As a pacifist, I completely and absolutely abhor violence. I believe loving and peaceful traits are inherent in every human being at birth. I also believe that children have an inherent eagerness to please and learn from the adults in their lives that they love and look up to. Because children inherently possess these natural qualities, it is imperative they be treated patiently and respectfully in consideration of their impressionable and immature developing personalities. Unfortunately, inherent positive qualities deteriorate due to the negative environment that they are raised in. Taking genetic predisposition into consideration: Childhood is the critical period in a person’s life when empathy and healthy boundaries develop- or mental illness first begins to manifest.
Considering this philosophy, it should come as no surprise that the generous and pleasant child is the child that receives respect and kindness from the adults in her life. It should also come as no surprise that the child who is selfish and bullying is the child that is neglected and bullied by the adults in his life. Bad qualities like selfishness, cruelty, intolerance, bigotry, greed and rudeness are all learned behavior at the hands of others when one is most impressionable and eager to learn.
If our world is going to change, then we all need to BE the change we want to see. This means that from this moment on we must exhibit selflessness, generosity, compassion, and kindness towards each other and the environment. In simple terms, if our children witness greed- they will be greedy. If our children witness cruelty- they will be cruel. If our children witness bigotry- they will be bigots themselves. On the other hand, if our children witness caring and open minds- their minds will be open to endless possibilities and they will have a chance to their lives to fullest potential.
In order to made a positive difference in the world we don’t need to look towards guns, or drugs, or other inanimate scapegoats to societies problems. We need to look to the source of societies problems where it begins and ends- mental illness. At the root, mental illness is a disorder of being dis-at ease. This dis-at ease comes in the form of depression, anxiety, narcissism, and worse, lack of empathy for others.
Lack of empathy is at the root of every pathological personality disorder. The person who lacks empathy is the greedy person who lets others starve, ignores the plight of the homeless, turns a blind eye to the most vulnerable and marginalized in society. Lack of empathy is manifested in the man who treats his wife as a possession, is manifested in the parent who slaps their child, is manifested in the child who bullies another child. Lack of empathy is the person who not only ignores the obvious pain of others, worse, he contributes to the suffering.