Blog   Index   Scriba   Consulting   Hobby   Policy   Contact 


Bullying: The village animal

The term "Bygdedyret" - the Village Animal - was coined by Norwegian author Tor Jonsson (1916-1951) as a common denominator for the negative sides of living in rural areas. It has since become a common term, particularly referring to how the culture of small town and villages enforce the Law of Jante.

Since the Village Animal operates at village level, and with individual and societal consequences, I see the animal as a combination of several elements that combined, and in a specific configuration, generate a hostile environment. These elements are:
  1. Personal insecurity in the affected (mechanics of bullying).
  2. Personal insecurity by those who propagates the Village Animal (mechanics of bullying).
  3. Circular self feeding and/or external feeding of a splitting mindset (generating bullying environment).
  4. Jealousy fed by personal insecurity and/or economic contrast (mechanics and/or environment).
Smaller communities are particularly vulnerable to these elements: It doesn't take many people to make up a large percentage of the community, and the short distance to local government also create a short distance to circular self feeding. External sources, such as media, national politics and the school system, also add to the signals and thought patterns that encourage an environment where bullies and victims are grown.

By smaller communities, we do not necessarily have to look only at villages and towns, we could also be looking at clubs and companies. Basically anywhere a community may occur.

On the bright side, this also means that small communities should also be quicker to change. It shouldn't require too much to do, though I do not currently see government as a player in this:

Top-down government policies against bullying have limited effect for numerous reasons, the main problem being the lack of a universal vision: They apply only for bullying at schools, whereas bullying occurs everywhere and in all age groups.

For this reason, the actual programmes that have been developed are not easily obtainable by the common man. Mostly, you have to apply to take part, you should be a school, etc. While they do see some effects, it does nothing to work on the root causes within society itself. Maybe there is a political reason for this. After all, top politicians love to trash each other on TV, thereby teaching everyone that it is acceptable to do so.

Looking for government intervention is actually to repeat the same problem that allows bullying, now on a larger scale: Outsourcing inner strength. So while one might find inspiration from the outside world, the real work can only start with yourself and with the community coming together to work for a common goal: To accept everyone in the community for who they are, and to help each other thrive.

Dealing with the village animal, therefore, I see as part of the same work as dealing with bullying. The solution is basically a two factor approach: First build your own core self, and second inspire everyone you meet to do the same. Realize that the two tasks are mutual catalysts.


Power in music

I do not remember where I heard it, but at some point in my life I learned that in the future, wars will be fought with music. Well, now is the future, and I'm using this knowledge to my own advantage. On my way to and from work, I have a USB stick in my stereo filled with music that strengthens my inner powers or otherwise cheers me up. I now share this play list with you. Use it wisely - that is, learn the lyrics and sing along, the effect it has on you increases exponentially with how loud you sing. Sing from you stomach, sing from your heart.

In alphabetical order by filename at 27.11.2012:

  • A beautiful world (Tim Myers)
  • (Amanda Marshall) Believe in you
  • (ATC) All around the world - la la la la la la
  • (Baz Luhrmann) Everybody's Free - to wear sunscreen
  • Beautiful World (Anya)
  • (Bon Jovi) It's my life
  • (Dune) I can't stop raving
  • (Ella Fitzgerald) Ac-cent-thcu-ate the positive
  • En solskinnsdag (Postgirobygget)
  • Flashdance: What a feeling (Irene Cara)
  • (James Brown) I feel good
  • (M.A.R.S.) Pump up the volume
  • (Mariah Carey) Hero
  • (Passion Fruit) The Rigga Ding Dong Song
  • (Queen) It's a kind of magic
  • (Queen) Don't stop me now
  • (Queen) I want it all
  • (Queen) We are the champions
  • (Rod Stewart) Faith of the heart
  • Super star (Roller girl)
  • (Suzie McNeil) Believe
  • (The Carpenters) Top of the world
  • (Tom Jones) Sex bomb
I might be adding more on the YouTube play list in the future without altering this article.


Dimensions of the Israel-Palestine conflict

It is possibly the most well known conflicts in the world, it has been going on for a while now. Not the longest war in history, but may very well end up earning the title.

Much can be said about the complexity of the situation. In a video from Prager University, Dennis Prager says that he studied "semester after semester discussing the Middle East conflict as if it were the most complex conflict in the world, when in fact it is probably the easiest conflict in the world to describe. It may be the hardest to solve, but it really is the easiest to describe."

