Punishing the Innocent
We live in complex societies that are drifting towards chaos. In complex systems we have what we call “emergent causes” of complexity that produced drastic societal effects. Emergent means they weren’t predicted and emerged suddenly. We assume the causes and try to eliminate their effects only with the causes increasing because they weren’t addressed. The result is chaos of every person seeking his/her own well. The social structure is unstable and we need to self-organize our thinking into new structures. One example is punishment and the cure for it. The laws of punishment need to be addressed and the whole law system may need new thinking. Who is responsible for the misconducts is perplexing because factors interact and it is difficult to isolate s cause to cure it.
We are part of nature. What we find in plants and animals extends to humans. Why some plants are aggressive? Why some animals are overly aggressive? Why humans are showing increasing aggressive behaviors? Is there a common line of causes among them? It is the chemistry that controls the behavior that is disturbed by several factors that cause all species to develop aggressive behaviors.
Let me explain by examples.
It has been known for some time that, irrespective of the pathogen, the immune system uses common mechanisms of defense and clearance in plants, animals and humans.
Animal behaviors maybe affected by sensing the vibrations of incoming danger. For example, spiders feel the vibrations of a foreign species entering its web and become aggressive. Humans are indifferent. Humans have chemicals in their brains that sense the danger. A chemical known as serotonin helps human in building acceptable social behaviors and reducing aggression. So, what happens if we reduce this chemical in our brains? We shall notice a tendency in aggression. This is what we are doing humans in several ways including:
· Industrial Activities- production of chemicals from so many industrial activities that deteriorate the social health. These chemicals may act as endocrine disruptors. Endocrine is made up of glands that secrete hormones which act as regulators for cells and organs. Research indicates that endocrine disruptors are likely contributors to neurobehavioral deficits and disability, including autistic disorders. Toxic chemicals are found in household products. These chemicals affect our bodies and in turn affecting their behaviors. Are we the prey of our predating activities?
· Poor Diet may result in aggressive behaviors- recent research findings established that food maybe deprived from the serotonin because it is not produced in sufficient quantities because the food we take is poor or deprived of the components that produce this quieting-chemical. Our brains are affected by what we eat. Poor diet may result in aggressive behaviors. Yet; we rush to punish the aggressor while the causes remain intact. This is a losing battle and shall only lead to more aggression. WE deal with the effect, but not the possible emergent causes that resulted from the interactions of many factors.
· Senses Reasons- Yes, humans’ behaviors is affected by our senses. Chemosignals are chemicals that signal to our brains of something happening. This is a topic that aroused my attention upon reading “Fruit flies release a distinct chemical substance – an aggression pheromone – when provoked. In humans, personality traits related to aggression and dominance can be detected by smelling individual body odor, while competitive behavior has been seen to produce fear-inducing chemosignals”. Sometimes, our behaviors are influenced greatly by small volatile chemicals. We experience this when we see a child’s tears because these tears contain chemosignals.
· Environmental Factors- Children living in agricultural areas with poor health were found to have different levels of chemosignals in their brains than the fortunate kids who afforded to eat well
I want to say that human activities are affecting the chemicals in our brains. Big question remains- if an aggressor commits a crime and analysis established that because of deficiencies of certain chemicals in their bodies they became aggressive. Is it their fault? With children living in countries like Syria, Iran and Iraq and other countries exposed to so many chemicals that deteriorate the chemical balance of their brains combined with nasty smells and poor nutrition and increased stress are they going to be responsible for their acts when they grow up? Do we need to change our view to blame the innocent and leave the real aggressors?
Social capital is eroded because we punish the innocent.