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Old 01-27-2005, 05:15 AM   #1
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Violence

I read an amazing book last term called Violence by Dr. James Gilligan (MD, not PhD). He was for much of his career the director of mental health for the MA prison system, and spent his career working with violent men who had committed the worst imaginable types of crimes--rape, muder, mutilation. You get the picture, and if you don't, see "Silence of the Lambs". He kept asking WHY? Why do men (and it was 99.9% of the time men) do this? And why so much more in America than in any other developed nation in the world? I was fascinated by his thoughts on violence, and so I'm sharing them with ya'll to discuss?

A few quotes:

Violence, he argues, is a search for justice (however ineffective, irrational): “All violence is an attempt to achieve justice” (11)

”’Condemning’ violence is as irrelevant as it would be to ‘condemn’ cancer or heart disease” (25) This is because determining if the crime was "right" or "wrong" is useless. Of course it's wrong. The useful question, WHY did it happen and how to prevent it.

“I am convinced that violent behavior, even at its most apparently senseless, incomprehensible, and psychotic, is an understandable response to an identifiable, specifiable set of conditions; and that even when it seems motivated by “rational” self-interest, it is the end product of a series of irrational, self-destructive, and unconscious motives that can be studied, identified and understood” (102)

›”Downward social mobility, unemployment, and homelessness are among the most potent stimuli of shame, and are a key to the politics of violence” (67)

›“….a perceived threat to the integrity of a person’s culture is perceived as a threat to the integrity and survival of the individual’s personality or character, and to the viability of one’s ethical value system which is a central and essential component of both personality and culture, and is what most intimately links the self and its culture, the culture and its selves. That is why the death of one’s culture is tantamount to the death of one’s self” (97)

“If one adds to all those the deaths cause by structural violence…which produces far more deaths than all of the previously mentioned categories combined, one begins to see why any theory of violence, if it is to deal at all with the medical reality involved, cannot limit itself to the subject matter of criminology” (101) (FYI, structural violence is, for example, when a kid somewhere dies, but there was food to feed him. It results from unjust economic systems.)

“Violence is primarily men’s work; it is carried out more frequently against men, and it is about the maintenance of ‘manhood’….The role of women has often been that of trying to restrain all this violence of males against males” (16-17)

And finally, Gilligan writes that violence is higher in America than other industrialized nations due to it's shaming economic conditions, (remember, for him, shame is THE trigger for violence, and I agree) which are maintained by the ruling elite who actually NEED the violence in our society to maintain the status quo and keep the middle class afraid of the (naturally criminal) lower class

"…by lulling the middle class into accepting its subordination, and exploitation by the upper class, by giving the middle class a class to subordinate itself (the lower class) which it can exploit, and to whom it can feel superior, thus distracting the middle class from the resentment it might otherwise feel and express toward the upper class” (185).

(This last quote is taken from a whole chapter in which he outlines--and supports well--his arguement but I ain't typing all that. I can find a few more quotes on the economic part of his arguement if ya'll would like.)

Ok, so this is a lot of homework. That's enough for now. Discuss.
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:42 AM   #2
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Re: Violence

Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling

Violence, he argues, is a search for justice (however ineffective, irrational): “All violence is an attempt to achieve justice” (11)

”’Condemning’ violence is as irrelevant as it would be to ‘condemn’ cancer or heart disease” (25) This is because determining if the crime was "right" or "wrong" is useless. Of course it's wrong. The useful question, WHY did it happen and how to prevent it.

›”Downward social mobility, unemployment, and homelessness are among the most potent stimuli of shame, and are a key to the politics of violence” (67)


Ok, so this is a lot of homework. That's enough for now. Discuss.
About the above quotes. I cannot help but be thinking this is why we have all problems in Middle East now. Too many men in control of politics on all sides with too much shamed and condemning the violence is a waste of time that is why we always have more bombs and pathetic suicides. That is the people who are feeling too much shame from unemployment and being downward socially mobile.

The Palestinians have the shame of being poor and not wanting much loved by their arab neighbours and the Israelis have similar shame and horrors of aushcwitz. And both of them is mainly male controlled. Where are Israeli or Palestinian females. Only that Hanan Ashrawi on Palestine side and I don't know an Isreali woman.
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Old 01-27-2005, 06:59 AM   #3
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Those all may be causes, but they are not the same as people who are in those different situations are all doing it for different reasons. You can't tar them all with the same brush.
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Old 01-27-2005, 08:28 AM   #4
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Re: Violence

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Originally posted by Sherry Darling
Violence, he argues, is a search for justice (however ineffective, irrational): “All violence is an attempt to achieve justice”
According to the Koran, Muslims are not supposed to kill except if it is for justice. Irrational indeed.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:13 AM   #5
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Re: Violence

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Originally posted by Sherry Darling
And finally, Gilligan writes that violence is higher in America than other industrialized nations due to it's shaming economic conditions, (remember, for him, shame is THE trigger for violence, and I agree) which are maintained by the ruling elite who actually NEED the violence in our society to maintain the status quo and keep the middle class afraid of the (naturally criminal) lower class
Hmmm. Under this theory, countries that embrace shame as a motivating tool (like Japan) would have a higher rate of violence.

