Monday, March 27, 2017
Aggression Part 2
Believing that aggression was learned, gives rise to the notion that aggression is commonplace and normal within our culture. Blockbuster or popular TV and films such as Mission Impossible, Wolverine, and Game of Thrones demonstrate the public’s interest. We loudly cheer when the good guy wins or slaughters his antagonist. Video games also depict destructiveness as well. Aggressive sporting events such as football, boxing, and car racing are also big revenue industries with plenty of fans witnessing brutality and death. The media over and over shows the gory details of death and destruction. Aggression is a major component in our society with plenty of rewards. There is no shortage of killing or incarceration. We lead the world in both. What is the ratio of aggression versus love as seen on our screens? Don’t forget the amount of verbal nastiness on today’s social media. Another explanation regarding aggression was that it was a response to anxiety; and that it often happened when an individual’s goal seeking behavior was blocked by some barrier. When man is threatened or afraid he becomes anxious as well. He can either fight or flee. Man is striving, seeking, desiring, willing, and has numerous goal driven behaviors. On man’s locomotion to complete the goals, he encounters various obstacles that can interfere and get in the way and block goal attainment. One emotional response to non-goal attainment is frustration. And when frustrated, man often acts out aggressively either verbally, physically or both. I remembered watching Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight, yelling and throwing chairs on the court during a basketball game. His inappropriate behavior was pretty consistent when things didn’t go his way. Superego, conscience, ethics, moral code and guilt are few of the internal mechanisms that can influence control over our impulses. Religion, laws, police, despots and the military are a few of the external devices devised by society in an effort to control behavior. Even though we have more “jails” and spend outrageous amounts of money on our criminal justice system, and have many weapons of mass destruction, we are like Sisyphus in that the problems of human aggression and atrocities just continue as we repeat the same old, not so effective, solutions. In essence, we are threatened by a world in which we created. If there is a God, now’s a good time to intervene. Depending on one’s theoretical framework and belief regarding the origin of aggression and anger, influences man’s attempt to deal with this component in our society. Better and more psychotherapy; a buildup of more police and laws actually following the various religious teachings are some strategies. “Thou shall not kill” etc. etc. would be a prudent start. In any event, we need to make better choices for change. The mood toward violence, malignant aggression, inhumanity towards man is toxic and contrary to the love of life. Man must make better decisions and choices if things are to change.