The Malignant Normality of Childhood Terrorism
I have been recently diagnosed by one of my colleagues as having Avoidant Personality Disorder, a disorder I have felt, but could not put into words, until now. One would have guessed that I would have become irate at my colleague and defensive, but surprisingly, when those three words were utterred I felt liberated: a unifying diagnosis to explain my personality was provided as over the years and still now I try to avoid situations that would highlight my emotional and social ineptitude. I now understand that this was a consequence of my childhood upbringing, and I do not blame my parents or their parents one bit, as they all did the best they could raising us, given their level of understanding.
As a result of my social and emotional deficiencies, I engaged in a form of escapism into the realm of intellectual pursuits and most of my time was preoccupied with non-fictional reading of the latest developments in religion and sciences, which has continued up to this day to include philosophy, sociology, economics, politics and their relationship to the neurosciences. This has made the synchronous provision of this diagnosis timely as as of late I am able to appreciate my emotional and social ineptitude most fully within a cultural and structural framework that was unwittingly destabilising our potential for high-quality life growth and development from babyhood up to adulthood and beyond. (Please see: It has been accomplished! Violence = Acquired Life Destabilisation Syndrome (ALDS) for primary sources of this enlightenment.)
Another recent epiphany was the responses of our misguided incumbent and oppositional leaders to our being spared on two occasions the catastrophic destructiveness of two major Category 5 hurricanes that bypassed us last month and have already caused unfathomable damage to life and property in our neighbouring islands. We went to church before the storms and prayed for God’s protection and thanked him afterwards when our prayers were answered, but instead of showing our sincere gratitude and endeavouring to change our dysfunctional tribalistic ways by making sacrifices on the altar to the God of Life, we began showing our true colours and starting paying hommage on the altar to the God of Mamon. I do not blame our leaders for playing this game, as like me at an individual level, this was also a symptom of our social and emotional collective ineptitude as we avoid dealing head-on with the social and emotional deficiencies in our midst in order to detribalise and revitalise our family and communities, locally, and our family and community of nations, regionally.
And this is by no means a local or regional phenomenon! This dysfunctionality is reflective of a deeper systemic life-anomaly at work that is being made manifest in all of its horrific gories in the thoughts, words and deeds of no other than the most misguided leader of the “free” world! If one pauses and reflects for a while on what is transpiring, one would readily realize that he serves not only as a mirror, not only as a lens, but also as a prism to reflect, focus and refract, respectively, the gamot of social and emotional deficiencies that have brought us to the galloping dictatorships of acquired life destabilisatons at all levels – be they at the individual, social and planetary levels of life organisation.
Given this stage of cultural and technological development as a species, I am at a loss to discern which category many of our non-visionary misleaders fall into, whether they are sincerly misguided, arrogantly ignorant or willfully blind to the consequences of their life destabilisations. However, I have grown quickly to learn that apportioning blame at the agent level and scapegoating leaders only serve to entrech the structural and cultural life-dysfunctionalities in the system as all of our time, energy and talents are wasted in demeaning and demonising them, without any efforts being made to address the culpable systemic factors implicated.
By scapegoating our leaders, we unwittingly continue to manufacture life destabilisers (parents, teachers, religious and business leaders). This is manifested as stealth programming at all levels, be they individual-engineering (internalisation), social-engineering (institutionalisation) and geo-engineering (externalisation causing climate destabilisaton) which unbeknownst to us go on to undermine our life-giving and nurturing systems that have been gifted to us and of which we are called to be genuine stewards of their distributitive and regenerative nature. In its stead, we have undercared for and toxically stressed beyond safe limits these life-enabling systems, and instead of being called in service to the God of Life, we are crafted in servitude to the God of Anti-Life (Mamon). Thus we are all in effect no longer givers of life, but takers of life-potential on a grand scale.
And it is in this sense, our mass killing has been malignantly normalised. And as explained in The Psychology of Mass Killers: What Causes It? How Can You Prevent It? this malignant normalisation goes much deeper to our childhood upbringing and programming of always unquesitonably obeying sincerely misguided, arrogantly ignorant or willfully blind authority! And truth be told, this is a form of childhood terrorism, from which unknowingly all of us are victims. As the author explains, some of this childhood terrorism is visible, but most of it is invisible and even utterly invisible, hence a unifying term that has to be invented to explain this form of phenomenal violence that pervades every level of society today.
In closing I would leave you with excepts from this article on which to reflect, meditate, pray and discuss. This article has most definitely raised my level of awareness of the systemic factors involved, and I also hope the same will transpire with you the reader too. It is my fervent hope, given the diversity and interconnectedness of our life-expertise, that we would all become “witnessing professionals”, as we strive to “confront this malignancy” and “make it known” in all of our spheres of concern and influence.
With much peace and love.
“So why does someone become a mass killer?
Human socialization is essentially a process of inflicting phenomenal violence on children until they think and behave as the key adults – particularly their parents, teachers and religious figures – around them want, irrespective of the functionality of this thought and behavior in evolutionary terms. This is because virtually all adults prioritize obedience over all other possible behaviors and they delusionarily believe that they ‘know better’ than the child.
