218 – The Power of the Human Mind (Part I) …

It is uncanny to witness the power of the human mind to lead us astray into behaviors dominated by irrationality, destructiveness, greed, fear, intolerance, abuse, hate, deceit, cruelty, addiction, violence, perversity, contempt for life.

Except for fear, greed, and deceit which are innate survival traits, the behaviors listed above are abnormal manifestations of human nature, because nobody is born with them. These behaviors are learned, instigated, or carved into us, especially during our formative years, in such a way that they come to dominate not only our personality but our humanity. Once subjugated, we are robbed of our capacity to act of our own free will and become instead the perpetrators of someone else’s will. We lose ourselves under the illusion that we are acting of our own volition when instead we are beguiled by the prejudices, beliefs, and fears of others.

Punishment will not change these behaviors. It is a copout to think that imprisonment, torture, and humiliation can change behaviors that are deeply rooted in our humanity annihilating our benevolence and rationality. Instead, punishment exacerbates and makes them stronger. We may deceitfully give the appearance to be changing under punishment, but the insidiousness of abnormal behaviors requires an almost inhuman effort to overcome, especially, as is usually the case, when the individual is under environmental, societal, family, or economic stress. This is the main reason why recidivism is so prevalent in the incarcerated, the addict, the oppressor.

The only way abnormal behaviors can be changed is by acknowledging their roots – by accepting the fact that they are the result of cultural imprinting.

When people commit crimes out of hate, for instance, they are innocent in the sense that they were born without a hint of the hate that was carved into them – institutionalized as it is by cultural paradigms soaked in dogmas of intolerance and an abhorrent contempt for Life. These behaviors will not change unless we look not at the individual but at the paradigms from which they ensue.

Do remember this when judging others, because we, the privileged ones, to some degree or another, perpetuate these paradigms.

Revised January 2022

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