Emotional Literacy Education and understanding the hate and violence of September 11, 2001.

emotional literacy education self-knowledge

Emotional Literacy Education,
Hate, Violence & September 11, 2001
How to Make the World a Better Place Chapter 5
by Mark Zimmerman

Go To:
Chapter 1 Emotional Literacy Education and Self-Knowledge
Chapter 2 Emotional Literacy Language and Vocabulary
Chapter 3 Emotional Literacy Education Teaching Compassion
Chapter 4 Emotional Literacy Education Understanding Fear
Chapter 6 Abraham Maslow, Emotional Literacy and Ortho-Education
Chapter 7 A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow
Chapter 8 Self-Knowledge Learning Needs vs. Maslow's Self-Actualization Skills
Chapter 9 National Standardized Test, FCAT Testing and State Tests
Chapter 10 The Cause of War and a Solution

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On September 11, 2001 the world saw nothing new. Violence is as old as mankind itself. Violence begets violence. Revenge elicits revenge. The cycle of hatred is unceasing in mankind's history.

From the Infidels CD, Bob Dylan wrote, "Democracy don't rule the world. You'd better get that in your head. This world is ruled by violence. But I guess that's better left unsaid."

America has been a victim, but it has also been a perpetrator of violence. We Americans have been violent whenever it has served us. Destruction of the American Indians, violence against African Americans to force them into slavery, the war in Vietnam, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, the tragedy at Kent State University, and the creation and support of dictatorial regimes - are some of the actions perpetrated by us against others.

Why is humanity, why are we, so violent? It is because of our instinctual drives, evolution and the survival of the fittest. In many animal species the most violent are also the most successful. It creates temporary control of the social order, and first access to food, water, shelter, clothing and reproduction. It is the motive behind our selfishness. Another motive is fear and paranoia. To protect what we perceive as a threat to our way of life, we attack those who we perceive as different. Oftentimes, we don't distinguish between differences in others that are beneficial. The problem is that doubt and fear lead to unreal perceptions. These false ideas cause us to act in irrational ways. They cause us to reject those who would actually be the most benefit to us. Violence is used to create hierarchial systems of government. Violence comes in many forms - not just inflicting pain, damage and death on others, but also in the form of systems of government through unjust laws.

Prejudiced and racism are natural outcomes of the human mind. They function through attitudes of like and dislike. We show favoritism to those we like and reject those we dislike. This creates all kinds of unequal situations and laws. Violence helps us to support what we like and suppress what we don't like.

While we have been struggling to make sense out of the violence that happened on September 11th, I have been struggling with another contradiction. Why has so much adulation, that has gone out to firemen and policemen, not lead to calls for higher salaries? What I find most striking about the result of September 11th, is that I have not heard one politician or business executive say firemen and policemen are underpaid. Or that they deserve much more than society gives to them. Congratulations, pinning medals and giving awards does not put food in the mouths of their children.

This leads me to question why our great civil, public and military servants are not shown greater respect. I believe school teachers, policemen and all other law enforcement officials, firemen, the military and anyone whose full time job it is to serve the public good, deserve higher salaries. I have not heard policemen or firemen complain, but I feel they deserve to be paid as much as any executive at Enron or any other corporation.

School teachers, instead of receiving increased salaries, are getting larger class sizes, less teacher aid time and threats of decrease in salary for not bringing their students grades up. Most of the control, that teachers had in the classroom, is now legislated by politicians - who do not know the first thing about education.

A few years ago, I was living in a three story multi-building apartment complex. From my back patio, I could see the next apartment building as the two buildings formed an L shape. One day, I smelled smoke that I never had smelt before. I saw smoke coming from an apartment in the building next to mine. I called 9-1-1, and within five minutes the firemen arrived. It was summer with 90 + degree heat and humid weather. I watched these firemen go to work. First, I saw the firemen and firewomen put on oxygen masks and fireproof suits. They walked into the burning, smoke filled apartment to see if anyone inside was alive. I saw their professionalism, organization, skill and dedication. I saw first hand how they risked their lives to save another. Fortunately, this time, the apartment was empty. They quickly put the fire out.

When, we Americans, are in trouble we call firemen and policemen, because we know they will come to help us. When we want our children educated, we depend on teachers. And it is more than just a pay check to them. They really want to help us. When our houses are on fire, or someone is trying to break into our homes, we do not call corporate executives or politicians.

Why are corporate executives paid such high salaries? There was a time when the creation of jobs was so important that we have given the highest value to those who create jobs. The industrial revolution has put us to work. The profit motive of corporate executives has all but ruined the good that comes from the creation of jobs. Corporate America has polluted this land. There are more people dying every day from automobiles (death rates), tobacco (death rates) and alcohol (death rates) than lives lost on September 11th. Why do we accept such high casualty rates from corporate business as usual? Corporate America takes no responsibility for the obvious detriment it lays upon the American people. The sole cause is the profit motive. It is without remorse and merciless. It is self justified through the pleasure derived by the profiteers.

I am not advocating making the above illegal. I am merely pointing out the fact that these corporate executives and politicians do not care whether Americans live or die. Their only concern is that their profits are maintained. The Emotional Literacy Education system, that I am proposing, will help students (future politicians and corporate executives) to have compassion. It is important to me that they care about what they do, how they do it and who they do it to.

I am not against corporations or capitalism. I am angry at the attitudes of corporate executives and politicians that are detrimental to the American people. Their selfishness, apathy and hatred are what I feel must be changed for the survival of humanity.

This change will not come through laws. It will only come through an education system that makes students aware of both beneficial and destructive attitudes. For example, I want corporate executives to be generous, compassionate, and understanding of the needs of people. I want them to stop ignoring what they are doing which is harmful to the environment and hurtful to people. I want them to be creative in such a way - that they are creating a better world, rather than tearing down the natural world for the temporary gratification of the few elite. I want them to stop being arrogant. I want them to stop being deceptive through advertising, and to start being truthful and honest.

I do not believe corporate executives, politicians or anyone wants to be selfish, apathetic, hateful, arrogant or deceptive. It is just the way we are by our nature. We cannot be at fault for being what we are. We can discover and support new ways to become better people.

Emotional Literacy Education teaches all human attitudes to students. It teaches them about hate and compassion, frustration and patience, selfishness and generosity, deception and truth, anger and forgiveness. It then allows the student to choose what attitude is appropriate for a given situation or relationship. For example, certain situations call for anger. Other situations and relationships require understanding, compassion and forgiveness to achieve the best result. I could find forgiveness for politicians and corporate executives, if they would put children first instead of themselves. Until then, I see no end to this hatred and unhappiness we call civilization.

Additional online books and articles by Mark Zimmerman
Format - Real Audio The Old Man of the Holy Mountain
Format - Real Audio & Text The Book that Changed My Life
Subtitle: The Making of The Old Man of the Holy Mountain

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