The idea that each child is the only one of their kind in all of living creation in Earth’s history and, therefore, has a unique destiny to fulfill, never even enters their mind. So, instead of nurturing that unique destiny so that the child fully becomes the unique Self that evolution created, adults terrorize each child into becoming just another more-or-less identical cog in the giant machine called ‘human society’.
Before I go any further, you might wonder if the expression ‘phenomenal violence?’ isn’t too strong. So let me explain.
From the moment of birth, human adults inflict violence on the child. This violence occurs in three categories: visible, ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’. Visible violence is readily identified: it is the (usually) physical violence that occurs when someone is hit (with a hand or weapon), kicked, shaken, held down or punished in any other way.
But what is this ‘invisible’ and ‘utterly invisible’ violence that is inflicted on us mercilessly, and has a profoundly damaging impact, from the day we are born?
In essence, ‘invisible’ violence is the ‘little things’ we do every day, partly because we are just ‘too busy’. For example, when we do not allow time to listen to, and value, a child’s thoughts and feelings, the child learns to not listen to themselves thus destroying their internal communication system. When we do not let a child say what they want (or ignore them when they do), the child develops communication and behavioural dysfunctionalities as they keep trying to meet their own needs (which, as a basic survival strategy, they are genetically programmed to do).
When we blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie to, bribe, blackmail, moralize with and/or judge a child, we both undermine their sense of Self-worth and teach them to blame, condemn, insult, mock, embarrass, shame, humiliate, taunt, goad, guilt-trip, deceive, lie, bribe, blackmail, moralize and/or judge.
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, teachers 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 ‘utterly invisible’ violence that explains why the dysfunctional behavioural outcomes actually occur.
For example, by ignoring a child when they express their feelings, by comforting, reassuring or distracting a child when they express their feelings, by laughing at or ridiculing their feelings, by terrorizing a child into not expressing their feelings (e.g. by screaming at them when they cry or get angry), and/or by violently controlling a behaviour that is generated by their feelings (e.g. by hitting them, restraining them or locking them into a room), the child has no choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings.
However, once a child has been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of their feelings (rather than being allowed to have their feelings and to act on them) 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 they will progressively acquire a phenomenal variety of dysfunctional behaviours, including many that are violent towards themselves, others and/or the Earth.
Moreover, this emotional (or psychological) damage will lead to a unique combination of violent behaviours in each case and, depending on the precise combination of violence to which they are subjected, some of them will become what I call ‘archetype perpetrators of violence’; that is, people so emotionally damaged that they end up completely devoid of a Self and with a psychological profile similar to Hitler’s…
…Once someone is so emotionally damaged that they are effectively devoid of the Self that should have defined their unique personality, then they will be the endless victim of whatever violence is directed at them. This simply means that they will have negligible capacity to deal powerfully with any difficult life circumstances and personal problems (and, for example, to resist doctors prescribing pharmaceutical drugs), they will be gullibly influenced by violent ideologies, education and entertainment, and they will have virtually no capacity to work creatively to resolve the conflicts (both personal and structural) in their life but will do what was modeled to them as a child in any effort to do so: use violence.
And by now you have probably realized that I am not just talking about the mass killers that I started discussing at the beginning of this article. I am also talking about the real mass killers: those politicians, military leaders and weapons corporation executives, and all those other corporate executives, who inflict mass violence on life itself, as well as those others, such as academics and those working in corporate media outlets, that support and justify this violence. This includes, to specify just one obvious example, all of those US Senators and Congresspeople who resist implementing gun control laws.
In essence then, if the child suffers enough of this visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence, they will grow up devoid of the Selfhood – including the love, compassion, empathy, morality and integrity – that is their birthright and the foundation of their capacity to behave powerfully in all contexts without the use of violence…
…But if we don’t see the mass killers as the logical, if occasional, outcome of (unconsciously) violent parenting, then we will never even begin to address the problem at its source. And we are condemned to suffer violence, in all of its manifestations, until we inevitably drive ourselves to extinction through nuclear war or climate/environmental collapse.”…
…In summary then: For the typical human adult, it is better to endlessly inflict violence on a child to coerce them to obey. Of course, once the child has been terrorized into this unthinking obedience, they won’t just obey the parents and teachers (secular and religious) who terrorized them: they will also obey anyone else who orders them to do something. This will include governments, military officers and terrorist leaders who order them to kill (or pay taxes to kill) people they do not know in foreign countries, employers who order them to submit to the exploitation of themselves and others, not to mention a vast array of other influences (particularly corporations) who will have little trouble manipulating them into behaving unethically and without question (even regarding consumer purchases).
Or, to put it another way: For the typical human adult, it is better to endlessly inflict violence on a child to coerce them to obey and to then watch the end-products of this violence – obedient, submissive children who are powerless to question their parents and teachers, resist the entreaties of drug pushers, and critique the propaganda of governments, corporations and the military as well as the media, education and entertainment industries – spiral endlessly out of control: wars, massive exploitation, ecological destruction, slavery, mass killings…. And to then wonder ‘Why?’
For these terrorized humans, cowardly powerlessness is the state they have been trained to accept, while taking whatever material distractions are thrown their way as compensation. So they pass on this state to their children by terrorizing them into submission too. Powerfully accepting responsibility to fulfill their own unique destiny, and serve society by doing so, is beyond them.
The great tragedy of human life is that virtually no-one values 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.”