The explanation then goes on about the "Israel wants to live, but surrounding Arab states refuse to recognize Israel" perspective. I see this as one axis of the conflict, and a natural conflict by karmic law. After all, the modern state of Israel was founded on the assumption that everyone wanted to kill the jews. Without this assumption, there would be no reason for the Israeli Jewish state to exist in the first place, and the assumption is thereby ingrained into the state at birth, and a task for the state to overcome. Though that is a slightly buddhist digression.

My experience studying various conflicts tells me that the longer a war has been going on, the more complex it becomes. As I have a fairly visual mind, I made a quick drawing of some of the perceived conflicts and a few interesting cash flows (green).

Each conflict by themselves can easily be described, as each conflict is one dimensional. Together, they make a messy two dimensional picture. I note a conflict between the Israeli military and the Israeli government, in that, as with any other government agency, they need to fight for its budgets. Indeed, this means that the military needs military conflict and demonstrated real threats to avoid cuts.

In short, any conflict is about one or more of: power, money, land, revenge. Politics. And as we know, conflicts by themselves do not kill, though they may verily be used an excuse. Therefore, I wish to introduce my three dimensional model, which is what is making this so much more interesting:

This is what would be the proper, religious and ethical axis. While everyone are looking at individual one dimensional conflicts to try to solve the two dimensional problem, the reason we get involved is how we feel about the third dimension, the axis of good and evil. The conflicts themselves may be legit, and conflicts do occur, it is how they are dealt with that is problematic.

As conflicts get deeper, people are pulled downwards, into a darkness where only conflict is perceived, terror and murder are permissible tools, and you're moving away from the divine. Those who manage to elevate themselves from the conflict and see the real madness from above just wish for peace.

In the Israeli/Palestinian area, there are people both above and below the surface. And as is typical, the evil side has a huge propaganda machine. Evil has used propaganda in order to turn "the enemy" into aliens you're allowed to kill. Good has typically not had such a propaganda machine. So if good is to win - that is, for peace to be accomplished - as many people as possible need to be lifted from the hateful abyss of the underworld to the peaceful overworld.

By doing so, those who are involved in each conflict will eventually find their own solutions, we don't need to interfere with every little detail of every little or major conflict, that will all just take care of itself. And this is the basis of many a religion; the fight is not between the Israeli and the Palestinian, it is between good and evil. If we want to help, what we need to find out is, how do we pull people up from the abyss and show them the light?

Fortunately, there seems to be a point where civilian populations just won't take it any more. And hopefully, the people will rise from being the people that everyone want to blow up - to become the people that loves everyone.


Concern for others creates stronger self

His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a speech to the Japanese Parliament, where he basically says exactly the same as what I concluded in terms of bullying. The speech incidentally took place on my oldest son's fifth birthday:

That said, I also realized that my entire series of articles about bullying really IS about finding out, finding in.


Democracy, idiocracy, mediocracy

Over at NaturalNews, Mike Adams has observed the absurd reasoning among a large number of voters. And he blames the chemical warfare between industry and population, turning US citizens into mindless zombies.

While he's right about unhealthy chemicals possibly affecting overall intelligence, I believe he unknowingly touched the real reason for mindless voting at the very beginning of the article:
    I don't normally watch television (the "zombie tube"), but I couldn't resist on election night.
Bingo! The problem is that most people do watch television. The typical daily cycle among hard working citizens goes like this: You get up, go to work, come home, eat junk, watch TV, fall asleep. Does TV generally give people any idea about the political issues? No. Do people generally have any energy left to go do some proper, unbiased research on the issues? No. Do TV-commercials tell them to go vote? Yes.

Sure, a good bunch of people do have the time and energy to research before the election. They are the ones who don't waste their time getting dumbed down by television every night. The one way communication of television is turning democracy into medi(a)ocracy.

Mike confirms that "push media" is overrunning informed thought:
    So instead of rationally examining the ballot measure, they were easily suckered by the anti-labeling messages of the "No on 37" campaign, which used every dirty trick in the book to confuse the zombie masses.
Of course! Research means "pull media", which means you need to spend energy. Anything pushed to you, on the other hand, requires no effort at all.


Bullying: Social ripples

When I was in high school, filled to the brink with testosterone, I had great problems engaging any girls whatsoever. While some would blame my dress code at the time, there would be strange reactions or comments that made me wonder. I later mentioned this to my best friend, who made the following observation: "It seems that someone is purposely sabotaging you by talking behind your back."

After a lot of thought on this, I hypothesized that this was a social ripple effect from the time before high school.

