I've just started a new book, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, and I realized that while I like Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali, I cannot stand the other characters for a variety of reasons, but mostly because they are so very self-absorbed and totally lacking in any feelings for anyone other than themselves. This book, along with the horrible rash of GLBTQ suicides lately has gotten me thinking about bullying, which is way too prevalent in our world. My therapist explained the development of the human brain to me a bit more last visit as a way of understanding what went so horribly wrong in the case of the Rutger's violinist. She said, and please excuse any errors in the technical part of this, that as humans, our brains must change from a child's brain to an adult brain and so from the ages of about 16 to 25+ our prefrontal cortex is not anywhere near fully developed, and this area deals with social control as well as the ability to distinguish proper behavior, good vs bad, understand consequences, etc. So the two students who videoed the violinist lacked even the common sense to say, would I want someone to do this to me. They will have to live with the consequences of their actions for the rest of their lives, but it doesn't mean they were acting in an evil way. They simply did not think things through and acted on impulse. Unfortunately this is way too common in most people, even past the age of 25, so I wonder if there is a significant portion of the population whose prefrontal cortex never develops. There certainly is in the book I'm reading!
And maybe the school bullying which was behind the remainder of the recent GLBTQ suicides was also a result of the same lack of development, but I'm also inclined to believe that for whatever reason many people think that they have the right to whatever they want and if that requires bullying someone else to get it, well that's fine too. I have a friend who is being bullied by a jerk who is engaging in illegal business practices, but rather than clean up his act, he simply bullies anyone who stands up for their rights, as my friend is finding out. And so far, he has won because he has money, power, and physical brutality which he has used successfully to intimidate the righteous and bribe the unrighteous. One day, I have to believe, he will be caught, but right now he is able to make life unpleasant for an entire neighborhood.
I know I'm naive, and that has gotten me in trouble throughout my life, but I just don't understand why society can't run on kinder principles. Even the very selfish should be able to figure out that they'd get more from honey than from vinegar as the old saying states. I also realize that not everyone is like the characters in the book and I do know a good many kind, caring folks who do actually think before they act and when they think they do think about others, and thank heavens for such people. And I know that we need to live the change we want to see in the world, so the more of us there are acting in caring ways, the more the world will reflect that, but there are days when it does seem to be an impossible task. But as Aesop said centuries ago, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, ever goes unnoticed."