German blogger der Waidler wrote a blog post about the importance of violent images. The argument is that people really should see them to understand what is going on. It also should have an effect in making decisions more rational and less based on the imminent emotions as the impact of each picture will wane over time.
I have already been turning this thought in my head for a while now, mostly because of my devotion to free speech. Germany has a Media Council (the country has more soviets than the USSR) that explicitly forbids showing dead corpses or people in the process of dying. As Rebecca Hargreaves explores in the video above this is not what happens anyway.
We all know that the left constantly requires moral standards which they themselves are unwilling to adhere to. There was a boy, drowned in the sea, who came up with the refugee crisis, we remember the Vietnam photo of the officer a split second before his death, ever-present are the skeleton toddlers during hunger crises and so on. The rule – and this is really true for all morals that the left doles out – is that whenever something is forbidden it is a weapon so strong that the left demands a monopoly on it.
I know the violent reactions from those who are not accustomed to seeing brutality and death once they see something like that. Should we become less emotional? What makes me think is that every psychopathic serial killer has a history of watching brutality and committing it himself on animals before he moves on to humans. Another bummer is that psychologists see violent imagery as the reason for post traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
PTSD is an interesting disorder. Those who deal with traumatized soldiers often say that it becomes easier when the military and the person’s actions are accepted in society. Outside the military PTSD is most frequent in victims of sexual abuse and rape. Somehow, I am under the impression that PTSD comes from a breakdown of the entire emotional household because of shame.
Shame and the neurologically connected emotion fear are exactly what psychopaths lack. They do not get addicted to the thrill because they saw or did something at an early age, but they have an abnormality in their brain structure that makes them uncaring. The ancient Romans took their children to gladiator fights and the ancient Greek took their boys to their also very violent sport events. At the Olympic games boys as young as 12 could participate in pankration, a no-holds-barred fight that resulted in either submission, death or the physical inability of a fighter to continue (referees didn’t stop fights). To the best of our knowledge all these kids continued to live law-abiding lives and no disorder was recorded that would indicate PTSD.
But isn’t it true that many soldiers commit suicide? To cut a long story short: No. Have a look at the statistics.
So does violent imagery affect us in a negative way? It is hard to say for sure, but the thrill that comes with it does contribute to psychopathic behavior. If the morals of a person are already weak, exposure to violence derails him (mostly him) completely. A complete taboo: the act of violence is always enjoyed. Knowing this we must FIRST take care of building strong morals which control our urges.
Ancient cultures linked the imagery of bloodshed, usually the sacrifice of an animal, to people and principles that were respected. Children did not sacrifice. The man who got the thrill of violence was the priest and some ecstatic dancing by other adults spread the vibe. I assume that it was an important part of preparing people for war.
Today there is actually a field of research called killology. It tries to find techniques that make soldiers actually kill their opponents. As far as I know, little more came out of it other than preparing the situation with targets that look as human as possible. Modern soldiers cannot allow themselves to think about mercy. The time frame is too short to seek ways to protect both an opponent and your comrades.
I personally believe that Westerners need more exposure to violent imagery so they know what is going on and don’t get hysterical over a beheading (not as uncommon as the ISIS coverage made people believe). However, the greater rationality has a price that we must be willing to pay: We have to ramp up our morals. Great powers come with great responsibilities. It would create more men who are willing to fight. They are a treasure when we can stop lying. When we fail and fool them, they will become our downfall.
Much worse, taken too far the opposite could happen. We might all stop caring, including the men. This is what we see in Africa where violence is abundant and nobody shows civil courage and fights to stop wrongdoing. I’m afraid it is the doses that makes either medicine or venom.