The story

Very early on in school, we were divided between guys and girls. Incidentally, I had a red backpack, so some of the guys insisted that I was a girl and pushed me over to the girls. To start off with, I did my best to stand my ground. Through repetition, and obviously with the addition of the cooties, I took to heart a misconception early on, automatically linking contact with girls and being bullied. While this typically should not be a problem for your average Joe, the intensity and frequency (several times a day, every day for years) of this turned it into a problem.

Basically, anything that could be used as a reason to bully me would be used. So I avoided at any cost to reveal anything that would expand the bullies' options for bullying. And so, I learned to shut myself up.

There was one incident, where the two main bullies pushed me to ask a girl if she wanted to be with me, to which she said yes. In reality, I was happy to hear this, because I really liked her. A lot. Unfortunately, the next step was to tell her that I was only kidding. Which in reality I wasn't. And I wished I did not "have" to "call it off". I felt terrible doing it, and it's an incident that followed me far into adulthood. (Much later, I wrote a letter, apologizing, to which I never received a response, and I don't expect one. So in the sense of self healing, at least I did my part. But that's not what this story is about.)

This one incident was so intense that from then on, I didn't believe any girl who said they wanted to go out with me. I closed myself up and made up thousands of excuses why I didn't believe them, why I couldn't, and so on. In reality, I had one crush after the other, and I would never admit it for as long as I was in that environment.

So after compulsory school, half of the people disappear into other schools or work, bullies seemingly disappeared, there were plenty of new people who had no idea about my past, and as we have learned is typical among teens - I started to take risks. On the occasion that I might actually get a positive response one day, the same girl might have turned completely around the next. Something was going on, and I could not put my finger on it. Eventually, the 100% turn down rate was quite devastating to the little self esteem I had.

The hypothesis

Early bullying turned me into an introvert who, as we noticed, made me avoid expressing my attraction to girls. By doing so, those around me would see me as someone who was not attracted to girls, i.e. gay. When I approached someone who didn't know who I was, they might at first be interested, asked around about who I am, only to learn about a guy who is perceived as gay. Before the end of the day, the exchange of smiles were replaced with them responding with a frown.

I returned to the well established pattern that anything positive said about me was dismissed as an attempt to tease me. In my mind, I had no value to society. I had suicidal thoughts. And my teachers told my parents that I was the happiest person in class, always smiling.

Long term confirmation

I eventually left for "the big world". I was not in touch with anyone for ten years. Through an actual friend, I learned about the back stabbing still going on behind my back - stories about things that couldn't possibly have happened, since I was on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean at the time it supposedly happened. And I started to wonder, what is wrong with these people who have a need to do me harm even 13-16 years after I had seen them?

Shortly after, I hit the wall, passed a kidney stone, spent a week in hospital, was diagnosed with hypertension. So I slowly recovered, I found a new job 1600 km away and stayed there for the next five years. Best move ever. The community I moved to built me up again, and I started to rebuild the spine I lost in primary school.

Again I returned home, for completely different reasons. Strange things still happened out of the blue, the typical red tape moves that occur when someone has decided they don't like me. So the other night, I was challenged with the following question: "Seeing who you are and what you do, you're helping people known or unknown, unselfishly, you do not carry prejudice against them; how is it that you still experience these things, as though you're still a bully victim?"

Simply, because around here, the place I grew up, the place where the bullying started, people still remember their own interpretation of the person I was and use that as their basis for interacting with me. Without realizing it, they are unsuspecting participants of a bullying project that should have ended 23 years ago.

The major difference between then and now: The ever evolving Me.
The difference will become: The ever evolving Us.
Let's focus on that.


Honour, stress and bullying

In the Art of Manliness blog, an interesting article series gives a good description of Honour, its function and in part 2, its decline. Of particular interest is the traditional immediate response to injuries to one's honour. While my first thoughts on honour practices is that this may increase stress, my latest studies of stress makes me now think otherwise.

Maintaining a strategy of immediate response allows the body to complete the full adrenalin-fight-rest-cycle. When the response is completed, the entire thing is over. This, however, is difficult to achieve in an honourless society. It is particularly difficult in situations where you have to battle a boss, who launches the insult friday night, and you can not respond until monday morning. Further, when you do make a response, it is not necessarily the end of the story, because it now has to go through lengths of red tape. The entire thing may last for months before it is resolved, which means that you're likely to generate adrenalin in your body continually for the entire period, wrecking your health.

Further, groups of people with horizontal honour increases social skills, which in turn also reduces stress and increases your support network. Honour is a guideline for personal integrity, which means you have to look inward to strengthen your inner core. It is this perspective that seems to be missing today. As I pointed out in an earlier article, looking outwards to support a fragile inner core is exactly what generates bullies and bully victims.

Which means that honour is another piece of the puzzle.