Assuming you’ve managed to survive last Friday’s cliffhanger, here is the next episode of “Anna Really Hates Marketing.” Here you will find excerpts from her new, upcoming book, soon to be available for purchase. If you hear a distant grinding of teeth, it’s probably Herself, editing away.
Where were we? We were talking about commonly-held beliefs 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.
1. ‘People are basically good.’
Some people believe that everyone is fundamentally good and would only do good things if given the opportunity. They believe that people only hurt each other by accident or under tragic, exceptional circumstances. As a result, they struggle to explain certain acts of violence. They can’t understand the point of view of a resource predator, who will do what it takes to get what they are after, and even less that of a process predator, for whom hurting others is in itself the goal.
This attitude is not the exclusive domain of confused individuals or isolated groups. There are whole systems of conflict management preaching that all people are essentially the same, with the same drives and needs, and that conflict is created solely by the strategies we use in trying to meet those needs. These systems reject the existence of individuals who view other humans as the mere sum of the resources they can provide, as things that can be exploited without compunction. They can’t understand a thought process that selects human targets via an emotionless risk-reward analysis.
When human ruthlessness touches these people, they not only have to process its immediate effects; they have to choose whether to accept its existence. This is a huge paradigm shift, as it would require them to reassess the potential motivations of all other human beings. It would cause them to look at the world as a far more dangerous place than they previously believed it to be.
The alternative is to refuse to accept that people can be anything other than basically good. This may cause people to go on looking for reasons and motives for the violence that can’t be found because they are just not there, or to throw up their hands in resignation to the idea that violence strikes from unseen places without rhyme, reason, or advance indication. Neither of these attitudes is conducive to realistic threat assessments.
For an example of one of this systems, check out Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg. It is a great example of a system that can work wonders in social settings, yet actively rejects the existence of asocial settings.
Is this brilliant or what? Incidentally, d’ya know that if you really can’t wait she already has a book out? It’s got a cover and everything. Available both in print and as an e-book. The print version makes a lovely toilet book: with nice, short chapters, it is suitable to most evacuation eventualities.