Thinking the Unthinkable … and Taming it

I prefer to keep this blog technical. However, this time I am touching a gray area – human mind as a machine.

In the wake of recent tragic shooting at a school in the US, a blog post “Thinking the Unthinkable” has made quite a stir. My heart pours for the mother who describes her son’s violent rages and her helplessness.  I have an idea that can help.

[I tried posting the following idea on her Blogger blog. However, it needed me to login to Blogger. I don’t have a blogger account. I request readers with Blogger account to go to the mother’s blog post and put this post’s link.

Disclaimer: I am neither of PETA activist, a Gandhian, a Jain, a Buddhist.]

In short, her son is a 13 years bright kid. At times he can get into murderous rage – like taking up knife to threaten to kill his mom and himself and he has to be physically overpowered and chemically subdued. The situation is so regular that his younger siblings have been taught an emergency evacuation plan. The mom suspects she is a mother of a future mass murderer. Deeply sad!

Human mind has inertia. It is difficult to suddenly switch to a different mode of being. A lawyer can’t suddenly turn into an accountant and vice-verse. That means, if we immerse the boy into strong non-violence for a few years, his mind will find it increasingly difficult to switch to violence.

The trouble is, you can’t force non-violence! It has to be influenced, not forced. So, here is an idea about a program for school and parents of a budding, intelligent teenager who is having anger problems.

Stage 1: Information gathering

Data gathering (or so called “White Hat”) is the top layer of personality.

The child is ready to accept anything as a project. Let us give him a project on some extremely non-violent schools of thought like PETA, Gandhism, Jainism or Buddhism.

Again, it must remain interesting to a teenager. So limit it to compiling and commenting on stories from those schools.

This stage should last for six months.

Stage 2:  Internalization of information

This stage is about preaching it to others. That is infinitely easier than practicing, right? 🙂

The kid is an electronics and games fan. So we then challenge his creative genius to come up with games plots from the above stories in which non-violence is awarded.

In the second half of the stage, we challenge him to actually implement those games.

Man, this will be so absorbing! All the *intellectual* faculties have to be channelized to reward non-violent behavior of  a neutral, unknown, third party, unseen player.

Like any good game design, it will take 3-4 years. By then the kid will be almost through with his formation years, thinking on how to simulate Buddha, Gandhi and Mahaveera.

The beauty is, we don’t have to preach anything to the kid. We don’t have to provide any other incentive to him to think about non-violent behavior.  As the game progresses to higher levels, subtler and subtler form of violence will be rejected and punished in the game – and in the mind and value system of its designer.

Stage 3: Publicity of the work and identification of the person with the theme

At this stage, we can design some publicity.

The scale and duration of publicity would be dependent on the success of the game(s).

However, publicly defending the theme of games would force the designer to accept them finally.

And who knows, with the deep passion and long,deep thinking about non-violence and its public acceptance, we may get another Gandhi instead of a mass murderer?!?


4 comments on “Thinking the Unthinkable … and Taming it

  1. Yash says:

    Brilliant idea storm. A watered down, but equivalent, version might be as follows:

    Stage 1: take this child to the church. Make him listen, read, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (assuming the child is a Christian).
    Stage 2: make him do some volunteer social work that helps those in need. Specifically the work that makes him think about the doctrine of non-violence.
    Stage 3: ask him to come up with a new Stage 2 type activity, lead it, put his stakes in it and make it succeed.

    One issue is that mostly all violence-prone children are made to anyhow go through Stages 1 and 2. Not sure how much that helps though.

    My theory is that all the thoughts live in the Platonian garden. Some minds find a subset of this entire set attractive and are drawn to its members as a bee to a flower. Other minds find this same subset repulsive while a different subset attractive. When we say that no two men are alike, all that is being said is that no two minds find the same subset as comprising of attractive flowers. Attraction to an idea-flower and repulsion for another idea-red-hot-bar is almost always an internal inspiration and sometimes, unfortunately, this internal magnetic force cannot be reversed by any external means.

    Your argument is that by following your recipe (Stages 1 to 3), the evil can be eliminated from the world (go to each source of evil, ask him/her to drink this Stages 1 to 3 medication, and, …poof, the evil is now turned into the good). I believe that this will be extremely helpful but not a certain cure.

    A brilliant idea storm. I like this recipe. Any action is better than inaction and your prescription for the action is probably one of the best.

    • bhushit says:

      “Any action is better than inaction”. Yes, sir!
      The idea is to let the child discover ahimsa and challenge him with ahimsa rather than to preach ahimsa to him.
      That way we surpass his ego and associated smartness, which are leading him even to this level of violence.

      • Yash says:

        Just today morning TV show featured a discussion on how exactly reverse is the norm. Video games, movies, etc teach violence instead of ahimsa.

  2. Harsh Tank says:

    I just wonder. What made the kid think, if I go and mass murder the *smaller* kids, it would be the best way to nurture my rage. (I mention BEST because, one can be sure he must have had multiple similar deadly plan to take his rage out). I wonder if the games, the movies etc “TEACHES” and “TRAINS” a brain to crank up to the level of frustration, and then finally brings a punching bag out, generally an opponent in a form of human being, whom you can shoot and your released from the tension of being cranked up. In other words, put them in the battle ground, have their life feel insecure (for no apparent reason) and then have them kill someone to feel secure. Do this over and over again, and there we go.. We have a brain trained to have this “lesson” nurturing the basic instinct of the being when they feel insecure in reality. I tried compete with above thoughts of mine, and this is what my own defendant had to say. If you can be so sure that teaching “Learning cartoons” helps kids learn things, if Barney can teach them “Dont let the water run when you brush” by just coming up on screen over and over again, why cant they be potentially learning the “shoot multiple people and feel free” from games, movies etc?

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