How do you think that we learn things? There is a lot of varied debate about how human beings acquire knowledge. Are we hard-wired, like machines, with a set of instructions? Or, is everything we learn a result of our environment?
The truth of the matter lies in a joining of theory.
We have innate behavior, the purpose of these behaviors lie in genetic and evolutionary survival. Our innate behavior must be nurtured through our environments, in order for it to be maintained. In situations where innate behavior is not reinforced in a given environment, the behavior stops being exhibited. BUT (this is the important part that's why it's capitalized) all behavior that a specific organism has the physical capabilities of learning, can be re-learned. That fact is important because it brings hope, and hope is fun.
Cool. We got it. Lots of potential and shit that makes us feel good about maybe solving problems. Now let's talk about empathy. I mentioned this in my last blog post, but I want to talk about it more in depth here, the Millenial generation is less empathetic than those before.
75% of college students in 2010 are less empathetic than the students of the 1980's, and this lowering of empathy is accompanied with higher reports of narcissism.
Empathy is important for retaining properly running social structures. Being able to empathize keeps us from totally destroying the people around us. Empathy means understanding (or at least trying to understand) why someone else (other than me, I, the great almighty) does, or feels something. If it were hard for me to understand that hurting another person effects them in the same way it would me it would be difficult to stop me, from say, killing them, because of a perceived slight. (I'm not going to murder anyone).
That's the evolutionary reason for empathy, we must continue the human race at all costs, by being nice to each other. All babies (save for those suffering from disorders) are born with the ability to empathize. This means, that we are unlearning empathy. Our environments are not reinforcing or nurturing empathetic behavior, particularly in the last decade.
What the fuck is up environment? Why don't you want me to like people? Why don't you want people to like me?! For one thing, in order to learn empathy we have to be in social situations, and we're not as much anymore. 27% of Americans live alone, and many Millenials have a difficult time navigating even just making friends. We just don't want to hang out, or do things, okay?! It's not a big deal, okay?! God.
Ahh, my big old buddy the internet. That big nuanced mass of information. While we can get closer through the internet (I'm writing this post on the internet obvi) we can also start to believe our opinions hold some great magnitude and the world owes it to us to respond to our every want and need (I'm writing this post on the internet obvi).
That inflated sense of self-importance is combined with a constant influx of horrific images, statistics, and violent pornography. All of this is brought to us, through a screen that acts like a safe third party; constantly detaching us from any concept of physical reality. This internet cocktail, when properly mixed, leaves people feeling dejected, angry, bitter, and generally shitty. Sort of just what a regular cocktail does to most members of my family. The things that we see online don't seem real, but they are, very real.
Maybe you had nurturing parents, who taught you the reasons behind scarred faces, and weather worn boots, and suitcases open on the streets with cardboard signs. Or maybe you had friends, that held out steady hands to you while tears wet your face and lap. But maybe, all you ever had was 4chan.
I'm not going to demonize a website. 4chan is a very interesting place. It is one of the only websites functioning that promotes complete anonymity. It disregards and even shits on, upholding an image. People can post on 4chan without worrying about social convention, and the jokes that are birthed from 4chan range from hilarious to existentialist in nature. The users are varied, and I think many of them are intelligent, funny, and important members of their communities.
It is also a place that people go to, because they have to be anonymous to voice their opinions. Their opinions are dangerous, are selfish, and are revolting. 4chan users see so much graphic content on the daily, they have a hard time being shocked by anything. It's not a thing that's happening to them, it's a joke. And it's weird that anyone would be upset by anything, when all of human existence becomes twiddled down into a meme. Who cares that the person in that video was actually killed? What does it matter that you want commit a mass murder? My life is the one life that matters. And these nameless people (with lovers, and parents, and broken homes now), are the reason that I'm having a bad time.
1 in 3 Americans own a gun. 3/4 of guns used in mass shootings between 1982-2012 were obtained legally. This means that these shooters managed to get a gun, despite the system in place that is supposed to ensure that doesn't happen. Guns don't just kill people in mass shootings however, 33,636 people died from gun violence in the United States in 2013.
18.5% of the American population is diagnosed with a mental illness, making us one of the most mentally ill countries in the world. We are also, one of the most heavily armed countries in the world. 21,175 people committed suicide by firearm in the year 2013. More successful suicides are committed by firearm than any other method employed.
No argument against gun control, justifies the loss of human life, at such staggering rates.
I live in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago has some of the strictest laws on gun usage in the country, and also some of the highest murder rates by firearm. This is because of gun trafficking, this happens very frequently in the city, from other parts of Illinois, and even from bordering states. Chicago has these laws in place, because of the incredible issue of violent crime in the city. Because there aren't federal gun control laws in place, these laws have done little to mitigate the situation. Federal laws are the only way to ensure that we no longer have to suffer violence from the barrel of a gun.
This is not a simple conversation. Guns are not the reason people kill others, or themselves, but they are the easiest and most efficient means to end life. We have to stop that in whatever way we can, that process starts with getting rid of guns.
Today, 31 people in this country, stood still. Metal flashed silver, in their gaping eyes. And now they won't ever stand again.
What did you think? Yes? No? Maybe next time? Comment and we can talk!