[ I'm dividing this series up into different parts, as the blog got way too long as a whole. I'll post one a day for the next 4 days. It deals with evil, hatred, bullying, and how they all come from the same state, whether it be terrorism or cyber-bullying, or late night humor.]
So apparently the Rockdale County Public Schools won an award for installing what amounts to an anonymous text program that allows students to report bullying and other issues to authorities without being labeled a snitch. A great tool for students to use whenever they are being victimized. However, I look about all the "anti-bullying" awareness today, from commercials to efforts by the president...etc..., and I wonder, where was all this 25 years ago? There were bullies back then, there were victims, there just weren't teachers and a public who cared. It's become a hot-button topic, and that's fine, it will help many of the students today to recover from some of the awful things that I experienced many years ago. What is the difference between today's bullying and that of two decades ago? One thing is that we have the technology to report it, through video cameras in our cell phones (which, when given to the media, makes an instant story and makes the school system look bad, and in this litigious society, opens them up for lawsuits). We also have social media which is a double edged sword, for it brings the acts of bullies to light, as well as allows those bullies into our own bedrooms.
Actually, I've been stuck at that paragraph for quite a while now. Especially over the past week, with the Boston events showing the world how evil people can be. The problem that I've been having, I think, apart from general depression (which has nothing to do with the topic on hand), is that the social labels we're giving these people, "terrorists," "bullies," "victims," are all complicated, and complicating, the actual issues here. What makes people behave the way they do?
The Jungian Argument
Brief psychology lesson here. According to Carl Jung, there are three parts of the human mind. The id, a subconscious being that communicates base desires to us. It wants what it wants, and it will do anything to achieve it. Sex, food, violence, revenge, those temper tantrums you see kids throw when they don't get the toy they think they want. That's all id. The superego is also a subconscious being, comprised of the morals of society, the lessons taught from parents and natural consequences, the natural assumption of right and wrong. If a baby sticks his finger on an iron (or even a teenager, for that matter.... don't ask) and burns his finger and has to keep it in ice cold water while he gets his hair cut, the lesson learned from that is stored in the superego. Thus, he never will stick his finger on an iron again (although, come to think of it, that was the car cigarette lighter...) The third part is the ego, the conscious mind. It decides, based on the id, and the superego, and from reason, emotion, and other thought processes, and decides what is right and what is wrong, and thus, what action should be taken. Take any of these out, and you have a problem on your hands.
It's obvious now, if the superego is lacking, then the only thing the ego (you) has to hear from is the id. An example. In 1999, the Columbine High School shooting (although, technically, there were a few before that, but this was the big one) put into everyone's minds the idea that it's possible to enter a school building and start shooting people. For the shooter to enter the high school, the superego either hadn't existed, or it was so feeble that the shooter's ego didn't listen. So overpowered it was by the urges of the id to enact violence against his peers. The superego must learn the lessons taught the person by pain, punishment, or parents. If discipline at home doesn't exist, then there's nothing to influence the ego (the conscious mind) into thinking anything other than what the id tells it to. If the information that the brain digests from the outside world is nothing but action movies, violence, and pleasure-seeking, there's no societal values to counteract the id either. Thus you have materialistic, self-centered, self-serving feral beings that will do whatever they want no matter the consequences, because consequences don't mean anything. There is no one in the home to spank them if they do wrong. When they become adults and are sent to jail, there's little punishment, except four walls, bad food, and roommates of questionable character. They can be trained, a superego formed, around the societal norms of a jail cell. They are brainwashed into thinking that blowing up buildings and killing Christians is a good thing. All this because the superego wasn't formed in time. And people can see it, they know it, and can brainwash them into doing whatever they want. It's why many of the school shooters are upper class kids whose parents threw money at them instead of discipline, and thus they weren't taught right from wrong at the very beginning. How many children, even on a smaller level, have that same attitude? Even those in the poorest ranks, whose parents just aren't there, aren't getting the lessons they need to counteract the base desires the id throws at them every day.