Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Winners and Losers in Society

Increasingly, crimes in recent years are the kind we don't like to talk about, but a psychologist has recently done just that in the Bible & Life magazine. He discusses what he believes is involved in these horrible, indiscriminate killings.

Traditionally, crimes of anger have been understood as the result of a personal  grudge against another, with the intention of keeping the crime as private as possible. However, the crimes the writer brings to our attention are the kind that the perpetrator wants everyone to know about. Since the victims are randomly chosen and the motivation is not clear, it creates a climate of fear throughout society. Those who have studied these cases believe these crimes are motivated by a deep-seated anger directed toward society and the world in general.

Why do some people have so much hate? According to the psychologist, it's because of the recurrent failure and frustration they have experienced in life, perhaps stemming from the importance placed on winning in our competitive society. And it does not involve achieving any one particular goal; winning in whatever competition one is in, it is believed, will determine whether we succeed or fail in life. We also fear to lose because of the embarrassment of not measuring up to expectations, our own and that of others, knowing that everyone close to them will know, and that their chances of having a successful career will be diminished.

He tells us that on average, 210 students drop out of school daily, and 41 kill themselves every day. An obvious sign, he says, that something is wrong in society and that steps need to be taken to correct the situation. The way to do this is not going to be easy, and may not be acceptable to those who have the ability to adapt to this unhealthy system. But to label as losers those who can't adapt, he says, is not the proper way of seeing the problem.

Those who are able to adapt to the system we have created  are not necessarily the healthy ones, nor are those who have problems with what we have created necessarily the unhealthy ones. Rather, all  should not only strive for good scores but enjoy the pursuit of learning, focusing on the process more than the results of the competition.

In every competitive society there are the so-called winners and losers. Though winners are on top of the competitive ladder, and the losers at the bottom, they do have something in common: both have their eyes on what others are doing to succeed, and on societal expectations. Winning, one feels superior; losing, the other feels inferior. But both fail to understand the nature of true happiness.

The anger that many feel, if not addressed by society, has the possibility of finding an outlet in ways that are not healthy. The situation is not easily dealt with since many often do not know the reason for their explosive anger, which has slowly built up over the years.  And the reason for this, the psychologist says, is that they have accepted the rules of a dysfunctional game.  They are not conscious that they have accepted these so-called rules of life. This perception of reality, received from parents, school, the media, and friends, these rules have become part of who they think they are. Who is responsible for this kind of thinking, unknowingly accepted by many? All of us.

1 comment:

  1. You guys are prolific, a post a day and great ones at that. Reading from Australia and loving every word.