When a truly horrific event occurs in America (or anywhere in the world) – one in which innocent lives are snatched away in deliberate human violence – everyone stops to ponder how something like that can happen and what it all means.
There are many perspectives and many opinions.
Some groups would dismiss the notion of even trying to understand the motive or meaning of any hideously violent act because it is simply the result of the incomprehensible will of some supreme being, whom one may call Jehovah,al-Lah, God, G_d, or any other appropriate superlative.
No sense for mere mortals to try and penetrate the mind of the Supreme Being, these folks would argue. Just accept it and move on.
Other people – not operating from a religious milieu – would take a similar tact, but present their ideas in a slightly modified fashion. They would argue that trying to impose logic on an illogical act, or trying to rationalize the irrational, is a waste of time and resources.
Disturbed individuals do disturbed things. They are disturbed, remember? And there is a corollary to that — stupid people do stupid things. Both are taut tautologies.
The next step often pursued following this line of thought is a bit discomforting, because the status quo would like much broader and more comprehensive mental health screenings and programs to identify those with mental health issues.
The status quo — right now the left — believes that humans do not really have free will and therefore when something bad happens, it is always the fault of someone else. There is always a reason external to the individual that caused the problem. The left believes that the general populace is genetically inferior, uncontrollable, and desperately in need of guidance. So — they want to test everyone to make sure they are mentally stable and fit to be “citizens.”
Sounds reasonable until you actually start to contemplate the ramifications.
Here’s the problem I have with that – exactly who decides what constitutes “correct” mental health and what is “harmful” to society? Is it based on scores from a test? The opinion of supposed experts? Government standards? Religious tenets? Philosophical guidelines? Political viewpoints?
Allowing any bureaucratic entity the power to determine your mental health status through mandatory “screenings” strikes me as a bit too much power to grant to any group, organization, or government. Especially the latter.
Perhaps it would be better – these same folks would argue – to control guns. Their basic assumption is that widespread and “easy” access to guns seems to be the real source of most human violence.
Truthfully – isn’t this a question of self-control and not gun control?
And – ultimately – the value of self-control is something which the culture must instill in its citizens through every aspect of the culture. Lamarck was wrong about the inheritable nature of acquired physical characteristics, but the mechanism he evinced is correct for the transmission of ethics, mores, logic, and wisdom.
Consciousness — if you will grant me a boon — is an acquired trait, not gained by mere existence. We must teach the next generation how to be self-aware.
I’ll have to be honest with you – we are teaching the next generation absolute shit.
When I look at the nature of cultural teaching on television, at movie theaters, in books, in our schools and universities – I am not seeing the stress on honor, integrity, personal responsibility, morality, and ethics which are the hallmarks of self-control.
What I see is an embrace of nothing. Hemingway’s nada. Nihilism. The Cancer of Nothingness.
In order to exercise self-control you must know yourself. The famous words inscribed on the wall of the ancient Greek Oracle at Delphi – Nosce te ipsum (Know Thyself) – are essential for human success.
If each existing individual does not define themselves, then that means he or she permits others to absorb that task. And – in almost every case – this role is subsumed by the State, which is more than happy to tell you who you are, what you can be, and what you should be doing.
Self-discovery – self-education – is a painful process. It takes great work. Work most people are not willing to do. It requires self-awareness, consciousness – this is precisely what the ruling elite of any tyrannical government does not want you to have.
They want a citizenry that grants the State power and then submits as sheep to be tended after… and the ultimate fate of sheep is a well-known fact.
How can the State assume such control and power over the citizens? It is because most people do not want any pain whatsoever in their life – and they are willing to give away their freedom to avoid the pain.
Here comes a most uncomfortable statement for me to make — violence that on rare occasions takes the lives of innocent people must be accepted in a free society.
That is harsh and difficult to accept. Almost counter-intuitive. As terribly hard as that is to grasp and embrace, it is nonetheless true.
However (and this is critical) — this acceptance is not a passive act, because the society constantly pursues ways to change the hearts and minds of people – you try to show them a better way, a new way, of thought in order to prevent a repeat of any violent horror.
This is culture correctly teaching people to be human. To be more than human. We do NOT accomplish this by threat, force, imprisonment, or other punishments — though the latter two are necessary for those who willfully chose a life out of control and beyond the reasonable structure of normal human relations.
Our individual choices as Americans – our freedom – cannot be restrained nor denied, and the actions the Society takes to reach those hearts and minds must rely upon the freedom of choice inherently granted to individuals in our society, and not on slavish acquiescence to centralized laws and regulations in the hope you can avoid the pain.
It is the pain of learning. The pain of trying to understand, to reach awareness.
Unthinkable acts of isolated human violence are not prevented by instituting more State-sanctioned control of human behavior, but by continuing to focus on good education. That would be an education not tainted by self-aggrandizing political or philosophical musings utilizing a curriculum designed to manipulate the mind rather than inform the mind.
We must educate ourselves properly — then we can start to eliminate acts of horrific violence by endorsing music, books, movies, and television that do not exploit some innate barbaric desire for violence and destruction solely for its commercial value. People that denounce gun violence but make millions with violent acts in the movies and on television should not be teaching us anything of real value. They are only entertainers.
We can only succeed as a culture if we do not marginalize or trivialize the most important moral and ethical values that allow us to rise above our bestial origins and become truly human.
Only when we allow ourselves the true freedom to become human will acts of human violence disappear from daily life – but until that time comes we must strive to stave off all efforts to control and reign in that freedom, because once you relinquish freedom you never get it back — the slavery that results binds your soul and being to a wheel of existence that has no ring of truth about it.
Freedom from pain is but slavery of the soul.
Freedom is painful, to be sure. But, it is how we deal with the pain that defines us as an individual, a culture, a nation, a species.
Do not seek to make the pain of life go away with the “drugs” offered by the government – they want more controls on personal freedom, mandatory mental health screenings, and the like.
Do not seek to make the pain go away by allowing greater controls and restrictions on freedom so we can “monitor” the actions of those with ideas at odds with the norm — the result is that we all get monitored and we are all criminals.
Do not seek to make the pain go away by allowing greater control of free speech by the government – what you don’t know WILL hurt you.
It is only through the difficult process of self-achievement in harmony with others; only through an appreciation of the greatest moral and ethical values that humans can envision; only through trying to attain an understanding on what freedom truly is; only through a process of true personal enlightenment, can we hope to understand the pain and what it means.
Freedom is pain. Pain is freedom.
Because if you feel pain, then it means you at least still feel something – you have not yet been turned into a zombie by a society which wishes only to control, regulate, exploit, and otherwise dull your senses until you react to nothing at all.
The status quo — the ruling elite — survives only so long as barbarism survives. To paraphrase George Orwell from his book 1984 – you must be conscious to exercise self-control, but you cannot be conscious without self-control. It inures to the benefit of the status quo to create legions of sense-dulled zombies and non-reflective barbarians and deny them consciousness and self-control. These mindless – pain-free – humans are then exploited in the economy by the status quo, who say they speak for the “poor” but only care for themselves and their profit.
The status quo wishes to end all pain because for them, ignorance is indeed bliss. It means the status quo retains power. Keep that one thought in your mind.
The thought of the pain and suffering of innocent people is gut-wrenching. It should “wake” up your mind and bring clarity to our thoughts. It should create a clamor and cry for self-control, not external control.
We must seek to understand what the pain means – and what it can inspire us to achieve.
May the pain of freedom always be yours to cherish and nourish for all generations to come.