Structural violence denotes behaviour that has its roots in human nature and evolution. It serves the purpose of reinforcing the existing power structures and order of society. This has given stability to society and made progress possible. Structural violence is in its essence accelerated evolution, but at a certain point it becomes an obstruction for continued evolution. As society keeps evolving structural violence in all forms is discontinued as it becomes obsolete.
Examples of structural violence are discrimination of all forms such as racism, psychiatry (especially schizophrenia), apartheid, oppression of women, children, elderly, and handicapped. Apartheid and psychiatry are the same in that they both represent structural violence when it has become institutionalized. Bullying is just an example of when the behaviour gets out of control, which might be considered neurotic.
I will look at the root cause of this behaviour, the idea behind it, and point to the individual I see as responsible for having created all structural violence. Finally I will give a solution to the problem.
All forms of structural violence are based on the idea of forcing a group of people to submission. This comes from the idea that humans have different values which supports the idea of submissivness, which means that we show submissivness to superiors and require it from those considered inferior. The actual structural violence is the behaviour required to make the subjects submissive.
The following two sentences are the origin of all structural violence: I am better than you. I am worth more than you. This give rise to the idea that I have a right to force you to become submissive towards me.
Why do we have this thought process? It must be that we dislike that which is different from ourselves. What does different from ourselves mean? Behaviour that is deviating from our behaviour. What is behaviour? All behaviour is the result of a thought process. This would mean that structural violence has its roots in an inability to accept a deviating thought process in others.
A group or individual that is being forced into submission will try to adapt. In doing so all behaviours that serve no purpose but to annoy others will be removed and replaced with more purposeful behaviours that aids in adapting. Those behaviours that will be retained are those which make these individuals happy. From this we understand that structural violence eliminates useless behaviours and extracts useful behaviours.
The idea of submissivness is built on the idea of that opposites attract, that is to behave submissive to those considered superior and to require the same behaviour from those considered inferior. It should be understood that the idea of submissivness originates out of the false idea that you can assign different value to people. We see that the idea of humans different value supports the idea of submissivness which support the idea of power. All succesfull behaviours are supported by the idea of conformity.
Morality is interpreted as obeying laws and rules by these individuals. The lack of morality means that we might get reaction formation, meaning that these individuals will chew your ass off if they catch you doing something stupid. The idea of submissivness permeates all of your behaviours. For example a trivial thing like saying hello to someone becomes important in the sense that whoever says hello first is showing submissiveness according to this idea. Material things reflects your position in life. For example, a Ferrari represents that you are somebody, but to a person that has morality that car represents a piece of art.
I call this personality type for infantile. This personality's characteristics are social incompetence, unhealthy desire for power, unhappy and dissatisfied with life in general, sees himself as a superman (compare Nietzsche). Lacks conscience. The term infantile stems from that the development of personality is halted during teenage. These individuals have not successfully developed an identity and therefore has no capacity for empathy. Basically these individuals have no personality, they have roles that they act in order to get the upper hand, or be socially accepted. The lack of identity activates the defense mechanism known as reaction formation and creates the delusion “I am somebody” (maybe I’m the superman that Nietzche talked about), which also is hubris. Descartes said: “I think, therefore I exist”. These people think: “Somebody is kissing my ass, therefore I must exist”. This comes from that these individuals subscribe to the idea of submissivness instead of morality. This is why these individuals lack a conscience.
Another characteristic behaviour among these individuals are that when they are not successful at something they simply switch to something else instead of making an effort of becoming better. This is because of there belief that they somehow should be special and good at something. To them life is supposed to be easy. If things become difficult just do something else. That’s how they deal with adversity in life.
It’s my understanding that these individuals in the past always have tried to uphold the power over life and death, which means that these individuals used to become priests as long as the church had any influence in society or in matters of life and death.
People need to adopt the following thought process: We are all unique with special gifts. All humans have equal value. The idea of submissivness must be replaced by the idea of morality. This would remove the root cause, and in doing so all behaviours considered as structural violence. In other words structural violence would cease to exist.
Morality is a thought or belief where the consideration of others take precedence over self interest and where you are always accountable.
The idea of submissivness is concern about self , while the idea of morality is concern about others. The thought that lay behind morality is that how happy would you be if you were alone in the world? We all know the answer to that, so we better concern ourselves about others, which is the starting point for all morality. We also have to understand that all of our behaviours are determined either by morality or submissivness.
Lets start by putting forth a basic principle of the moral: Morality is a thought or belief where the consideration of others takes precedence over self interest and where one is always accountable for one's actions. The thought or belief (action) is determined as a compromise between the two conflicting emotions by reason with the intention of doing good. This means that the consequences to your own person are weighed against what might be achieved. The above said could be considered to be my moral philosophy, the basic idea I have of what moral is. The compromise that reason is supposed to give us is best reflected in Matthew's words (Matthew 7:12): "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them".
Lets take this one step further and say that morality is a thought or belief where the consideration of another creature take precedence over self interest. This can be carried one step further if we say that morality is a thought or belief where the consideration of society take precedence over self interest. Which can be carried one step further if we say that morality is a thought or belief where the consideration of nature take precedence over self interest. Ultimately we can say that morality is that consideration of the universe take precedence over self interest. Self interest can of course mean the interest of a group or country. From this we understand that morality is contextual.
Lets consider the consequences of this. Than UN than becomes a body suiteable for taking decisions concerning the universe and the world (nature). Each country decides how to protect and further the interest of society through its institutions. Within all societies exist organisations that are concerned about certain issues of the welfare of society, such as environmental organisations. It’s the individuals possibility to start or join any organisation that aims at improving society. An individual should primarily be concerned about other people. It’s never an individuals or a group’s right to decide to further the interest of the masses on behalf of a minority. The right to mistreat a group of individuals must be the responsibility of society and preferably a democratic society so that the question can be openly debated.
Lets apply morality to the conversation between two people. Since all of us want people to listen to what we say. Having morality will than means to always try to listen to the person talking to you. I just did this to show that having morality profoundly effects who you are.
Lets try to get a deeper understanding of what morality is. Using my table over the human nature one might argue that morality is the conflict between the instinct hierarchy and one of the others. Depending on how this conflict is resolved we get a certain amount of dignity. Dignity is consequentley the mixed emotion of at least two instincts. Dignity is in that sense a complex emotion just as love is, which is why love and dignity are so powerful. So we have a synergistic effect here.
In other words morality is to consider the happiness of others first. But morality is an uncoscious model in the human nature that make us happy by giving us dignity. This means we become happy by making others happy. That is a good cycle. This makes morality the most important unconscious model we have. Maybe this was the reason for Socrates to say that those who know the right will act rightly.
Lets look on the consequences of such reasoning. Socrates is probably the person throughout history that has had the best understanding of what it means to have morality. Socrates chose to die happy with dignity instead of living a life in disgrace (and unhappiness). His reasoning must have been something like this: If I choose death than I've made my point one final time. That is that a human being must have morality to be happy. Socrates consequentley chose happiness and dignity over life. This is actually very much how people in western societies treat their animals. If an animal isn't happy and there is nothing we can do about it we have the mercy to put it out of its misery. Socrates made that decision for himself. From this we can also understand that morality makes it possible for the individual to seperate himself from the group, which means it might be the final step in the individualisation process. To be an individual means to have a choice. Moral gives us the possibility to make our own choices by giving us the power to walk away from the group. This is probably what Erich Fromm meant with freedom for the individual.