each of us is holding back.
- So, on the following page, is a slightly longer, more accurate and much less palatable answer.
The way to end human violence is clear even if, equally clearly, this is not going to happen easily.
- The Self of each living human individual must be resurrected by restoring each of the components of Self-hood, and particularly the component of Self-awareness, specified above.
- This can be done by each individual consciously feeling all of the feelings (including the fear, pain, anger, sadness, jealousy, dread, guilt…) that have been suppressed throughout their life.
- This will obviously take considerable time and require a great many feeling sessions, some up to three hours or more in length.
- The process will usually be facilitated by having someone else listen quietly and calmly, occasionally reflecting a feeling or connection that the subject has not consciously identified although it becomes apparent to the listener from the words, appearance, posture, behaviour and/or gestures of the subject.
- One very useful aid in this process is for the subject to describe a dream in detail but then to focus intently on any clear feelings and the imagery causing them that occur as the dream is described.
- This may be difficult in the case of a nightmare but, if they are able to focus on the fear and other difficult feelings for long enough, the subject will invariably interpret the symbolism and reveal a deep truth about their own life.
- Another useful aid in this process is for the subject to focus intently on any pains in the body and the feelings and images that arise from these.
The emotional healing of individual human beings is, I suspect, the only way to resurrect the Self and to end human violence.
- Obviously this will not happen on a wide scale in the short term.
- Nevertheless, those who undertake this journey of healing will be the most powerful individuals and will inevitably play a central role in confronting human violence in all contexts.
- They will also be better equipped to care for children in the sense that they will be consciously able to avoid inflicting the ‘invisible violence’ and the ‘utterly invisible violence’ identified above on their own children and the children of others.
- Hence, there may be a time in the future, assuming extinction can be prevented in the short term, when children will not be terrorised and tortured in the first place and, therefore, no healing will be necessary. (see The Flame Tree Project To Save Life on Earth http://tinyurl.com/flametree)
- Imagine, then, a planet populated by powerfully Self-aware individuals who live in harmony with themselves, with others and with nature.
Know thy Self
Love thy Self
Honour thy Self
Be thy Self
Each human being is genetically programmed with a drive to seek and find meaning in life and they will endeavour to do this throughout their life if they are allowed to do so.
- What constitutes ‘meaning in life’ varies from one individual to the next and is dependent on many factors (including the genetic endowment, social context and the physical environment) but the ultimate outcome would be what is sometimes described as consciousness or Self-realisation in a form that would be unique for each individual.
The reason that the innate drive to search for meaning and thus achieve consciousness has been destroyed in each human being is because of the violence inflicted on them throughout their childhood and the terrorised state in which this leaves them throughout their life.
- In a life that is devoid of the deep satisfaction that derives from the search for meaning, any number of pale substitutes might emerge to ‘fill’ this aching gap.
- The individual might become ‘content’, for example, to seek attention and/or approval; to become wealthy; to succeed in some intellectual, physical, spiritual or commercial endeavour; to experience sex and romance exhaustively; or to ‘see the world’.
- In short, the individual may become addicted to seeking one or more of these things as the fearful compulsion to fill the aching hole in their Self-hood drives them relentlessly.
But none of these things can ever compensate an individual for not becoming,
and thus knowing, their True Self.
Why is there no concerted effort to understand and eliminate violence?
Most perpetrators of violence find ways to inflict their violence in socially legitimised ways thus avoiding punishment for their violence.
- Apart from inflicting violence on their own children, society has created whole sectors of activity in which other forms of legitimised violence can be inflicted.
- The most obvious example of socially endorsed violence is that allowed during military service but another sector that absorbs many legitimised perpetrators is the police, legal and prison system.
- Many police, judges, magistrates, prosecutors and prison officers use their socially legitimised role to inflict violence (whether directly in the form of assaults or institutional in the form of imprisonment and capital punishment) on those individuals snared in the legal system.
- There is no evidence that violence (even when labelled ‘punishment’) and the fear that it causes can restore functionality.
- However, modern societies have devoted vast quantities of resources to the military, police, legal and prison systems rather than financing research efforts to understand why human beings are violent and then developing comprehensive strategies to eliminate this violence based on an understanding of its cause.
The complete failure of societies and their governments to seek to understand the problem of violence so that it can be systematically addressed and, hopefully, ultimately eliminated means that a vast and ever-increasing quantity of resources must be devoted to maintaining both military forces that are sent to kill all over the world and an endlessly expanding system of highly dysfunctional ‘law enforcement’ in which individuals are no longer considered important once they are defined as ‘criminal’.
