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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bullying – The Basest Expression of Evil

Why has bullying suddenly become a major concern when for ages it has been dismissed as child’s play? Social media has forced people to get to know bullying victims pushed to suicide, to hear their last words and see the pain on their faces. To see their humanity.
Those who created social media, as well as the programming and technology that make it possible, are nerds.  Nerds are in charge, all of whom have experienced sustained levels of bullying and been changed for life, sometimes for the better, more often not.  They know bullying for what it is the basest, most primitive expression of Evil.

Evil, as I understand it, is a negative force, resulting from the exercise of free will that informs, tests, prunes, and strengthens Good.  Its root is Selfishness, acting for personal pleasure or benefit at the cost or harm, often unnecessary, of others. It is the opposite of the enlightened self-interest often at the heart of altruism, charity, compassion, and love. Bullying is the intentional inflicting of harm upon others for personal gain, usually power or control, real or imagined, through physical or psychological means. 
In childhood, it is most often direct and brutish; adults can be much more subtle and dangerous. Bullying is the most direct expression of selfishness. A child can become, or create, and adult abuser, tyrant, or mass-murderer.  Those who practice bullying usually start because they lack control over their own lives and wish to gain the sensation, or they have pain inflicted upon them and wish to get rid of it by spreading it to others.  Bullies push as far as they can get away with, cowards who act only when they outmatch or outnumber their victims, giving in to the predatory urge to cull the herd by picking on the weak. 

Bullying isn’t an innocent, but brutal, part of childhood; it is the beginning of the growth of evil and must be treated as such. Otherwise, we allow ambitious individuals like Hitler and Stalin to rise and less stable ones, often victims themselves, to murder scores of people at a time.  Lives are litteral at sake, as well as minds, and souls. 

Allowing evil to flourish is at best callous and at worst implicit. Evil is often callous to the suffering it cause. Lack of empathy is a sign of psychopathy. Psychopaths make the best, often most charming, bullies.  Bullying is abuse. It is assault. It is immoral and illegal to all but those we call children, even those old enough to have the basic knowledge of good and evil, old enough to make adult mistake intentionally. Bullying is about power and abuse. When you get down to it rape is a form of bullying. It’s not surprising that it is often perpetrated by privileged male athletes and frat boys while drunk. – no inhibitions or limits. Those who get away with it in college often do it to society at large when they get into positions of real power. 

I have bullied, briefly, and know the thrill and satisfaction of being in perceived control over another person. For far longer I was bullied and know well the terror of having no power over yourself or life. I did the former to try and relieve the latter. 

I actually agree with Harper, for once ( ironic because he is a prime example of a bully),  regarding what he said about the impression of bullying being of children’s play, but that in reality it included criminal acts. Bully ranges in severity from a single teasing to a sustained campaign of violence and degradation with deadly potential. It needs to be nipped in the bud, with the bully and victim both attended to early with measured, thoughtful intervention focused on eliminating the behaviour and fostering empathy. Punishment, as always, should be measured and reserved for more serious offenses, to stop it becfore it takes root. 

Limits, boundaries, and respect need to be taught and reinforced. Bullies need to know they can’t get away with it. That is why we have laws. When all other reasonable alternatives have been exhausted, legal punishment is required. There needs to be a series of educational and social nets that filter out everyone who can be helped, leaving only psychopaths, revealed hopefully before they become dangerous. 

Blessed, and cursed, with the knowledge of good and evil, we are children of Heavenly parents, learning about the power, benefits, consequences and responsibilities of free will. Heavenly Father doesn’t interfere with that, but bullies do such as Satan do. That learning needs guidance, as soon as we can tell the difference between good and bad, which my church believes is at eight years of age. It is up to parents and society to provide that guidance.  

Otherwise, the bullies will thrive and our children will not.