Martin Luther King Jr.
Angel Graffiti, Paris
| Violence & Socio-Cultural Shifts
The basic action needed at a socio-cultural level is change.
- Unmet Childhood Needs. We need to build babies not jails. To transform society, we need to attachment parent. Also see: (1) James Prescott article The Origins of Human Love and Violence and interview. (2) The Origins of Violence by Ronald Goldman, Ph.D.
- Connected to this is that we need Birth without Violence (a book by Frederick Leboyer), and yet we continue to birth violently. Also consider: 'The pioneering work of
Stanislav Grof has showed me the importance and the possibility of transforming
the roots of violence that lie subconsciously within all of us. These are often
associated with suppressed memories of birth, either vaginal or caesarean. In
his work, survivors of concentration camps found that memories of the physical
and psychological agonies they experienced in the camps were less intense than
memories of what they had experienced in birth. According to Grof, the
intensity of the pressure, pain, fear, suffocation, helplessness and rage, and
the physical pleasure, excitement and ecstasy experienced in vaginal birth is
the most intense thing a human ever experiences.' (Jane
Butterfield English, PhD, Physicist, Artist, Different Doorway, p.18)
- Connected to this and championed by Alice Miller,
we need to avoid beating, humiliating and abusing children in their
first few years of life, when their brains are being formed. Otherwise
we produce an adult society of self-harmers, addicts, the depressed or
mentally ill, delinquents, terrorists and warlike people. See here.
- Corporal punishment,
defined as physical punishment, needs to stop. Smacking of children as
a form of discipline is included in this and must stop. These methods
are associated with increased childhood and adult aggression,
antisocial behaviour, sexual violence, depression, low
self-esteem, etc. - see here and here. When dealing with misbehaviour, rather use the Three C's of Alfie Kohn, to get to the roots of the issue! Also see Instead of Spanking and End Corporal Punishment
by Peggy O'Mara. However, adults still need to maintain a calm,
assertive presence. I might still use physical methods during an
incident, if appropriate. This is not to punish, but rather to control
or regain control, and/or even protect other vulnerable people.
Physical restraint and methods sometimes have to be used for
out-of-control and/or asocial adults. Cesar Millan (dated 2015, accessed 24 April 2016) shows this in action in dogs: ‘It’s exactly what a mother dog will do to
correct her pups when they’re out of line — roll them on their backs and hold
them down until they submit. She isn’t trying to intimidate or coerce them,
though. She’s making a simple statement of fact: “I’m the one in charge here”...
a true leader will use whatever technique is necessary to maintain control, but
always from a place of love.’
- Sexism, bullying, hate speech, rape must become unacceptable.
- Curiosity and critical thinking must not be suppressed. Allow them!
- Be aware of your privileges. For example: male privilege, white privilege.
- Stand up for those less fortunate. For example: Mentors in Violence Protection.
- Be an ally of women. For example: V-Day/One Billion Rising or see here.
- Patriarchy must be dismantled. The gender war must stop. Guys, learn how to connect to women.
Not to be replaced by feminism, but by a fairer society, which would
undoubtedly embrace much of what feminism offers.
- Cultures need to be purified of certain practices.
Cultures can claim certain acts to be cultural and therefore
untouchable. For example: bullfighting in Spanish
culture; circumcision; female genital mutilation (see here and here). But surely we need to reframe these acts as violence and not culture??
- Religions need to be purged of violent foundations. For example, if you read a book like Nomad by
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, you can see how pervasive violence is as part of the
deep structure of Islam. It is so evident in family life and
particularly affects females and children. As I write elsewhere,
this required cleansing of religion implicates all religions. Also see
Alice Miller above. I see that violence can allow any ideological
structure to survive, but I also see that only Love will win...
- Role models must be positive. Consider the words of Meryl Streep in reference to Donald Trump: "This instinct to humiliate when it's modelled by
someone in the public platform by someone powerful, it filters down into
everybody's life. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence." (BBC, posted and accessed 9 January 2017)
- War needs to stop. War
needs to be regarded as a last resort, to be avoided. So many people
suffer in war: innocent children, the rape of women, the
exploitation of refugees. Let us practise tolerance and respect!
