The Importance of Hugging
Sorry, no one by that name lives here...
My son recently graduated from college. He could have been one of these UC Davis students. The well fed skin-head on the right is the riot clad officer hosing our children with pepper spray as they sit, Gandhi style, arm in arm, nonviolently. This act, not by students but by our friend the civil mercenary, and others like it around the world (see below), rips the thin skin of civility off our eyes. Serving and protecting, yes, but who and what? Watching his unaffected cruelty, like food poisoning, vomits up the question, How could he do such a thing?
In 1981 when a friend was nearly raped and murdered by a stalking stranger I asked the same question, Why would a man do such a thing? How can a man who supposedly loves his wife beat her so violently it caused brain damage? Or a coach, scream at an eight year old for dropping a ball? Violence is so easy, so natural. Or is it?
Years ago friend and author Howard Bloom introduced me to the works of James W. Prescott, PhD. In a breathtaking book called the Lucifer Principle Howard takes us on a tour of human nature down through the ages and explains how violence is in our blood, how in many ways we breed violence. Plant a child in a violence producing culture and you will get a violent adult. The opposite is also true. Plant a child in nurturing, affectionate, pleasurable rich soil and you get an empathic, intelligent and perhaps even a compassionate culture. I wonder how nurtured, playfully touched, and unconditionally accepted our pepper spraying officer was as a child?
In light of increasing militarized police activities, that I hope we have all been watching, I asked Howard if I could share the chapter in the Lucifer Principle focusing on Prescott’s works. He said yes, of course. Violence is easy and so natural. So are empathy, wisdom, real intelligence and compassion. Please see for yourself.
A personal note about current events and our kids…
Freedom and any form of democracy depend on you and I being informed. The Germans were well informed in 1933, but as you know, their information was cherry-picked, censored, opinion replaced facts.
After WWII the Nuremberg trials revealed how easily the entire population was misled by propaganda. When news is biased (censored or contains propaganda) people are misled. The Fairness Doctrine was established to prevent this from happening in the US. When Reagan, then followed by Clinton, eliminated the Fairness Doctrine religious-political-corporate opinion radio and other one-sided information streams that mimicked news formats emerged, similar to the way Infomercials mimicked documentaries.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. described how American’s are the most entertained (distracted), least informed people (by design) in the world. What he is saying is that in our era of tsunami floods of information much is intentionally misleading (censored or propaganda). Here is a great example of what this looks like.
The social, economic and yes political forces at work right now have a direct and lasting impact on our children and will for generations; on jobs, food, education, healthcare, retirement, the nature and quality of our local police, civil rights, free speech, the right to privacy, and as of today even ‘innocent until proven guilty’ is on the chopping block, replaced by ‘prolonged detention’ without charges, just suspicion. Back to the Inquisition?
Occupy Wall Street is shining a light on this and corporate-government-media is fighting back using its ‘play-book,’ ignore them, diversion, distraction, show them football and reality TV instead.
What can we do? Don’t rely only on talk radio and corporate media for news. Seek diverse, international news services available on the net. Read the talk by Kennedy. If there is an Occupy Movement in your town, bake some cookies, sit down and have a chat.
Egyptian security forces, their version of our man in blue, are now using a powerful incapacitating gas against civilian protesters in Tahrir Square casing multiple cases of unconsciousness and epileptic-like convulsions among those exposed. Yippee, more fun than pepper spray, bleeding from the lungs for more than 15 hours. Several deaths have been reported, something our kids can look forward to.