I don’t really want to talk about Connecticut – in every respect it should be just left as what it was: a terrible wound in the world. But after all of the subsequent events and close calls, I thought it was worth posting this elsewhere:
In the past two decades, we have radically changed what it means to be a human in the United States. Our food has changed genetically, our ability to distinguish between real and imagined has changed, the types of work we spend all day doing has changed. We are inundated with inhuman amounts of data with little context, the amount of time we have to spend on processing change has been decimated,and our insulation from nature in many cases has dramatically gone up. etc, etc. I think it is probably a bit naive to think that the recent increase in people going off is simple or unrelated to these substantial changes in our environment. I also think it is probably a bit naive to think simple solutions will make us any safer no matter how much we want them to.
There’s more that needs to be said, though, in the context of this blog. The more I read up on our human sense of self, the more I come to understand exactly how much it is very literally a reflection of the world around us. We learn who we are from others – individuals specifically, but society in general. Without others in our lives as babies, and without a common “social” construct, we are (in many senses) animals without the frame of reference required for a sense of “I” or “me” to be created in. And, once we learn who we are, we engage in a battle for the rest of our lives to continue “becoming” ourselves in the face of often contradictory or impossible societal, familial, and cultural expectations.
Given that, and given how little time society has had to adapt to tremendous changes in our reality, I have to wonder if the outward discord is creating malformed, torn ego’s in the world and if some of them are, in fact, breaking violently in an attempt to fill what, for some individuals, might be considered impossibly flawed gaps.
I’ve seen a few blog posts and news articles circling – but not quite dipping all the way into – this topic. I’ll be curious to see if it’s eventually borne out by actual research. Anything would be better than blaming guns or blaming “crazy” people. Those perspectives are simplistic mob-justice non-scientific cop outs.