The human species has created an unsustainable social environment that stimulates conflict between religions, ethnic groups, social strata and individuals. We thrive on news of someone else being harmed or killed and feel relief that such trauma is happening to someone else – unless of course, you are involved in that trauma as a victim!
Why is this? Why are we so fascinated by conflict either as a participant or a watcher? Why?
I have watched and worked closely with thousands of people experiencing anxiety, depression and trauma. I have been a psychotherapist for over 40 years and have seen the best and the worst of human experience, close up and “in your face”. And one thing that is a part of almost every psychological problem, conflict and war is……
Poor self image
Fact: Our core Values are developed during our first five years. They are unconscious groups of memories that begin as simple belief systems, but which develop greater or lesser degrees of importance to our unconscious programs based on how our parents, grandparents and other event contribute an awareness of risk, anger, fear and survive-ability.
Fact: These core Values we take on board before we can rationalise our environment become the basis of our thoughts, feelings and behaviours for the rest of our life.
Fact: The way your unconscious memory organises belief systems is not rational, but reactive to its environment and will often drive thoughts and behaviour that has no rational basis.
The way we view ourselves, others, other ethnic groups, religious groups and our place in society are typically all formed during these early years. Our self image and awareness of our own value to self and others is firmly entrenched. This in turn drives our behaviour in looking to increase our perceived value and ability to survive.
So, from a social perspective we now have a basis for bullying, narcissism, racial and religious hatred, willingness to go to war, self interest and selfishness, and lack of regard for the environment that our very survival depends on.
For our unconscious mind to combat the ever present poor view of itself and to improve survive-ability, it drives us into conflicts that make us feel more valued or better than others. Our religion is better (illogical), our skin colour is better (illogical), our ethnic group is better (illogical). For those who have no other way to deal with their own perceived vulnerability weapons become the avenue of choice.
Lack of a survivable self image cause disenfranchisement, and reactive violence. These things are increasing in our societies, socking up resources and making everyone feel less secure. Our unconscious mind uses its proven old strategies to deal with this – reducing face-to-face contact and conversation, isolation and mental and physical health issues due to higher levels of stress hormones and neurotransmitters.
For an entire human species to pull back from its disastrous path we must start with first principles. Education is an essential part of this but it must be done from birth. Potential parents must be re-educated in the importance of that critical first five years and the effects of language, behaviour, touch and just saying “I love you”.
Teachers must be re-educated and our education system must focus as much on human relations as learning facts. Non-social behaviour must not be tolerated, but when it does occur because a child feels vulnerable the response must be firm, but with love.
Making a child feel loved and secure takes away the need to be stronger, more competitive, unsociable. It takes away the need to have more and focuses on the need to connect to and edify others – to make other feel better about themselves.
All children must learn to respect and protect the environment. Selfish behaviour must be strongly discouraged.
And for those who are not willing to do this for the sake of potential children or for the sake of the human species and its environment, don’t have children because you think it is expected or because having a child boosts your own value. Selfish behaviour is no longer acceptable if we are to survive.
Populations must be reduced in size by self control and a deep understanding of the realities of survival. We must begin to take responsibility both for ourselves and for those around us, or we won’t survive as a species.