by Parmjit Singh, PhD
Before violence spills on to ground, it simmers in the inner corridors of human mind. Desire for violence with all its hideousness and tyranny is born in the crevice of our dark thoughts and emotional alleyways populated by egocentric desires, perceived disenfranchisement and reckless disregard for human suffering.
Even when people are not fighting on a visible battleground, they are battling it out silently, within their homes, with their own wives and husbands and kids and friends. Outer violence is just an amplified version of inner battles and dissatisfaction. Any person taking to violence and killings must have lost the inner peace.
A recent case in point is Virginia Tech University where a student butchered students and Profs. What a terrible waste of life and potential! And how did it come to that? Why would a student resort to such a thing where blood is spilt like water and countless lives are snuffed and others maimed psychologically?
Does it say something about the times we live in or is it a reflection of our general attitude toward life—if what you want is not gettable through patience, it is OK to use force? Either way, the answers are disturbing and disheartening. Are we doing something to drive people over edge? Whatever the reasons, it is all disturbing and deeply painful. What has gone wrong with our civilization, I was asking myself? Why are our kids playing with guns instead of other friendlier things?
Out of various reasons, one is that we are not allowing students to flourish as a human being. The whole educational system is geared toward packing mind with useful rational information so that they can compete in the job market and the emphasis is on making them marketable. There is no room for any mental and spiritual growth. Students are not encouraged to take a step back and see where education fits into the larger scheme of their life.
When we can not cope up with life and its demands or have no hopes of doing that, our inner dormant sense of meaninglessness and torment stirs up. This is where something goes wrong. We do not have anything in place, especially integrated within the curriculum, where students can learn ‘how not to be depressed, angry etc.’ Even if some venues are available through student services, students do not want to go there because of the fear of being labeled a ‘sissy’; or those venues simply cater to symptoms once they have developed. There are not many avenues for cultivation of positive emotions of mental states.
In order to deal with their hidden torment and meaninglessness, we need to teach our kids the merits of constant cultivation of positive qualities and offer them a hope. It is not sufficient to visit temples or churches or just reading morally edifying literature; we need to offer them appropriate methods, integrated within the school system, so that they can deal with their negative emotions and mind-sets before it bursts open in the form of violence and killing.
Death is scary in itself and when one chooses to kill himself after killing so many others, we need to sit up and ask: what wrong have we done to our kids that they choose a life of violence and death?
If it takes a village to raise a kid, then the same village should sit up and look deep within their educational process if they did something unintentionally that unleashed what we saw in Virginia Tech. [HQ]
Original version of this article was published on Intent Blog