- Cooperation, NOT Competition! War and violence are partly rooted in competition for resources like food and territory - see here
(posted and accessed 18 September 2014). We need to create a world that
minimises competition for resources. One way forward is prioritising GNH over GDP.
- Guns surely
need to be somehow restricted? Good guys with guns is a fantasy, and
the macabre USA truth is that toddlers kill more than terrorists! (The Guardian, posted 13 March 2016, accessed 7 January 2017) If your country allows them, then
surely there needs to be extensive background checks? And a licence
that needs to be regularly renewed? Surely avoid the militarisation of
the police and the resultant arms race between police and criminals? Japan does this and has one of the lowest gun crime rates in the world. Read more: Gun Control; Strong Gun Laws Save Lives.
- We need to avoid the
ghettoisation of society - and more. We must realise it is abhorrent to
punish those who have been born into an underclass, if the privileged
and powerful [indeed all of us] take no responsibility for the system
that creates the underclass. See here and here. "People fail to get along because they fear each
other; they fear each other because they don't know each other; they don't know
each other because they have not communicated with each other." (Martin Luther
- Invest in Disadvantaged Communities. We must
invest in young people now - if we want them to be useful and positive
in society. The money is there, e.g. a posh UK boarding school costs
£30,000/year whilst UK Young Offender's Institute costs
£75,000/year. These young people are not inadequate. They are bright and powerful. Give them skills and self-belief. Turn these blighted communities into thriving communities. (See BBC, 8m26s onwards, posted and accessed 27 February 2019)
- Gang violence needs to be treated
as a community health issue rather than a crime problem. "What
if we were to invest in people rather than just mindlessly try and incarcerate
our way out of this problem?" Violence is "...the language of the despondent, of the traumatized, of the mentally ill".
a bullet like a job" handles about 80% of what needs to be
handled. The real work is in creating community, and transforming
the pain so you no longer need to transmit it. "If love is the answer,
community is the context, and tenderness is the methodology" (Father Greg Boyle adaptation, posted 25 September 2015, accessed 24 January 2018). Examples: Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles; Scotland's Violence Reduction Unit [BBC video].
- Teachable Moment & Violent Areas. People who live in violent areas can be greatly helped with the likes of San Francisco's The Wraparound Project.
It reduced the rate of violent re-injury by 72%. They talk of a 'teachable
moment' for 48 hours after a person is hospitalised due to being shot, stabbed
or assaulted. It is a critical time when support and lifestyle change can be
embraced. For example, one man who had been shot on three separate occasions
changed his lifestyle and moved out of the violent area (BBC posted 18 July 2017). It is also being introduced to the UK (BBC, posted and accessed 3 November 2017). We need more...
- Lead is a potent
neurotoxin that is linked to crime, especially violent crime. It
damages areas of the brain that control our impulses. In the 20th century, when
lead was removed from petrol and our environment, crime
levels dropped too. This phasing out of lead continues, which is
the socio-cultural shift required. But some countries continue to use
leaded petrol: Iraq, Yemen, Burma, North Korea. And many countries
still need to reduce lead smelting pollution, including India and
China (BBC & BBC, posted 21 April & 12 October 2014, both accessed 16 October 2014). In the USA, 95% of baby foods contain lead, arsenic, mercury or cadmium, with 25% containing all four toxins (HuffPost, posted 20, accessed 29 October 2019; petition). Canada 2019 water supply is contaminated by lead pipes. Why do we allow all this??...
Porn is linked to increased sexual violence. It puts people at
increased risk for commiting sexual offences and accepting rape myths
(Washington Examiner, posted 28 September 2017, accessed 4 October 2017). Let us teach (young) men how to relate to real-life women (not to digital women) - see Inner Game. Also see Male Sexual Problems.
- Drug Usage. (1) Demedicalise society. We need to
demedicalise society, avoid drugs, especially those known to increase
violence. For example, modern widely-used antidepressant use is linked
to increases in violent behaviour (Healy et al., 2006, 'Antidepressants
and violence: problems at the interface of medicine and law', PLoS Medicine, vol. 3, pp. 1478-83). (2) Stop the war on drugs. It fuels violence - see here.
