You don't have to look far to notice that people are terrified about this election. American psychologists have been writing about it. Everyone is scared, not just one side or another. And we've been scared for a while already, since before 2001 even. It just keeps ramping up.
The psychological roots of the modern fascination with Zombies relates to a doomsday feeling about our time and more recently about this election. People are even more afraid than they are angry.
No matter who wins or looses, a significant portion of the US population thinks that all is lost. We're goners. This is going down the tubes. There's no reconciliation, the other guys are idiots. There's no compromise, how can you compromise with evil? It's enough to make the sanest of people very uneasy, and enough to drive the slightly unstable right off the brink.
We need to find a way back to civility. Desperately, we need this for the survival of our nation, our families, ourselves. We need to get comfortable looking people in the eye and telling them what we really think and why. And we need to do them the honor of listening to their thoughts and reasons too.
Honesty has fallen by the wayside, and been replaced by Bullying and Obfuscation. The media can't be trusted, neither social media like this blog, or commercial media like TV news. It's hard to know what is real and what is hype. The amount of screaming about how close this election has become is not functional, I think it will shut people down.
It's sad to say but today more and more people talk like politicians. All you hear is obstructionism, evasion, and distraction. An opinion is supposed to be worth something even if it is founded on nothing. Whatever happened to having reasons for your beliefs, for finding evidence to support your position?
We can be honest. We can sit quietly and say I don't want this because I'm afraid. I do want this because I hope for something for my kids. I have reasons for my choices, and they may be my feelings, or they may be something that I believe to be a fact.
Belief is imperfect. No matter what you believe you can be mistaken. But you are still of value, even if you don't know all the facts. You are a human being, and you can learn and grow and make your own decisions.
Remember that. You too are a human being and your greatest power is your ability to care, to laugh, love, and connect. Through that you can sustain yourself and your dear ones through these troubling times, and build the strength you need to talk honestly with someone that you disagree with. One on one.
Last night we saw the second movie in the series. The gist of it was that some of the "tributes" (ie young people forced to fight to the death for the amusement of upper classes) were forced to return and fight again because of some law about the 25th year anniversary of the government's takeover--even though they had been assured that by law they would fight once and if they survived they'd be allowed to live in peace.
Our heroine played by Jennifer Lawrence was forced back into the brutal scene, where she persists in being quite human with emotions and an aversion to killing. She is an excellent actress. I won't tell the ending in case you want to see it, but I will warn you that it is exceedingly violent. The killing and brutality in these movies turns my stomach. I cannot sit through it, have to close my eyes, or get up and go to the back of the theater to do yoga. When it turns particularly awful I take a bathroom break. Even with these approaches to keep from being disturbed by the violence, it disturbs me. My heart rate goes up, I sweat, and I don't calm down completely for 4-6 hours after such a movie. This movie series is not the only one that is so violent. The vast majority of movies for young people are very violent, if I am to believe what I see in the previews.
It appears to me that many young people sit through these movies and do not get disturbed by the violence. They don't seem fazed at all. The only way that I can imagine not finding this stuff disturbing is to be emotionally shut down. Watching people be beaten and die horribly for unjust reasons is enough to induce PTSD in a normal human. Even in the movies. So if these kids are really undisturbed by violent movies, I wonder if they are sociopaths. If they actually enjoy seeing such violence, they might be psychopaths. Are we creating a generation of pathologic youth by exposing them to this kind of material? It is a question worth asking.
As I was watching the movie I was thinking about the research study I'd like to see done. I'd like to see whole audiences wired to monitor heart rate, sexual arousal, and palm sweat. I'd like to have them tested for adrenaline, testosterone, and cortisol, before, during and after the movie. I'd like to know if they youth really aren't fazed by this stuff, or if they are just pretending to be tough and cool. It matters.
Teresa Gryder ND is a naturopathic physician with a unique perspective on mental health, and a wide range of evidence-based alternative treatments to consider. Originally from Tennessee, she currently practices in Portland, Oregon.