Shaun Kerry, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board
of Psychiatry and Neurology
shootings, crime, domestic
violence, and hate in all forms plague our society.
Much anger is directed at both our government and large corporations. Consider
the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings as physical extensions
of this anger.
Already, there has been a substantial quantity of plutonium stolen from government
arsenals, enough for the
building of many nuclear
The greatest threat to our safety, however, comes from
biological weapons, such as
In all forms which it manifests itself, destructive anger
takes a terrible toll on all of us. It is a direct
result of unhealthy mental development.
In my years of clinical psychiatric practice, I met many people who
were chronically angry. We called it primitive rage.
Often, it wasn't directed at anyone or anything in particular. It
was as if there was an emotional reservoir in the mind that was and had
been filled with anger for many years.
The psychological impact of bombings, although
dramatic, is less traumatic
than the mind damage that is institutionally inflicted upon most of our
society. Blaming a handful of people for our dysfunctional nature
is mindless. We are all responsible. Although there is no
absolute physical defense against terrorism, we are able to effect a
fundamental change in the attitudes and beliefs that dominate our
society, and often lead to emotional anguish.
America is a great nation, and has been
extremely generous with financial and human aid, receiving
little in the way of repayment. Conversely, we have made many
enemies through attempts to control other nations, either through
inappropriate military action, financial assistance to corrupt
governments, or damaging embargos. We need to listen more and
President Bush has declared his intention to
initiate a prolonged war. Mindlessness is a worldwide
problem, which cannot be solved by use of bombs or through a physical
display of force. Many people will die, and hatred of America
will not go away until, as a society, we adapt a mindful approach.
People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
For our purposes, this statement essentially means that
when you are vulnerable, it is not wise to provoke people.
America is vulnerable by the very nature of her wealth and power.
||This is not 1945.
Military might is meaningless when a single person can create
biological weapons in his basement, and use them to unleash the
destructive force of an atomic bomb. This would suggest that
the age of the superpower is over, and the age of the super-target is
beginning. Before the world discovers mindfulness, I fear
that there will be much more death and pain.
system is so ineffective that we can't even cure the
common cold, much less a plague unleashed by biological weapons.
We could reach that level of effectiveness, if only we were willing to
think and listen to other
anger back to early childhood development, I found that it was
usually the result of three things: abuse, control, and neglect.
The most prevalent theme was that of control. Our teacher-centered
system of education, particularly beyond the forth grade level, is a
form of mind-control. After subjecting an individual to mind
control continuously for a period of many years, permanent damage
When the student enters school, he is
confronted by adults who push their own agenda, which seems
irrelevant to his world. Furthermore, he is constantly being
judged and graded. I find evidence of this in my own experiences.
When I was a student, I spent seventy hours a week studying algebra,
geometry, and Latin: all represented as knowledge that was essential for
my future. At the same time, one of my next door neighbors was
screaming and raging with a chronic psychosis. My neighbor
on the other side suffered from severe depression, and her husband would
constantly come to our family for help. Most of my friends had at
least one alcoholic parent. The real world and the school world
seemed miles apart.
In the past, experiments with progressive
education were rejected for one
reason: standardized test scores decreased. The people in control
are constantly preoccupied with test scores. In the field of
clinical psychotherapy, there are many written tests. The majority
of psychotherapists, including the best and most effective, do not use
them. They understand their patients by listening to them and
using their intuitive senses. Written tests only measure a small
part of the personality, and rarely yield any useful information that
cannot be obtained by listening.
In the field of medical practice, laboratory
tests are of limited value. The most important tool remains
listening to the patient. An important rule in medicine is, "Treat
the patient, not the test."
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