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 anxiety, irrationality, destruction, greed, fear, intolerance, abuse, hate, deceit, cruelty, addiction, violence, perversity, contempt for life.

Except for fear and greed, which are innate survival traits, the behaviors listed above are abnormal manifestations of human nature because nobody – absolutely nobody is born with them. These behaviors are learned, instigated, carved into us, especially during our impressionable formative years and oftentimes without intent, 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, insecurities, beliefs, fears, hates, of others.

Punishment will not change these behaviors in us. It is a copout to think that imprisonment, torture, humiliation, degradation, can change behaviors deeply rooted in our humanity and that have already annihilated our benevolence and rationality. Instead, punishment exacerbates and makes them stronger.

In the short term, either by deceit or true intent, we may give the appearance to be changing under punishment, but the insidiousness of these behaviors requires an almost inhuman effort to prevail, 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 ancient cultural imprinting.

When people commit crimes out of hate, for instance, they are innocent in the sense that when they were born there was not a hint of hate in them – hate was instilled later in life during their upbringing, institutionalized as it is by cultural paradigms that are soaked in dogma and incite division, intolerance, and an abhorrent contempt for Life. These behaviors will not change unless we look, not at the individual, but as our paradigms as their source.

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

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