.....Why, as a species, do we have to be so mean to each other?..
Good question. The short answer, it seems, is that people, you, me and everyone else, are hurt. The long answer, we're really hurt.
Sometime, something, somebody -- parents, lovers, blind luck, did us dirty. We feel crushed and we're convinced the pain's not going away, or that it will happen again -- which describes just about everyone on Earth.
We've all been hurt, we're all wounded, but not all of us translate this into being mean to others. Some realize that their suffering can be the spark that powers a positive forward looking response rather than a victim's whimpering whine
When we tolerate meanness in ourselves or in others, not speaking up, not becoming constructively involved, we're in the service wrongdoing. All us have in ourselves the capacity and the obligation to do better.
During the years I worked as a police officer for the City of Tempe I witnessed and took part in a vast range of human interactions, from the most selfless of human kindnesses to the most brutal responses to some sense of being wronged that anyone can imagine.
Yet almost without fail, once the battle was over and the dust had settled, perpetrators and victims alike, having had time to reflect on what took place, experienced a sense of remorse for the part they'd played in the drama.
But why do these things play out to begin with? I think, having seen so much of it first hand, that it's because our species is more emotionally than rationally driven. We hurt, we react. We feel slighted, we respond -- often in kind plus a little more.
The fight or flight response in humans is immediate. People learn early on what works best for them. Bullies grow up learning one way, those more thoughtful and considerate learn a better way.
The disposition to be "mean" is part of being human, a survival mechanism hard coded in our genes. How we respond to the urge to take out the hurt we feel on those around us either elevates us above the crowd, or makes us partakers in the most base expressions of the primitive nature our ancestral DNA gifted us with.
We see this played out all around us these days, from fanatical religiously inspired massacres to the insanity of the mass murders we experienced in Las Vegas.
The question would seem to be; how do I personally respond? Am I part of the problem, or can I learn to be an active participant in the solution?
Life is good! Enjoy it constructively..