It has created more drug users, more organised crime, more death, more
prisoners, and it funds terrorism. The money saved can then
rehabilitate drug users. (3) See 'Spiritualise' below.
- Alcohol is a common
drug. Excessive consumption of alcohol is associated with violent
crime. In over half of all violent crime incidents in England and Wales
2013-2014, the victim believed the perpetrator was drunk (Office for National Statistics cited by BBC, posted and accessed 26 March 2016).
Can we make this planet a happier place, so we don't have to resort to
alcohol to block our pain and displace it onto others? We must build babies, not jails.
- Brain Injury. 'Experts say that any Traumatic Brain Injury
(TBI) can cause a person to experience problems dealing with their emotions,
forming and keeping memories and... controlling impulses. Often the individual
also becomes more aggressive. By some estimates a TBI will double your risk of
ending up in prison, but one respected Swedish study, which collected and
analysed data over a 35-year period, found that people with a TBI were four
times more likely to be jailed than the rest of the population. Research by
neuropsychologist Dr Ivan Pitman for the Disabilities Trust suggests that about
half of the UK's adult male prison population may have suffered a brain injury.' TBI's
possible impact on aggression must be widely recognised. Brain injury
rehabilitation needs to be vastly increased. This not only speeds
personal recovery but will also prevent crime and reduce the cost of
community care. (BBC, posted and accessed 10 October 2018)
- The likes of MMA (Mixed
Martial Arts) or Judo are surely better than Street Fighting or War?
These sports can channel the intense energies of aggressive or somewhat
damaged people - see here or here or here. However, unlike Ronda Rousey,
I do NOT think it will solve USA's mass shootings, as disturbed and
hardened criminals do NOT want a fair fight, like MMA or Judo - they
are into asocial violence,
where there are no rules, no referee to step in when injury happens.
Where we must make a shift is in preventing the young naturally-loving
brain from becoming excessively aggressive or even asocial. Again, surely we must build babies, not jails?
- Can we change to a
Self-Regulating Society? Linked to the last entry (above), there has
been the suggestion that our new MMA-trained generation will
lead NOT to excessively violent societies, but rather give rise to a peaceful self-regulating society.
I do not see this because: (1) it takes too long to be a well-rounded
mixed martial artist, and it is very hard work; (2) of the risk of brain injury, with lifelong consequences for physical and mental health; (3) the asocial
psychopath does not play by the rules; (4) it is competitive. What
could quickly produce a self-regulating society would be a society that
teaches the likes of Target Focus Training:
(1) capable of being easily and sufficiently learned in only a few days by
almost everyone; (2) which is very safe to learn; (3) that does not play by the rules; (4) where peace is the purpose. However, in the long run, I do feel that only a Culture of Love will produce a self-regulating society.
- Animal Cruelty. There is a definite link between animal cruelty and human cruelty (like child abuse and domestic violence). For example: 'Upwards of 86% of the people that abuse animals abuse
people! 90% of the abusers already have a criminal record!' (Causes petition, accessed 10 June 2013) When
we consider that societies blindly accept this on a huge scale, we can
conclude there needs to be massive change. Examples include: Grand National horse race (UK), bullfighting (Spain), Yulin dog meat festival (China), whale research (Japan),
meat eating ("civilised" world), animal experimentation (science),
etc. We even teach children that animal cruelty is 'fun' with the likes of 'pig scrambles'. Unless we stop animal cruelty at a national and cultural level,
how can we expect individuals to see animal cruelty as unacceptable?
Its continuance is perpetuating not only animal cruelty, but also human
cruelty and violence.
- Police Numbers.Until
many of the issues herein are resolved, there is no sense reducing
the number of police. However, the UK has been cutting police numbers
and the PM denies any link between this and increased knife crime. On
the other hand, the top UK police officer Cressida Dick said (cited at BBC, posted and accessed 5 March 2019): "I agree that there is some link between
violent crime on the streets obviously and police numbers, of course there is,
and everybody would see that."
