So in our day and times, with the phenomenon of teenage bullying and school shootings having reached a clear and present, crisis level, I would like to blow your minds by unveiling its deepest truth. I am speaking from the point of view of having earned a Bachelors in the History of Modern Philosophy, a Masters in Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts (Liberal Studies), a Masters Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, and from the perspective of having spent 14 years traveling across America and engaging my fellow Americans in dialogue about life and meaning, resulting in my book “The Socratic Trucker: An American Memoir.” I am speaking, shortly, from my point of view as a seasoned student of human nature.
Adolescent bullying is a function of our human survivalist instinct. You see, human beings evolved in a state of nature where we had to compete with other species for the materials that support life. Species are imbued with instincts which enable them to hit the ground running, as it were, from birth. Therefore in order to survive, our human species had to be imbued with the competitive instinct.
This survivalist instinct has two sides to it, which together serve to secure our specie’s greater survival. First is the conformity instinct. This enables our species to group together and pool their strength for better chances at survival. Next is the individuation instinct, which enables individual members of our species to manifest potentially useful variety, enabling our species, ultimately, to better adopt to a changing, natural environment. Therefore this survival instinct of ours, coupled with the benefits of our brain or intellect, secured our human species’ triumph over nature vie our technological civilization.
Now, to bullying. Bullying is a function of our human survivalist instinct as it manifests in conformity pressure, which we today call peer pressure. Since, as a species, we had to develop a strong conformity instinct as described above, individual members of our human race who veer too far left on the individuation spectrum encounter problems in conforming to the status quo mentality of the group, which today we refer to as being “cool.” While nature imbues in every individual a unique personality, that personality must nevertheless not be so different that it becomes unable to harmonize with the group. Therefore the objects of bullying are teenagers who fall so far left on the individuation side of the human survivalist instinct as to have socialization difficulties.
This also accounts for why bullying can be so vicious. For collectively, the group senses that this excessive differentiation of the bullied individual is a classical threat to the survival of the species itself. Therefore in the collective unconscious of the bullies, they might as well be saying, “Better our social cruelty than the cruelty of nature via the teeth of the lion.” For an excessively different individual can put the whole group and species at threat if he or she cannot harmonize toward our collective survival.
Now to school shootings. This phenomenon is uniquely modern, arising from a breakdown of our human survivalist instinct in the state of society. You see, our human survivalist instinct served our species well, as mentioned before, in securing our triumph over other species in the state of nature. But now, in the state of society where there is no need to compete directly with other species for survival, the competitive drive of the human survivalist instinct has nowhere to turn but upon one another. The vicious survivalist struggles of nature is brought into our human family, and individuals and groups now prey upon one another as we once preyed upon mammoths and lions and antelopes.
When an individual member of our species therefore veers to far left on the individuation scale of our human survivalist instinct, he or she becomes an easy target for human survivalist competition. He or she is relentless picked on, both because he or she is seen as prey for the consumption of the bully, as well as because he or she is seen by the bully as an easy path to survivalist status in the larger group. After years of this relentless treatment, he or she can become homicidal, as if saying in his or her survivalist psyche “So you want to throw me to the lions of utter rejection, ha? Well, meet my little friend!” Click, click.
What, therefore, is the solution? The solution is to educate ourselves about this underlying, ignoble cause of bullying, and to challenge ourselves to transcend our more primitive instincts. And what is the path to this realization?
The path rests in a new understanding of human heroism. You see, human heroism is a very strong and profound sense of triumphalism. The human spirit wants to triumph unto life. But today, because of our survivalist instinctual residue, forged in primal memories of a past where we had to mortally compete for material resources in service of our physical survival, our human heroism has taken on a default state of material heroism. We feel that only in securing for ourselves a triumph over material goods and statuses, do we show ourselves the hero. Our current president, Donald Trump, is a perfect contemporary archetype of this heroism.
Yet because, as a species, we no longer live in the state of nature where we have to compete with other species, we can now adopt a new vision of human triumphalism (a new human heroism) which is more suited to our present state of technological triumph over nature. In other words, we can begin to celebrate our divergents, those teens who fall more left on the individuation scale of the human survivalist instinct, rather than keep trying to beat them down. For while nature has put this very individuation instinct into them for the sake of manifesting new variety which might serve the survival of the species as a whole, these new varieties can also now add human creative wealth and beautiful colors to the human-race-triumphant.
Let us therefore celebrate the colors and varieties of our human family going forward, recognizing these bullied ones for the truth of their existence—that they are the very future of shining humanity! For if our different ones such as Albert Einstein did not find a patent office to retreat to from the status quo of his society, earning a sheltered living while developing his unique light, we would not, after all, have been so scientifically triumphant as a species. And if I had not the cab of my eighteen-wheeler to similarly shelter myself and develop my unique perspective, we would not have this deepest truth, would we?
Yet here’s the good news. A pathway to this new society and world is spelled out and planned, via a comprehensive, social curriculum at http://www.newamericanspring.org. My life’s mission. Come and see.
Revolution of Vision, Evolution of World…
This article was originally published for The Good Men Project here: