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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 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.’
  • 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 King Jr.)
  • Sexism, bullying, rape must become unacceptable.
  • 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. Demedicalise society.
  • 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??
  • 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)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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!  
  • 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.
  • 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. See here and here (both accessed 16 October 2014)
  • Drug Usage. 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)
  • 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
  • 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. 
  • Children & Meditation. "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 loving a high ideal.
  • 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 evaporatescrime 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.’
  • Pornography. Porn is linked to increased sexual violence. It puts people at increased risk for commiting sexual offences and accepting rape myths. See 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
  • Self-Help 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!
  • 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 academic work!
  • 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 walls!!
  • 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)
  • 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...
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