Why do governments devote resources to the military, police, legal and prison systems?
- In brief, this occurs because members of governments want to perpetuate violence (in the delusional belief that it gives them ‘control’) and one socially endorsed way of participating in this violence is to perpetuate an institutional framework that defines ‘enemies’ and ‘criminals’ as legitimised victims.
- The social investment in violence at all levels is staggering: if it was not, there would be substantial research funds devoted to understanding the origins of violence so that it could be reduced and eventually eliminated.
- But there is no budget allocation anywhere to fund research to understand this most pervasive and phenomenally destructive problem, although humans spend approximately $2billion each day on military violence and a staggering, but unknown to me, amount on the world’s police, legal and prison systems.
- It includes individuals in government and the military forces.
- Those corporations that make the weapons and build the infrastructure.
- And those individuals (including police and judges) who gain employment within the institutions.
- But the victims of military violence, ‘criminals’ and particularly ‘the public’ (that is, the vast majority of the world’s population) do not benefit because violence is perpetuated rather than progressively cut back.
How do governments, legal institutions, corporations and the individuals who work within them actually benefit?
- At the superficial level it is about things like status and money: taxes, profits, income from jobs.
- But the true reason is that it helps these individuals to suppress awareness of the terror, self-hatred and powerlessness that has destroyed their Self-hood and that drives their use of violence in the delusional belief that they will regain ‘control’.
The rule of law is the rule of elite violence.
If we do not break our addiction to violence, it will destroy us all.
All violence is an outcome of the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted by adults on children.
- Once the child has been damaged, they will inflict violence on themself, the people around them, as well as non-human species and the natural environment; they will also play a part in maintaining structures of violence and exploitation (such as the education and legal systems, as well as capitalism) in which they are both victim and perpetrator.
Where violence has been exposed in other contexts, it has led to liberation movements such as:
- The anti-slavery movement
- The anti-war movement
- Struggles against imperialism, colonialism and racism
- Women’s liberation
- Struggles for the rights of indigenous peoples
- The environment movement
- Animal liberation
- Struggles for the rights of people with disabilities
- The struggle against homophobia
Where violence has been exposed, it has also led to solidarity movements in which, for example:
- Whites have acted in solidarity with people of colour.
- Men have acted in solidarity with feminist women.
- Humans have acted in solidarity with non-human species and the natural environment.
It will be difficult for a Children’s and Adolescent’s Liberation Movement to emerge given the extraordinary level of violence which children suffer and their emotional and economic dependence on adults: these factors make it extraordinarily difficult for them to organise politically.
Until they do, those adults who wish to act in solidarity with children can readily do so by doing any or all of the following seven things.
- First, like some individual members of other violent/oppressive groups before you (such as anti-racist whites and pro-feminist men who sought to eliminate their own racism/sexism), you could take responsibility for identifying and progressively eliminating your own violence against children (using the information in this document as a guide or, preferably, by listening to children).
- Second, you could raise awareness of violence against children and challenge/support others, including institutions, to take responsibility for ending their violence against children.
- Third, you could listen to children (in silence) with patience, love and compassion when children feel safe to talk of (or otherwise reveal, perhaps through some form of artistic expression) their experience of violence and to express their feelings (including fear, anger, sadness and others) about this violence.
- Fourth, you could organise a safe forum (facilitated by someone experienced in listening to emotionally-disturbing events) in which a few children could share with each other (by talking or through some form of artistic expression) their experiences of, and feelings about, the violence they have suffered and witnessed.
- Fifth, you could support children’s efforts to communicate and organise around the issue of adult violence against children.
- Sixth, you could support children to take action against adult violence when those children feel courageous enough to act (or you could act on the child’s behalf when the child is too young or too terrified to act for themself).
- Finally, you could act in solidarity with the child in yourself.
- You were a victim as a child and no one acted in solidarity with you.
- You can learn to listen to yourself while you have your feelings about violent childhood experiences or you can get someone else you trust to listen to you about what happened to you.
- In time, this will make you better able to listen to, and be an ally of, children (even when they tell you about your violence against them).
The man who inflicts violence on women was damaged during childhood.
- The white person who inflicts violence on people of colour was damaged during childhood.
- The employer who inflicts violence on workers was damaged during childhood.
- The individual who endorses the state violence inflicted on indigenous peoples was damaged during childhood.
- The person who supports structures of violence (such as the military, police, legal and prison systems) was damaged during childhood.
