Monday, 13 January 2014

A tide of horror

I find the constant tide of violence and brutality and callousness pouring out of the world's media quite over-whelming at times.

I can only cope with it by siphoning off my emotions into some dark part of myself where they gradually dribble away and disappear.

If I allowed my feelings free rein, if I allowed the full weight of sadness and despair and sorrow to wash through me, I would soon be an emotional wreck.

I'm beyond shocked at the depraved and deranged things that human beings do to each other, apparently without a shred of remorse or guilt or self-loathing.

I'm endlessly amazed at those dogged individuals who still get up each day with a sense of optimism and self-belief despite years of harsh and degrading treatment. The Nelson Mandelas and Natascha Kampusches* of this world. And all those we've never heard of at all.

I can't share the cynicism and indifference of those people who shrug their shoulders, tell you it's just the way of the world and carry on with their daily activities as if it wasn't rape and slaughter they were responding to but a minor kitchen spillage.

And I cringe at all those governments that throw their hands up in horror but so often are unable to halt the barbarities going on in their country day in and day out.

We are not born violent and cruel. We are not born wanting to spill blood and spread terror. How does a child's tenderness get so casually crushed and replaced by something so malevolent?

* Natascha Kampusch was held in a secret cellar in Vienna by her kidnapper Wolfgang Priklopil for more than eight years


  1. Unfortunately we ARE animals and animals kill and maim as much as humans do.....

  2. I do hear what you are saying, Nick, but I am afraid I don't believe that we do not want to do bad things. Even children can be very cruel. It's part of the human condition. Which doesn't make it any better. It is hard to detach ourselves, very hard.

  3. Even though we have made amazing advances in technology, I'm afraid humans haven't changed much. Prehistoric man probably clubbed his fellow man. Nowadays he just has more weapons to chose from. Also some people are just born plain nasty.

  4. I'm afraid I do just shrug my shoulders as a defense mechanism. If I focused so much on the evils of the world, I'd be too depressed to function.

  5. Goodness, you're a hard-boiled bunch!

    John: Yes, but animals don't do it on the same colossal scale, and not with the same deliberate sadism and viciousness.

    Jenny: I don't think children start off cruel, but within a very short time they're exposed to numerous examples of other people's cruelty.

  6. Bonsaimum: True about more weapons to choose from. It's so easy to get hold of guns, knives, poison, you name it. Plus of course all those enormous government arsenals.

    Bijoux: That's very phlegmatic of you! But yes, if you dwelt on it all too much, it would paralyse you.

  7. Actually, I think I disagree with you on this. Oh, not on the horror and the effect it has on one's soul and mental well-being, because I'm exactly the same as you there, but on the fact that nobody is born cruel and violent.

    I think some people ARE born cruel and can easily become violent. I think a lot of children show signs of great cruelty before they are taught compassion and ethics by their parents. Sadly, some of these children do not have compassionate and ethical parents ... and then they go on to have children themselves and the cycle continues.

    There are cases of severe psychological damage (often caused by emotional deprivation as children) and there are also cases where a person's brain might quite simply be 'wired' badly, in the same way that they can be born with twisted legs or malfunctioning heart. We all know how devastating 'bad wiring' can be when it results in disorders like autism, but it can also result in a total lack of empathy: an inability to relate to others' pain, or to see the world as anything other than how it relates to oneself.

    I have always regarded extremely violent, fanatical, cruel or aggressive people as mentally disturbed, and mental illness is not always fixable. To me, it is simply not sane to hurt people or animals for the sake of it or to gratify one's own desires with no thought to their own comfort or safety.

  8. Judy: Hmmm. I guess I'm generalising too much - yet again. Yes, although most children aren't born cruel, there clearly are some who are quite warped from the word go, and all attempts to change them are in vain.

    And as you say, if cruel children have cruel parents, then probably they'll just stay that way into adulthood.

  9. I wonder how much behaviour reflects on Home training?

  10. Grannymar: Home training? You mean how children are brought up? I'm sure a lot depends on that. Some parents let their children get away with appalling behaviour.

  11. I often deliberately hide form the news. I hear enough personal horror stories in my work every day that I can't bear to add on the horrors of the world. It's too much.

    But I do think everyone, without exception, is capable of goodness and wickedness, given the "right" circumstances.

  12. Nick:

    What SAW said, If people think they can get away with it they will.

    I remember a shaman telling us one time that we all had a little Paul Bernardo within us. He was a notorious rapist/killer in Toronto.

    And what are the stats again about rape? Something like 80% of men will rape if they think they will get away with it.

    I too have heard of so much evil from its victims. Usually the perpetrators are pillars of society.

    Boogie men are fantasies.


  13. I'm afraid nature, including human nature, can seem very cruel to us at times. Have you ever seen the TV series Planet Earth?

    So why focus on all the things we don't like? Why not be grateful that people can also be kind and compassionate? And, of course, do what we can to make our corner of the world more the way we would like it to be.

  14. Agent: I agree that people's personal circumstances are a crucial factor in making us nice or nasty. We're all much more malleable than we like to think.

    www: I think that rape statistic is a good example of how people are conditioned by their upbringing and by peer pressure. How many little boys have a natural urge to rape little girls? None. But somewhere along the line their minds are corrupted.

    As you say, it's often the pillars of society who turn out to be thoroughly despicable. As we're seeing in all the sexual abuse cases in England right now.

  15. Jean: Nature can be very cruel, usually because animals have to do cruel things to survive. But humans so often do cruel things purely for the sake of it, even because they enjoy the cruelty. We're a pretty sick species.

    But yes, like you I try to focus on the positive things in life and do my tiny bit to make the world a better place.

  16. I can't go where some of your commentators have gone, Nick. Would take up too much space.

    To pick up on one point you mention: That of 'sexual abuse' cases. What is this shit? I just listened to the news (Radio 4): Why (serious question) does it occur to a woman more than fourty years on to malign someone? What's the purpose? WHAT IS THE PURPOSE? I don't get it.

    You opened your legs when you knew no better. NOW you are milking it for all it's worth. Make old men bleed. Disgusting.


  17. Do you think humans are the only sick species? You might want to watch the Planet Earth scene where one band of chimps raid another band. They manage to steal a baby and eat it.

    And have you ever seen a chicken with a bloody head because it was at the bottom of the pecking order? This was in a chicken yard with plenty of food for all --- it's about more than getting food to survive.

  18. Ursula: You're right, accusing someone after 40 years seems rather odd. I do wonder what the hidden agenda might be.

    Jean: Okay, you've convinced me, animals can do some pretty sick things too. Even so, not on the scale that human beings are capable of, with whole countries raining bombs on other countries.

  19. We are supposed to know better than animals....

  20. Helen: But clearly there's a serious defect in a species that thinks nothing of invading another country and bombing, burning and raping its inhabitants.

  21. You, I and I would imagine, all your commentators are what is known as the middle class. Over a couple of centuries or so, this class has become insulated from the real world where the top most small part of the pyramid and the vast majority at the bottom of the pyramid, have different value systems than ours. Just look at the stuff that the rich get away with while the media keeps hammering at the stuff that the lower classes indulge in.

    I am not appalled. I am just realistic enough to accept that my values are not acceptable to those in the other two classes and leave them to their devices.

  22. Ramana: At the end of the day, leaving them to their own devices is about all we can do. The politicians seem incapable of creating greater income equality, however much pressure the public put on them.