Photo by Loren Joseph on Unsplash

Born to be good

by | Feb 10, 2018 | Articles, Healing | 0 comments

There is an ideology out there, a belief, that deep inside humans there is a raging, violent, primitive, evil, beast. This belief has been around as long as the Catholic Church, which tells us that we have “original sin” deep inside, but institutionalized religion is not the only place you find this. You find it in esoteric teachings that suggest we have an “animal nature” that we must tame, as in the Golden Dawn Fool tarot card which shows an innocent “Aryan” male who has “tamed the beast” and can now pick a golden fruit, presumably from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Sigmund Freud gave academic credibility to the ideology when he postulated the primitive Id. Carl Jung spoke of the “shadow” and the animus. Others do the same. You don’t have to go very far to find this belief that we all have a “dark side” deep inside, and that consequently, we have to control it, evolve out of it, graduate through it, or otherwise find some way to get over it.

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As it turns out though, the idea that we have evil inside is just not true. As psychologist Dacher Keltner points out, we are, in fact, born to be good. At the core of our being are things like love, compassion, morality, and empathy and not hatred, avarice, anger, and violence. And there is lots of evidence to prove it. If you are in Canada, you can view the CBC documentary “Born to be good.” If not, you can read Dacher’s book (link to the side).

Of course, reading the above statement, you may have your doubts. Just look at the world “as it is” and you can see there is lots of violence, hatred, greed, and war. If humans are born to be good, and there isn’t any “id,” shadow, or dark side inside, where does all that hatred come from?

Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

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The answer to that is easy. What we call Toxic Socialization damages the human body and mind and creates, through a process of violence and neglect, an angry, defensive, and diminished human. It creates, as in the wonderful song by Bruce Cockburn, Fascist architecture, or personality and emotional structures filled with negativity and hatred. Once the angry and defensive human is created, it goes on to reproduce the violence in its own life, and with its children, thereby creating even more damaged and defensive human beings. It is a cycle of unending descent that, as anybody who is paying attention to what’s happening in the world today can see, takes us all on a roller coaster ride that descends ever further and further into the flames of chaos, global violence, and darkness. You do not have to be a historian or a prophet to see what happens when too many people emerge from toxic socialization with fascist architecture. It might be frightening to consider, but it doesn’t have to end that way again.

Fascist Architecture

So what are you gonna do?

In our view, the solution to the problem is simple, at least in theory. Instead of suppressing the good that inside through a process of toxic socialization, replace toxic socialization with a healthy socialization process so the true potential of the human being can come shining through. Of course, while it is easy to say we should just end toxic socialization, it is not so easy to implement. That’s because toxic socialization is not just a problem in the home, it is a problem at school where even teachers can do damage (Sosteric, 2012), at work, in our social lives, and even in our current economies, which I would argue are pathological and predatorily by nature (Sharp, 2016). If we are to engage a real, long-term solution, we are talking about a global revolution.

It might sound utopian, but we’re already taking big baby steps in the general direction. The power of the #metoo and #soistayed movements is a testament to how much power can be martialed at the grassroots to quickly changes things for the better. In an instant, the collective becomes aware of one aspect of the toxic socialization process. In an instant, the collective issues a challenge. In an instant, powerful forces make an unstoppable demand for change. And the change seems to be happening. If we don’t stop, if we keep pushing, if you don’t let it get shut down again, there is hope for changing the world.

Of course, you should not have to wait for revelatory forces to expose the toxicity in your own life, or revolutionary forces to transform this world. You can change things right now, at least in your home. It is not the hard, at least in theory. In our view, the foundation of toxic socialization is violence in all its forms. So, to end toxic socialization in your home, end all forms of violence, like we did. In our home, violence of any form is disallowed. This means no physical violence, no emotional violence, no psychological violence, and no spiritual violence. Nobody is allowed to hit, hurt, talk down to, use a “tone,” or otherwise engage in an aggressive act. We’re not perfect of course and we all express frustration and anger sometimes, but even minor acts of verbal aggression are not tolerated. Transgressions are instantly identified by someone one, and the transgressor is instantly accountable. And note, no one is punished for breaking the rules. Punishment is just a euphemism for violence, and “justice” is just its excuse.  Adults and children who break the rule are simply reminded and gently discouraged. Remember, no violence means no violence. Just because you are a parent, just because you are in a position of authority, doesn’t give you the right assault others. Violence is violence no what word you use to describe it.

And what about all the people out there damaged and diminished by this planet’s toxic socialization process? We have some ideas about how to go about healing in our PSST HEALING framework, which we’ll get to soon enough. For now, if you want to work against the development of fascist psychological architecture, if you want to let the natural good inside come shining through, institute a no violence rule, at the very least in your home space. If you want to step off the “roller coaster to hell” we all seem to be riding, this is the very first step.

Further Reading

References

Sharp, M. (2016). The Rocket Scientists’ Guide to Money and the Economy: Accumulation and Debt. St Albert, Alberta: Lightning Path Press.

Sosteric, M. (2012). The emotional abuse of our children: Teachers, schools, and the sanctioned violence of our modern institutions. The Socjourn, March.

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