March 15, 2016: Bullying

Bullying begins when intelligence and empathy are absent. Hoo-nōs

Bullying comes in many forms, from the hard-to-detect to the hard-to-ignore. But the heart of bullying is resentment and revenge.

The politics in this Presidential election year seem to be fundamentally fought on the grounds of bullying. And why does it work? Because we humans are more likely to pay attention to the impending “train wreck” of attempts to influence and to triumph than to the beauty afforded to real and considered solutions.

But it’s not just big picture politics where bullying is a standard. Bullying seems all too prevalent in our interpersonal and institutional relationships. Heck, perhaps our view about the earth’s resources is born from bullying the planet.

It seems humans believe in scapegoats. Like a saying in poker that if you cannot spot the sucker in the game, you’re the sucker; in bullying if you can’t find a scapegoat, you’re it.

If we don’t know the problem, we can’t figure out the solution. We don’t know the problem, so blame and shame—bully tools—seem to be our default “solution.”

I don’t have a solution—which would lead many to wonder why I’m even writing or talking. And certainly I’ve been part of the problem, so again, where’s the legitimacy in my “voice”? But I think reasonable voices—most of us have a reasonable voice at some time or the other—can prevail if we can stop looking for and pouncing on scapegoats. Even though it’s presently not as sexy (unfortunately) as watching beat-downs, the courage that intelligence, empathy, listening, and consideration takes is what we need to stop teetering and move off our evolutionary precipice.

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