Why Are Most Human Beings So Powerless?
By Robert J. Burrowes
09 July, 2014
Human beings stand at the edge of extinction and yet few of us are
mobilized in defense of human existence. Why is this? And what can we do
Unless someone lives in a cave secluded from all news, the evidence that
human beings are in deep trouble – with violence in its many forms
intruding on all aspects of our lives and threatening our very existence –
is readily available. Of course, you won't necessarily hear the news this
bluntly from the mainstream media but even they must convey at least
occasional and/or muted reports of military violence in many parts of the
world and the threat of nuclear war over Ukraine, ongoing massive deaths
by starvation in many parts of the world, vanishing ecosystems and species
under our combined and unrelenting assaults on the natural environment and
violence in many other forms, including in our homes and on our streets.
The information might not always be in the headlines but it is a recurring
feature of 21st century news if someone takes the slightest interest in
checking it. Given the threats, an aware person might ask 'Why so little
action in response?'
Of course, the usual answers include such explanations as these: people
don't necessarily 'know' (for one reason or another) and elites make
considerable effort to manipulate people into believing one or more of
these three things: it is the responsibility of governments (not ordinary
people) to act, people can do nothing to make a difference and/or anything
they do will be ineffective. Having people passive and dependent, rather
than powerful agents of change, suits governments and corporations nicely:
Social control is easiest in this circumstance.
However, explanations such as this, truthful though they may be, are
superficial and obscure the deeper, psychological reasons why most people
are so powerless.
At birth, a child is genetically programmed to use their many capacities,
including their senses (such as sight, hearing and touch), feelings (such
as thirst, hunger, fear, anger, sadness, happiness, pain and sexual
arousal), memory, 'truth register', intuition, conscience and intellect to
explore, learn about, understand and interact with their natural and
social world. Evolution intended children to become powerfully Self-aware
individuals by doing this.
However, if you want obedient adult subjects who passively accept social
control, then it is simpler to work on rendering individuals powerless by
stifling the development of their innate capacities during childhood.
Human socialization processes, which I call 'terrorization', including
parental practices and school, do this superbly: see 'Why Violence?'
http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence and 'Fearless Psychology and Fearful
Psychology: Principles and Practice'
Let me give some simple examples.
If a child is crying and you comfort them, you will (presumably
unintentionally) scare them out of feeling their sadness when, in fact,
their crying is a functional response to something not working out as the
child wanted and for healing from this event. The same applies to fear,
anger and all other feelings. Unfortunately, if we scare a child out of
feeling their natural responses to events (by ignoring, comforting,
reassuring, distracting, laughing at, ridiculing, terrorizing or violently
controlling them when they express their feelings), the child has no
choice but to unconsciously suppress their awareness of these feelings and
they will not be able to identify the appropriate way forward: this
reduces their power to respond functionally and powerfully to events in
their life. And helps to create the passive slaves that elites want.
Another way in which we adults make children powerless is by endlessly
thwarting the child's initiatives so that they learn that 'nothing works'
or even that 'Mum/Dad doesn't want it to work'. If a child is thwarted
often enough, it will unconsciously internalize the message that trying to
investigate things for themself and trying to do anything in response to
their own initiative is a waste of time and they will progressively
suppress their awareness of the evolutionary urges to investigate and
So have a look around you and ask yourself this: 'Who do I perceive as
being powerfully able to respond to what is happening in the world?' If
you are like me, you see a lot of scared and powerless people (even though
I spend considerable time identifying powerful people and working with
them). If you are one of these powerful people, then consider
participating in 'The Flame Tree Project to Save Life on Earth'
http://tinyurl.com/flametree or an equivalent sustainability initiative.
You might also consider joining the worldwide movement to end all violence
by signing online 'The People's Charter to Create a Nonviolent World'
Powerful individuals must play the central role in shaping a human future
that nurtures life on Earth. And while we are heavily outnumbered and
under-resourced for now, as Gandhi once said 'A small body of determined
spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the
course of history'.
Do you feel powerfully able to help 'alter the course of history'?
Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and
ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an
effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a
nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of 'Why Violence?'
http://tinyurl.com/whyviolence His email address is [email protected]
and his website is at http://robertjburrowes.wordpress.com
Comments are moderated