I would add another value to Freud’s list of values. It’s about inflicting and/or receiving pain. Sado- social masochism or self-abasement dynamics is a present-day value. Another way of describing or referring to this dynamic is the “bully versus victim.” This is when we have an aggressor who inflicts psychological or physical pain on another human. This means we have an aggressive individual or individuals that attacks, flights, injures, kills or punishes another. A victim or the object of the aggressor can be characterized as experiencing [being hurt, accepting injury, blame, criticism, punishment; admitting defeat; being blamed , belittled or mutilating the self; enjoying pain, punishment or misfortune.]. Some might question this concept as a value. So I will explain, as best I can, these interactive behaviors. One can’t be an aggressor without someone being a victim.
Our country continues to fund the largest military in the world. We spend more for defense on our budget than many countries combined. We have been at war for over 10 years in the Middle East. If you pay attention to the media, you know that we are about to be attacked, blown up or be killed by the dangerous world of terrorists. We build and have more of the biggest weapons of mass destruction than any other country. On the home front, individuals in this country under the guise of the Second Amendment, have more guns and ammunition than any other part of the world. And the great amount of guns purchased are not used for hunting, but for self-protection, hurting or killing somebody else. Yes, we have home grown terrorists too.
Moreover, a young man can join the Marines to be one of the “few and proud” to wear that prestigious uniform. One can also expect to come back from any number of combat missions physically and/or emotionally injured or even in a body bag. Yes, military combat veterans have a high unemployment, and suicide rate too. One could also enter law enforcement and be subjected to social criticism, dangerous confrontations and even death on the job. Yes, law enforcement veterans have a high suicide rate too. One could enter high school sports and expect the coach to yell, belittle, criticize, or even demote, because of play at practice or during game time. Of course, at the college or professional level one becomes injured more often than not, as well as receiving significant head injuries or concussions. And we all know that the NFL means “not for long.” Just think of the number of sporting venues available like Cross Fit, judo, or other martial arts forums, soccer, rugby, etc. where an individual can easily experience one way or the other physical and/or emotional injury.
Just watch any TV reality show and view, in front of all, “being fired,” eliminated from the show by “a judge,” or by not receiving enough of the secret votes made by the public. These popular shows, for the most part, do not express vicious verbal attacks to their victims. But make no mistake about it, there’s criticism and belittling. The messages is that you’re not good enough. It seems that we have more and more reality shows where individuals surrender, resigned to take the punishment, and accepting the shows negative in full view consequences. Underneath the demure of many, one can find psychological pain and feelings of hurt. And the sadistic viewing public cannot seem to get enough viewing or watching individuals being rejected in some cases humiliated or being kicked off or eliminated from these programs. Plus, there are no shortage of individuals wanting to take part in this public display of self-abasement.
There many other examples or illustrations of individuals experiencing pain in unhealthy situations. There are numerous companies that employ sadistic supervisors along with stressful working conditions. A recent article illustrated problems of Amazon employees with their difficulty in adapting to this competitive cutthroat work environment. These employees experienced physical as well as emotional illnesses that they attributed to the work situation. Amazon is only one such example of this phenomena as there are many more.
Many family situations are illustrative of emotional and physical pain. It might be physical or sexual abuse and/or juvenile delinquency behaviors being expressed by those unfortunate. It might be drugs or alcohol as part of the family and/or environmental culture. Certainly, the divorce rate is high in our country as many such individuals, partner up for the wrong reasons. Mental cruelty has been used in many a divorce case. Just ask a divorce attorney about reasons for divorce and you find mental cruelty being used indiscriminately.
We can expect to be abused, criticized, blamed, punished, put down and subject to misfortune at home, at work, and even at play by someone. Even President Obama got criticized and, in fact, was called a liar by one uncouth and disrespectful so-called lawmaker during a presidential talk to Congress during his first term. He also gets death threats and other unpleasant, derogatory messages. The unregulated social media is abound with hostile, angry, insecure individuals spreading their hate and vile messages. There have been some victims that have even committed suicide as related to vicious social media bullying. It is perfectly clear that the Golden Rule was intended to mean treat others in a positive way as you would expect them to treat you and not treat others negatively because they’re treating you negatively. Treating people civilly is a great idea, but certainly lacking. We have an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality.
This is my view of our contemporary society. And the word value is very appropriate for our discussion. In fact, The American College Dictionary defines value as: the things of social life toward which the people of the group have an affective regard; and values may be positive or negative.