Actually I got an email from Andy, with a couple of links:
I thought I’d pass on these observations I’ve found for you to consider, ponder and maybe even comment on.
The first is from Alice Miller, and comes from her website:
http://www.alice-miller.com/flyers_en.php?page=3 (the 12 points)
The second is from a search of wikipedia for the psychology of torture:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychology_of_torture specifically this quote:
“It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering.” Judith Herman
Thanks, Andy. As far as my thoughts, the first link, to Alice Miller’s “the Roots of Violence”, I’m not sure I completely agree with. She paints a very utopian picture at the end of a world in which all violence is utterly unthinkable because all children have had a good upbringing. Not only does the realist in me think that’s ridiculous, but I also think it’s a very dangerous way to think. Blaming all of the world’s violence on poor childhoods provides too easy an excuse for people to not take responsibility for their own actions. If I were to do something violent, it would be because I chose to do that, as an adult, right now. It would not be because somewhere in my childhood that’s how I learned to act, nor should anyone allow me to use that as an excuse.
Besides, I really do think that there is some violence that is inherent in the human condition and always will be, even with the best of childhoods. Children are not the completely innocent angels of Alice Miller’s world, only corrupted by the discipline of their parents, they are fallible and prone to selfishness, just as adults are.
The second link is an interesting area of research, and I think the quote is also an interesting one. It is always easier to not know something than it is to acknowledge it and thus have to do something about it.
Interestingly enough, I think that tendency is also human nature, but a nature that can be overcome if we choose to.