Getting Carried Away – Punishment Psychosis

Getting Carried Away – Punishment Psychosis

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: these mass shooters are punishing their victims.

It’s NOT a new thing, and it’s not remotely anything different than what we all do, what we all approve of, violence as a response to things we don’t like.

They learned it at home.

We all agree with their basic premise: we should hurt people who do stuff we don’t like.

Because that’s supposed to straighten them out, as if our punishing stimulus is the only stimulus, as if nothing else in the world has any bearing on what people do, as if we’re all living in one of Skinner’s boxes. Manson, Brevik, probably all of these idiots, they have such an unconscious, un-formed idea of what they’re doing – those two apparently thought the spark of their violence would ignite the whole world in race violence – that it betrays a kind of blindness, a sort of blind faith in the power of violent punishment, that all they thought they had to do was begin and some sort of chain reaction was going to start the race war that cures the world of whatever they don’t like. This seems to be the fantasy of the mass shooters, one violent act of punishment and the world is changed. This is perhaps what may be referred to as Punishment Psychosis, when this fantasy takes over your life.

I repeat: we agree with this idea. Punishing what we don’t like is supposed to change the world for the better.

Yes it is, and we agree! Well – YOU do. I’ve seen through it, I’m working that poisoned insane logic out of my system, but trust me, I spend a lot of time online and in person fighting what I have determined to be a terrible scourge, the practices of punishing. Almost no-one doesn’t think we shouldn’t hurt people to make them do what we want; in positive wording, almost EVERYONE thinks hurting people to make them do what you want is the way to live.

It’s not. It’s really, really not, and we’d all agree if the only example is these mass shooters, but we’re corrupted. We get our own payoffs, we get things to go our own way in this system, so we can’t or won’t admit the connection when we see the obvious logical extreme versions of it in the news. Repeat: obvious. Really, really obvious that murder is nearly always a punishment, yet somehow that fact is irrelevant, and I find myself baffled, echoing the Aboriginal view of the environment.

How are basic truths somehow irrelevant?

How is it that the basic, obvious motive for the mass shooters – punishment – somehow not a part of our attempt to solve the issue? It’s because punishment is ubiquitous, invisible. It’s something we do, actively, it’s not something that happens by itself, yet we can’t factor it in to anything, we can’t imagine it as an option, we can’t imagine taking it out of our equations as a factor.

OK, look. I know you see this as quixotic and stupid, I know the point I’m making looks like this: people get poisoned, and poison one another, and that’s all because we all eat. If we didn’t eat, we couldn’t be poisoned, what’s the point? You gotta eat. If that seems a good objection to you, I respectfully submit that you’ve given the game away, suggest that you have maybe just proved my point, if you can equate punishing with eating: you think punishment is like food, we can’t live without it.

That’s just not true, despite that we all think it.

My wife and I raised our kids without using punishment once, and my girls did not grow up wild and amoral. They are moral and brilliant, and if they do anything wrong, it’s never anything punitive or violent. Because that’s just crazy when it’s supposed to be for a good reason, let alone when it goes pear-shaped.

My model, my hypothesis predicts this: that this phenomenon, angry mass shooters, is not going to change and it’s not going to end, because the prime driver, punishment, has something like Diplomatic Immunity. It isn’t going to improve because of ideas about gun control, because in the Punishment Culture, or the Punishment Cult, the tools of violence are held on the ‘solutions’ side of the ledger. If we could change that, then real change could be possible. But until we do change that, this thing isn’t going away.

Because the basic thing happening there? You LIKE it.

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3 thoughts on “Getting Carried Away – Punishment Psychosis

  1. Benjamin David Steele January 5, 2016 / 6:30 pm

    A government that uses harsh punishment as social control teaches its citizens by example that harsh punishment is normal and acceptable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pamela Spiro Wagner June 24, 2017 / 6:05 pm

    Omg you have hit nail on the head here…and why do i say this? Because even though you know i have always agreed with you about these things, just recently, because of a profound hurt and anger at family i wrote things in anger like

    “i wish i could strap on a suicide vest and go to your luncheon and just before i pull the trigger, i would let you all know why i am here and why you will die with me!!!”

    If this is not at least anecdotally proof of what you wrote in your post, then i dunno what is, but it showed me how devastatingly right you are, and how sadly far i have to go….the very fact that i would even think in such terms shows how much i still have a punishment mindset, even though of course i would never do such a thing, or even share such thoughts with those to whom they were directed.

    I know and have always known you were correct in your thinking Jeff, but it is obvious that agreeing with you is not the whole cure. I have been studying non-violent communication (marshall rosenberg) etc but the traumas of my past, not so far off, still pverwhelm me to this day and i cannot keep myself from quite violent angry verbal outbursts, punishing those i believe are hurting me or want to hurt me…i dont want to do this, not in my right mind, but the effects of the trauma are such that my anger ans hurt get the best of me, and i have not yet learned to PAUSE AND THINK and to cool off and consider anything before shooting — at least before shooting my mouth off.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Jeff/neighsayer June 26, 2017 / 12:39 pm

      it’s all part of a protected behaviour, I think. Our self-abuse – humans hurting humans – is what keeps us strong and vicious, it’s what makes a group “strong” in the sense of surviving a competitive environment, but if we know that’s the equation, then we’re in danger of not making it – like I didn’t, like many good folks might try not to if they could figure it out. It’s a Murphy’s Law, six of one half a dozen of the other sort of thing, you don’t see it, you’re maybe socially happy albeit confused, but if you see it, you’re maybe none of those things, you’re unconfused, struggling to be social or happy. But it’s almost THE human behaviour, and protected, so no shame in falling into the mindset, it’s pretty unavoidable, a total setup. And how much time and energy have you spent doing that compared to most people? You are clearly not a big winner in this world that works like this, that makes you one of the good ones if I know nothing else about you. The good folks try to absorb some of the bad feeling in the world, try to take some amount of it out of circulation, right? That’s you, I’m pretty sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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