A parent mourns the loss of a child whether that child is Honduran, Iraqi, Ukrainian, Russian, Palestinian, Israeli or American. Families mourn the disappearance of loved ones whether that loved one is Malaysian, Dutch, German, Brazilian or Mexican. Humans desire autonomy, opportunity, connection and purpose whether from Ethiopia, Italy, France, Venezuela or Cuba.
So, why so much conflict? Sociologically, culture can be seen as a double-edged sword. As human beings, we require the power of culture to ensure the opportunity to develop our maximum potential. Culture gives us a foundation equipped with language, values, beliefs and norms that can help guide us through life. However, culture can also instill in some a false sense of superiority called ethnocentrism. "I eat cows, you eat dogs. Therefore, I am better than you." Wait. We both eat. What we choose to eat is a function of our cultural upbringing and nothing else. Forget about what we eat, and remember that we both need to eat. More about shared commonality and less about cultural difference.
In psychology, there are a series of "Personality Disorders" that often create havoc for those afflicted and for their social arena. Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder characterized by a failure to conform to social norms, deceitfulness, impulsivity, aggressiveness and lack of remorse. While most of the world's leaders would hesitate to submit to a psychosocial analysis, it seems more than plausible that many suffer from at least some of the above mentioned characteristics. In fact, there are a whole cluster of personality disorders (Cluster B) that have the potential to create monumental havoc on both a macro and micro scale. Most of these folks do not seek treatment, and treatment for these disorders is difficult at best.
Which is why those who feel the deepest sadness, regret and pain over this spate of global tragedies are being called to service. Lighting candles, offering prayers, meditating, and putting forth positivity, love, light and healing are essential. Reaching out to those who are different - in social construction only - can change our human trajectory. Ethnocentrists and those with personality disorders are a fraction of the population, but wield awesomely destructive powers. Those touched to their very core by the wars, violence and human neglect permeating our planet are in the tens of millions. Now, that's true power.
Be kind to each other and to yourself.
© Copyright 2014 Douglas Layer, M.A., LPCC