- The person who supports structures of exploitation (such as capitalism and colonialism) was damaged during childhood.
Violence does not ‘just happen’. It is perpetrated by damaged individuals, including ourselves.
- Only we can take responsibility for healing the damage done to ourselves.
- Only we can take responsibility for ending the origin of all of this violence: the violence we inflict on our children. It will take time.
It takes courage to tell the truth that no-one wants to hear.
It takes fearlessness to act on it.
The violence identified on the Spectrums of Invisible Violence and Utterly Invisible Violence describes the phenomenon whereby human parents unknowingly disintegrate the mind of each child into a set of functions that can be separately and easily controlled, ostensibly for desirable social purposes such as specialised employment.
- For example, a parent might want a child to ‘remember’ to perform a household task on schedule and an employer might value certain thought processes.
This disintegration occurs progressively during the process of social terrorisation.
- The individual with a disintegrated mind – that is, a mind in which memory, feelings, thoughts, sensing, conscience and other mind functions no longer work powerfully together in an integrated way – has therefore lost the qualities of Self-hood that are necessary to consider and choose behavioural options that cooperatively enhance their own life as well as the lives of other organisms and the natural environment as a whole.
- This disintegrated individual is easily tricked or coerced into obeying the insane will of those who use visible violence to pursue exploitative ends.
No-one values or even wants the awesome power of the individual Self with an integrated mind (that is, a mind in which memory, thoughts, feelings, sensing, conscience and other functions work together in an integrated way) because this individual will be decisive in choosing life-enhancing behavioural options (including those at variance with social laws and norms) and will fearlessly resist all efforts to control or coerce them with violence.
Society must destroy the components of Selfhood so that it can control the individual.
Because society is terrified of the powerfully Self-aware individual.
If I suppress awareness of my anger, then I use violence to control the behaviour of others
It is only the individual who is truly powerless that must control the behaviour of others.
- Although I authored this document, I acknowledge the substantial contribution to its content of my soulmate and research colleague, Anita McKone, who I love beyond measure.
- I wish to acknowledge the love, financial support and understanding (sometimes in phenomenally difficult circumstances) of my parents, James and Beryl Burrowes, over the fourteen years that Anita and I have undertaken this research, which we call the Jarakis Project. They are truly the greatest parents who ever lived. I also acknowledge, with loving appreciation, the substantial financial support given to us by my brother Thomas J. Burrowes during the last five years. And I sincerely thank those other people, most notably Anahata Giri and Dave Keenan, who have assisted us financially, by providing us with temporary accommodation and/or by providing us with material support in some other way.
- I acknowledge the learning and inspiration I received from the life of Mohandas K. Gandhi. The following words of his are my favourites:
even at the risk of being misunderstood.
Hesitating to act because others do not yet see the way only hinders progress.
If a single satyagrahi holds out to the end, victory is absolutely certain.
And Anita and I are both committed to holding out ‘to the end’.
- The title of this document was inspired by the title given to the famous correspondence between Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein on the subject ‘Why War?’
- The learning briefly described in this document represents the apex of a concerted and unrelenting 45-year effort to understand the causes of war, Third World impoverishment and ecological destruction, and to find or devise a solution that will end these. Having set these two lifetime goals for myself in 1966, I have lived by a credo of my own: If I am going to achieve the ‘impossible’ then, no matter what happens, I must never, ever, say ‘die’. My parents inspired this credo with their story about Bruce and the spider: ‘Try, try again’. More poetically: If you live your dream, you have lived.
Why Violence? This document offers a comprehensive explanation of why human beings are violent.
- It took me 41 years to learn the central insight that generated this document, now in its 9th edition.
- It is the primary outcome of 14 years of deep psychological investigation undertaken, while living in seclusion, by my soulmate and research colleague, Anita McKone, and myself from 1996 until 2010.
- Anita’s website, which includes her explanation of our process during this period – ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology’ – and her songs of nonviolence, can be viewed here: AM.
27 December 2007
27 February 2008 (2nd edn)
29 March 2009 (3rd edn)
1 July 2009 (4th edn)
27 December 2009 (5th edn)
1 July 2010 (6th edn)
1 January 2011 (7th edn)
1 July 2011 (8th edn)
25 October 2016 (9th edn)
Robert J. Burrowes
‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World’ http://thepeoplesnonviolencecharter.wordpress.com
‘The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth’ http://tinyurl.com/flametree
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy: https://nonviolentstrategy.wordpress.com/
Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy: https://nonviolentliberationstrategy.wordpress.com/