Some interesting thoughts, but it doesn't seem to hold together consistently.

"Violence is an attempt to achieve justice"? Explain that to victims of domestic violence.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:25 AM   #6
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Re: Re: Violence

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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Hmmm. Under this theory, countries that embrace shame as a motivating tool (like Japan) would have a higher rate of violence.
Oh, excellent point! Again, it goes back to CULTURE! How can this be denied?

Quote:
Some interesting thoughts, but it doesn't seem to hold together consistently.

"Violence is an attempt to achieve justice"? Explain that to victims of domestic violence.
True.

You know I don't hold much to these 'theories' put out by professors or somebody sitting in a desk, they're mostly just his viewpoint, or the way he sees things. Another person would see the same things and say something totally different.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
And finally, Gilligan writes that violence is higher in America than other industrialized nations due to it's shaming economic conditions, (remember, for him, shame is THE trigger for violence, and I agree) which are maintained by the ruling elite who actually NEED the violence in our society to maintain the status quo and keep the middle class afraid of the (naturally criminal) lower class.
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Old 01-27-2005, 09:34 AM   #8
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Re: Re: Violence

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
According to the Koran, Muslims are not supposed to kill except if it is for justice. Irrational indeed.
As I said in another thread, groups like Al Qaeda would argue that they are killing for justice. Palestine is a very contentious issue over there, with much of the Arab world believing that the Palestinians are being persecuted. Hence, these organizations are lashing out at what they perceive as "the enemy": Israel and the United States.

Whether that judgment is off-base or not, that is one of their justifications for their actions, I would bet.

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Old 01-27-2005, 09:36 AM   #9
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Re: Re: Violence

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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Hmmm. Under this theory, countries that embrace shame as a motivating tool (like Japan) would have a higher rate of violence.
Japan is less individualistic. Using "shame" as motivation in more individualistic cultures would probably fail and lead to violence.

As it stands, though, they may not murder, but they do have a higher suicide rate. Thus, they take it out on themselves, rather than others.

That's a cultural difference.

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Old 01-27-2005, 10:12 AM   #10
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Some interesting reactions, to say the least. I'll start off with NBC

You react as most people do, NBC, by confusing *explanation* with *justification*. And if you talk to most abusive husbands, yes, indeed, they will tell you they were seeking justice for some wrong they perceived (though you and I understand the situation quite differently, to say the least).

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Old 01-27-2005, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: Re: Violence

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Originally posted by Macfistowannabe
According to the Koran, Muslims are not supposed to kill except if it is for justice. Irrational indeed.
I'd be careful about such simplistic brush strokes. Given that one sentence the same can be said about Christians and the Bible. I've seen many Christians argue thou shall not kill, except when it comes to capital punishment and then it's justice.

The same misinterpretations could be used for the Bible, just look at A_wanderer's post a few days ago.
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Old 01-27-2005, 03:42 PM   #12
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Quote:
The Palestinians have the shame of being poor and not wanting much loved by their arab neighbours and the Israelis have similar shame and horrors of aushcwitz. And both of them is mainly male controlled. Where are Israeli or Palestinian females. Only that Hanan Ashrawi on Palestine side and I don't know an Isreali woman.
Israeli women have a long history of being engaged in politics, Golda Meir was a founder of the country and the prime minister in the early 1970's, including during the Yom Kippur War. I think that it is the nature of politics around the world that men seem to get the top jobs all too often.

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Old 01-27-2005, 03:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sherry Darling
You react as most people do, NBC, by confusing *explanation* with *justification*. And if you talk to most abusive husbands, yes, indeed, they will tell you they were seeking justice for some wrong they perceived (though you and I understand the situation quite differently, to say the least).

SD
Well, at some level, can we explain all negative behavior (lying, stealing, cheating, violence, etc.) on a perceived quest for "justice".

Look at all the people who download music - I steal because record companies charge me too much.
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Old 01-27-2005, 11:49 PM   #14
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Re: Re: Violence

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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Hmmm. Under this theory, countries that embrace shame as a motivating tool (like Japan) would have a higher rate of violence.

Some interesting thoughts, but it doesn't seem to hold together consistently.

When you look at Japan a bit more deeperly it does hold together. There is very much violence in the culture of the Japaneses. Just look at their popular movies and gameshows. They had a movie very popular about schoolkids on the island who would kill and be killed until one was left. I forget the name.

Also they have very many martial arts. These arts they have used over the longest times to fockus there violent nature in a more disciplined way or in some words different, to harness it.
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Old 01-28-2005, 01:02 AM   #15
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Maybe these various outlets prevents Japanese people from acting on their 'violent tendencies' according to that theory. *SHRUG*
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