Why do we have to see it or hear it to care about it?
Often we care when we hear about a terrible or awe inspiring event, but it’s only when we actually hear a tape, see a miracle or watch a gritty security camera of real people engaged in actual behavior that we care all the way to our core and are effected deeply enough to be moved to act.
I know this from experience. That is why I am taking cameras with me to work, because writing a book (MIRACLES ARE MADE: A real Life Guide To Autism) isn’t sufficient, people have to see it to be moved enough to be spurned into action. I solved the “people need to see it” conundrum by recording the amazing improvements my brain challenged patients experience and then making it available for viewing (FIX IT IN FIVE on THE AUTISM CHANNEL). TMZ solved the conundrum by showing more truth than it previously had, it went from showing Ray Rice dragging his wife from an elevator to showing him punching her and knocking her out. People were outraged and the NFL took action. Rice was permanently removed from the Baltimore Ravens.
Of course, it had already been reported that he punched his wife and dragged her out of that elevator before we saw it but … well … seeing is just a little harder to minimize or pretend away.
Because when you hear about something you use your own memory system to imagine the event. That is why you should be careful what type of visuals you put in your memory banks and where you get those images from. You may get them from horror movies or video games. You may also draw them from some moments you observed or were engaged in during your life. The tricky part is that, because you lived through it and then thought about it, you have already created beliefs around it.
The brain is a slippery little organ associating everything it creates with everything it has created before. And as such that punch could remind us of the time our best friend punched someone in high school. Since we forgave our friend it feels right to forgive Ray Rice. We don’t even know why we feel this way, we just do. We relate, we forgive, we love and we hate based on our own lived experience especially when we imagine.
But then we see it for real. No Hollywood camera angle, no similarity to ourselves and think, “How dare he and why hasn’t’ he been fired???!!!” Along with, “Of course I never felt any other way than this, I have been angry all along!” because the brain also erases and rewrites the truth in order to be congruent with our emotions.
The exact same emotional and mental blindness happens to people when they are angry. They behave terribly. This is not an excuse, just a bit of information to help with.
In my opinion there are no excuses.
Since we are all equally blinded we must all be equally agreed that no abuse is acceptable.
I have been very angry many times in my life. I have been blind. Grief especially makes me feel this way. The difference is, I decided violence is not an option. I made an active decision.
I was raised in a home full of kicks, slaps, punches, hair-pulls etc. My family was angry, blind to the truth, unable to hear anything originating from outside themselves. I have counseled many others with all the same issues and dealt with violence from many, many, many, different brain disordered people. And from all that life experience, here is what I am sure of, when violence is not an option and we have practiced alternative choices, we don’t commit it.
Let me say that again. When we have practiced behaving – even through imaging – and violence is not an option, we don’t do it.
The army knows this. That is why they train you to believe deeply and react consistently. Our ability to think creatively is arrested during these extreme emotions but our ability to react out of habit remains.
So practice; being kind, flexible, informed, armed with choices and don’t make violence an option!
It is as simple as that.