Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hate and Prejudice Part 2

Since 9/11, we have a new group to discriminate against, and that being individuals of the Muslim faith. I will make two points regarding this problem. One can easily hold, in their head, negative or detesting attitudes or sentiments toward members of groups perceived different than them. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Ellis wrote about man as a thinking, perceiving, feeling and doing animal. And therefore believed our feelings are influenced by how we think and what we think. If we hold a negative attitude or sentiment about someone; that’s related to our perception, thinking and thought process. Can our thinking be influenced by rhetoric or teachings? Of course, we can be taught and learn irrational, prejudicial and hateful messages. A political campaign attempts to change attitudes or sentiments about their nominee and/or about their opposition. Neurologically, we are wired to perceive differences or danger within the first year of life {survival}. Babies respond” fearfully” in the Amygdala of their brain to differences, strangers etc. Psychologically, Erikson, in his psychosocial model, theorized about the first task of the infant, which is the ability to develop Basic Trust. If unsuccessful, then the groundwork for Basic Mistrust {fear} is developed. Erickson provides clinical insight about the ease of feeding, the depth of sleep and the relaxation of the infant’s bowels as being able to demonstrate the development of social trust or social mistrust. This dynamic is the ground work for future interpersonal relationships, the many subsequent meetings of significant people within the infant’s life space. Does the individual experience an inner comfort or discomfort when confronted with “different” people in various situations during one’s lifetime? These ideas suggest that a mistrustful or fearful individual are more vulnerable and more likely to develop prejudicial or hateful attitudes and sentiments. And if this is so, then these individuals tend to be more likely to be influenced by negative, hateful, despicable rhetoric. So if we teach hate and prejudice, we learn it and then, we are more likely to experience such in our communities, culture, and life space.

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