Musings from the padded room

måndag 5 juni 2017

Time to give up on preconceptions

These last few months (well, maybe more like years but the effects are more and more obvious as of now) have seen a horrifying change in the way we view our world. Terror has found it's way into the ever-closer surroundings of our consciousness.

Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, Nice, Normandie, Munich, Berlin, Stockholm, Manchester, London... those are just the ones that come immediately to mind when thinking back on the recent year and a half. So many lives lost, so many people left in grief and the realisation that no one is spared, that security truly is a frail thing.

Of course, being humans we immediately search for ways to explain how such horrendous things could happen, and why. Why is the world as we know it suddenly becoming more and more hostile? Why is the violence, that we before just heard about on the news, getting closer for each day?

There are some who wants to make this a matter of "race", claiming that certain types of humans are more prone to violence than others. Which, honestly in my opinion, is a load of bullcrap. Race is fundamentally a socially constructed divider between individuals of the same species. It is a purely human thing, since we seem to have a strange need to categorise everything around us. It really doesn't matter which colour your skin is, nor what language you speak or from which part of the world you come, in the end you are a human, just as I am, as our neighbours are, as the people in the grocery store and so on. You usually don't see other animals (if, that is, what we still claim to be, I have my doubts as to the fairness of that considering the "true" animals seem much wiser than we are) care about things as race. A dalmatian plays just as well with a corgi as it does with a German shepherd, for example. Provided their personalities don't clash, of course. So, yeah, I don't buy the race argument.

Others say certain cultures are more prone to violence than others. It's remarkable, really, that it always seems to be "another" culture that breeds violence, never your own. And, once you actually start to question the statement, the one who made it can rarely give any valid examples nor prove any deeper, more profound knowledge (that comes from actually studying and learning with an open, unbiased mind) of said culture. So, no, I don't buy the cultural thing either, not until someone with untarnished references, a solid understanding and an open mind can actually prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt.

And then there's religion... ah, religion... Possibly the greatest divider of humanity and breeding ground for biases in existence. And, of course, yet another human invention. Since there is a certain terror group that likes to assume responsibility for most of the terrorist attacks these last few years, and since that group claims to be connected to Islam, it is of course quite popular, these days, to claim that Islam and it's followers, generally without anyone bothering to acknowledge the fact that no two people are the same, even within smaller groups, is the root of all evil that has befallen the Western world. If that's not the most pathetic generalisation ever I don't know what is. I'm not a religious person, but I respect people's right to believe in something bigger than themselves. And generally that is still done with a fair amount of individualism. Either way, religious or not, if anyone still wants to claim that Islam is the root of all evil here in the west... how do one explain the latest attack in London? Their mayor is a professed Muslim, so in my mind it really makes little sense to attack a city governed by a follower of Islam, if the purpose is to strike terror and punish a bevy of so-called infidels. In my eyes that was nothing more "noble" than a petty attempt at power. Thankfully it would seem that the Londoners as well are stronger than to let something like that change them.

So, with that said, to me it's becoming more and more obvious that the problem cannot be blamed on race, culture or religion. No, to me it is rather clear that the problem can only be blamed on humans. Individuals who seek power, riches and notoriety. They can claim whatever they want as the reason for their deeds, but in the end it has nothing to do with any greater purpose than their own greed and a  narcissistic need to be acknowledge, much like a child screaming in the grocery aisle to get the attention of their parents. It would be cause for pity, honestly, if it hadn't been for the effect of  the very real and very painful things they do to others.

The only way to fight such people is with a calm and rational mind, patience and, sometimes, dragging them kicking and screaming out of the store to spend some time reflecting on their behaviour. As long as we remember that it is individuals , not races, or cultures or religions, throwing the tantrum.

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