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Evi
 
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A question about the human psyche

16 January 2013, 14:38

It has bothered me for some time…possibly the time has come for me to ask others what the answer is, and to establish if there is an answer, an explanation or a solution.

The majority of people would probably steal food to feed their starving children. I’m sure I would if I had to. It’s pretty much in the blueprint to have that survival gene and the maternal instinct to save one’s young from perishing is profoundly powerful … none of us can deny that! We’d help ourselves to some fruit off a tree on a pavement, or if the fruit happened to fall our side of the fence. If the tree wasn’t that accessible, we might sneak through a gap in the fence and grab a few apples.

Or we might have to resort to more covert forms of pinching food. I can understand how easy it is for this to escalate and for a bit of heavier duty pinching to occur whereby theft of other goods occurs, to be sold for the much needed food and basic necessities for those hungry wee bellies… I think we could forgive this type of behaviour as the intent was life-saving and altruistic, and no one was overtly harmed nor suffered unduly from losing a few apples off their tree, or a few inconspicuous odds and ends that weren’t sorely missed.

 It saddens me that some people have so little and others accrue so much in life. Yet this is the nature of existence. It’s survival of the fittest in the Darwinian model and socialism has been proven not to work, as it removes the incentive to be enterprising and to advance. So yes, in the real world there will in all probability always be impoverished people and entrepreneurial ‘top dogs’ and everyone else in-between; ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’!

 I’m not for a minute trying to solve the problems of the world. I’m not that naïve! They are in essence insurmountable. But I do believe that every drop of kindness, generosity and empowering of the ‘underdogs’ is beneficial. I’m all for helping, developing and advancing people, reducing poverty and boosting the disadvantaged, through education and opportunity, rather than through nepotism or straight welfare.

 And now for my burning question… as I don’t have a master plan on how all these goals for majority upliftment can be achieved, which in no way differs from the many recommendations that you can all make to the ruling government. So I’m not even going there, as I’d have a pretty long list of suggestions.

 However, my agonising concern, which is what has been bothering me for a while, pertains to the violent nature of the criminality in South Africa. If people are hungry, desperate, unemployed, frustrated, angry, embittered, ill, or whatever other reason, this does not justify abhorrent criminality, heinous acts of violence and depravity…

 I am convinced that not every terrible act of violence by a perpetrator is racially driven, or an act of revenge. If a person sets out to steal, they go, get what they want and bugger off. Done and dusted. So what is with the list of depraved acts which are in the media morning, noon and night?

The ones with execution style shootings, boiling water, suffocation, strangulation, violent insertion of objectives, chopping off of body parts, decapitations, gouging out of eyes, genital mutilations, shoving octogenarians into disused refrigerators, amongst others? If not a personal vendetta by a seriously unwell person, then I am assuming that the perpetrators are drugged to the hilt. Alternatively there is a group of people in the country who should be assessed for serious psychopathological disorders and placed into safe rehabilitation environments where they can be cared for and removed from endangering the rest of society.

 There is something gravely wrong and it can’t solely be blamed on the country’s historical legacy. This is a malady and it seems to be contagious. What are the authorities and the mental health agencies going to do about it? Too many brutally violent people seem to have slipped through the cracks. It’s time that better provision was made to protect society at large. It’s a disturbing reality and it will continue to bother me until some sage person/group of people comes up with unprejudiced, intelligent, humanistic solutions. Violence begets violence…so violent recommendations aren’t a solution. Terrible injustices and atrocities past and present need to be laid to rest. A multifaceted, solution-focused future that embodies the constitutions' well- intended principles for the benefit of all South Africans may be a key.

                

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