Are you ready?
Are you ready for this?
Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
This is but a chapter in the new, upcoming book. There are several more. They are all insightful and informative, but of course you already know this. And, guess what? You will shortly be able to buy this wondrous book. For money. No need to sacrifice goats, or to climb countless, harsh miles to my doorstep, seeking knowledge. (No, seriously, no need. My doorbell’s disconnected anyway.)
If this is not a modern miracle, I don’t know what is.
Many people think of “beliefs” in a purely spiritual sense, classing as such only convictions about the existence and nature of a creator, or the afterlife. However, beliefs are far more pervasive:
“Basic beliefs can be conceptualized as value systems that are learned in childhood and adolescence. They encompass religious or political beliefs and values as well as basic definitions of oneself and one’s personal goals in life. They are needed to guide coherent behavior over the life cycle of an individual, and even over generations for groups and whole nations. This makes them resistant to change, even when confronted with opposing evidence.” 
Much of what people think about violence actually consists of beliefs about violence. They are faith-based rather than evidence-based. This is particularly obvious when those beliefs clash with reality. For instance, nuggets such as “violence never solved anything” are readily identifiable as beliefs, given how easily disproved they are by the most cursory examination of history. However, even realistic views of violence tend to be inextricably interlinked with beliefs about how the world is or should be.
In secular terms, we speak of “paradigms.” A paradigm is the accepted view of how things work in the world, and affects how we perceive and respond to reality. If presented with enough information that conflicts with a given paradigm, individuals and groups might undergo a ’paradigm shift’ – a change in their basic beliefs on that subject. Alternatively, they might experience ‘paradigm paralysis,’ the inability or refusal to make that change.
Paradigm shifts may seem the obvious response in the face of evidence that conflicts with the established set of beliefs. However, they are a difficult process to go through. However incorrect or even dysfunctional our original basic beliefs may be, uprooting one of the cornerstones of our worldview is a big deal.
Six toxic beliefs about violence.
Our mainstream culture has embraced six beliefs about violence that:
- Deprive people of the resources to deal with violence as it’s happening;
- Deprive them of the emotional, psychological, and social resources to facilitate recovery;
- Prevent them from absorbing self-defense teachings.
A student who has internalized any of these beliefs may find it incredibly hard to deal with acts of violence, or even to make realistic plans for how to deal with them. A student who has internalized all of them may be not only essentially hopeless and helpless in the face of violence, but also unable to recover from the resulting trauma without undergoing major paradigm shifts.
Would you like to know what these beliefs are? Would you? Reeeeeaaaaally?
Stay tuned for the next episode of “Anna Really Hates Marketing.”
Linden M (2003). “Posttraumatic embitterment disorder”. Psychother Psychosom 72 (4): 195–202.