- Spiritualise. In our materialist society,
there develops a spiritual void. Then drugs are taken to
compensate. Violence spirals out of control - see 'Drug Usage' above. Rather, we need spiritual or sacred lifestyles.
- Children & Meditation/Relaxation.
"If every eight-year-old in the world is taught meditation, the world
will be without violence within one generation." (Dalai Lama) But, as this article warns,
it is not a quick fix, it is not a 'Buddha pill'. And meditation can be
misused. It needs to be part of right living, like alongside loving a high ideal.
The skill of relaxation is rarely taught to children; I believe it is far
more important than so-called core subjects; it allows kids
to slow down, manage anger, see clearly, make better decisions - see here.
- Group Meditation. We need to have specialist peace meditators all around the world. The
World Peace Group (accessed 13 April 2017) says: ‘Scientific research shows beyond any shadow of a doubt
that certain types of specialist meditators, when grouped together in one
place, radiate an influence of peace and tranquility to the surrounding
population. When this happens open warfare
and fighting stops within a day, terrorism
evaporates, crime trends
decline, domestic and international
harmony improves... The effect is spontaneous, immediate and systematic. Furthermore
it does not rely on any form of social, political or diplomatic interaction
between the meditating group and the effected community. The influence is
created by just a small group of these meditators equivalent to a tiny fraction
of the number in the rest of the population. This powerful and invisible effect
has been documented dozens of times in fifty
research studies (watch video) and is
now known as the Super Radiance effect...
The aim of the World Peace Group is to create a global Super Radiance effect
by collecting together as many of these experts as we can and pay them to
meditate in a group on a daily basis.’
- Inequality. Inequality is at a record high on Earth. Inequality in a capitalist system =
discontent, as few actually become wealthy = a police state or
revolution = violence is inevitable. (See 'The Super-Rich and Us', Part 2 of 2, first aired on BBC, 2015) UK knife crime most linked to poverty (BBC, posted and accessed 12 November 2018). Also see here.
Poverty - like inequality - drives violence. For example, on UK knife
crime: "It is not a black and minority ethnic [BME] communities
problem. It's a societal problem. So whilst it might be impacting on
the BME communities the most - when we look at the root causes -
poverty drives knife crime and violence. That's what fuels it. Poverty,
lack of opportunity and inequality." (Ros Griffiths, Southside Young Leaders Academy, BBC, 0m45s, posted and accessed 27 February 2019)
in Education. If we continue with schools, it is
essential that self-help systems are prioritised above all academic
subjects. For example, when domestic abusers were briefly taught anger
and behaviour management skills, subsequent abuse was cut by a third (BBC, posted and accessed 31 October 2017).
Now imagine if a nation prioritised these sorts of skills!
- Expression. To reduce violence, youth need an outlet to voice and express themselves, says film star Naomie Harris.
For example, drama allows children to get on stage and express the
feelings they can't express in daily life. Sadly, arts funding seems to
continually being slashed.
- Educate men on Inner Game and Outer Game.
Why? Because violence is linked to sexual frustration. There is a courtship process
laid down by evolution of which men are apparently ignorant.
These communication skills or tools are more valuable to society than
- Sanitation and Clean Water. Sexual assault and violence on women is very high in areas where there is poor sanitation and difficult access to clean water (e.g. see here).
This is a matter for everyone, every country, especially the Rich World. As a matter of immense urgency, we need
to ensure these human rights are in place everywhere. Do it already! Build sewage systems not
The non-water part of the brain is 60% fat. It is built on fat even if
its fuel is glucose. This means healthy fats are crucial for brain
health. But since fat was demonised in the early 1970s, fat has been
greatly reduced in people's diets. Mental health issues have greatly increased
in the same period. This includes violence arising from mental health
issues. Maybe we need to reduce the added sugars that substituted for
the fat - and return to a diet plentiful in healthy fats?
We need to stop high-rise buildings and concrete coldness. We
need beautiful places for all humans. Nature connection is so