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7/1/2016

Howthe"BadGuy"HidesinYourMind

ByJoeBrewer/medium.com
Imgoingtoletyouinonalittlesecret.Thereisnosuchthingasthebadguy.Every
timeweseeanenemyitisbecauseourmindshaveprojectedthemontotheworld.Ifwe
didntcreatethemfirstinourthoughtsandperceptions,theyliterallywouldnotexist.
Butwait,youmightsay,wasnttheguywhojustshotupagaybarinOrlandoabad
guy?Isntheanenemyofpeaceandsecurity?Orwhataboutterroristsandsuicide
bombers?Arenttheybadpeoplewhoneedtobestopped?
Myanswertothisquestionisyes,butonlyifthatisthewayyouconstructyourstory
abouttheeventsthattranspired.Imagineinsteadifyouthoughtabouthow
impoverishedsocialcontextsgiverisetoemotionallybrokenmenandwomenhow
angerandhatredaretheconsequencesofsomeoneactingoutinpain.Thiswouldbethe
foundationforadifferentstory,onethatbringssympathyinsteadofjudgment,acallfor
compassionratherthanrespondingtoviolencewithmoreviolence.
Oneofthemostrobustfindingsinallofthesocialsciencesisthis:
Humanbeingsnaturallyandautomaticallydivideoursocialworldinto
groupingsofpeople.Wecreateusandthemaroundsuperficialthings
likeskintoneandeyecolor,ageandgender,nationalityandethnicity,
sportsteams,andmore.
Yetallofthesedivisionsaresyntheticconstructions.Theyareartifactsofthehuman
mind.Theydontexistindependentlyoutthereintheworld.Therealityisthatwe
perceivethemtoberealinhereintheinternalworkingsofourownminds.Andwe
generallyhavenocluethisiswhatwearedoingbecausethesethoughtprocessesare
invisibletous.
Whyisthissoimportanttounderstand?ThereismuchIcouldsayonthetopicforthis
articleIlljustsharethreethings:
1.Manyproblemsarisefromthehiddenrecessesofthehumanmind.Itis
vitaltonametheunnamedprocessesattheircoreifwewantanyhopeofsolving
them.Thisistruefortheclimatecrisis,economicturmoil,andmanyotherissues
wemightcareabout.Itisalsotruefordealingwithconflictsandviolence.
2.Systemicproblemscanonlybesolvedbydealingwithroot
causes.Failuretorecognizethatusversusthemisanartifactofhumanthoughts
andperceptionswillleadtosolutions(likeregulationsforguncontrolorplacinga
priceoncarbonemissions)thatsimplywontworkinpractice.
Onlysystemicsolutionsthattakeaccountofallrootcauseswillgetthejobdone.
http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/howthebadguyhidesinyourmind/

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7/1/2016

Howthe"BadGuy"HidesinYourMind

3.Projectingenemiesontotheworldisaselffulfillingculturalpattern.We
createenemiesbybehavingasiftheyexist.Behavioralresearchersandfamily
therapistshavelongknownthatviolencerunsincycleswhenthoughtsand
actionsinoneroundrecreatetheconditionsforittohappenagain.Ifwewantto
breakthecyclesandcreateamorepeacefulworld,wellneedtotakeseriouslythis
psychological(andcultural)feedbackasfundamentaltothesecycles.
Thetakeawaylessonfromallofthisisthatenemiesdontexistseparatefromour
judgmentsandperceptionsaboutthem.Badguyshideinourmindsbylurkingamong
theinvisiblet0uscognitiveprocessesthatgiverisetoourthoughtsandfeelings.
Ihavewrittenelsewhereabouthowsystemsofwealthhoardingalsohideinourminds.
Thattheglobalecologicalcrisisiscausedbythelackofconsciousawarenessabouthow
weneedtothinkaboutit.Thathumanityismovingtowardafuturenobody
wantsbecausewehaveunconscioushabitsabouttheuniverseandourplacewithinit.
Thesethingsmatter.Howwethinkaboutthingsmattersmorethanwerealize.Iwant
toliveinamorepeacefulworld.SoIpracticevigilanceaboutnottreatingothersasthe
enemyandlookinginsteadforsystemicrootcauses.Hopefully,moreofuswillpractice
payingattentiontothehabitsofourmindssowecanbegintoreprogramourcultures
andbreakthecyclesofviolenceinsomanypartsoftheworldtoday.
Onward,fellowhumans.
JoeBrewerIamachangestrategistworkingonbehalfofhumanity,andalsoa
complexityresearcher,cognitivescientist,andevangelistforthefieldofculturedesign.

http://www.filmsforaction.org/articles/howthebadguyhidesinyourmind/

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