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Dysfunction exposed

idea lightbulbDysfunction reviewed under an new light and the main reason it occurs

(1st edition - Nov 2013) by A.O. Kime
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The dictionary describes dysfunction as “impaired or abnormal functioning” but what exactly is ‘impaired or abnormal’? Obviously it is left to interpretation. With no absolutes to draw upon we must rely on opinions. Unless, of course, one would rather trust their own opinion. And, it is probably as good as any. Recognizing it is further complicated by the rituals of societies which help mask dysfunctional behavior.

But primarily the focus here is on what is to blame. It’s because it has been officially and professionally ignored… totally unacknowledged. Although many people may have concluded as much, someone must say it.

To put it bluntly, the cause for dysfunctional behavior can be traced to society’s laws, regulations and protocols. Since the dysfunctional atmosphere of societies is what creates unstable people, who in turn are responsible for practically all ills of society - specifically the crime and violence - in the end society has itself largely to blame. With the makeup of societies (manmade) invariably being in stark contrast to the natural order, the aspects are bound to sit precariously in the logical mind.

Sitting precariously is the problem… to be tipped one way or the other.

Of course, psychiatrists and sociologists have surely recognized this except they dare not report it. No professional will publicly say “it’s largely the fault of society our prisons are full”. The authorities would probably have their license revoked… certainly nobody would invite them over for tea anymore.

While some people are unaffected by this unnatural atmosphere - at least not to any noticeable extent - the majority seemingly are and the tell-tell sign is their dysfunctional behavior. From their behavior one can even get a rough idea how much they were (are) affected. Admittedly however, sometimes it’s hard to tell if they are truly dysfunctional. It may just be a quirkiness due to habits for example. Still, it seems, a quirkiness usually spells dysfunctional.

But for the soon-to-be criminal, something else happens… their mind morphs (effectively). They become largely irrational, largely anti-social and entirely arrogant. They must also be arrogant, after all, how else can they justify they’re deserving of another’s property? Or have the right to take a life?

At this point you may either agree or disagree - either partially or entirely - but whatever the case one can usually gain something from other opinions. As said, there are no absolutes in this ballpark. There is no referee either to tell us whether we’re close or not. However, a lifetime of observing isn’t exactly a shot in the dark.

The natural order

While those imposed laws, regulations and protocols may be logical within the framework of a given society, nonetheless their gears still don’t mesh with the natural order… the natural order being the original circumstances (before man tried to civilize himself).

Of course, that which civilized societies impose on themselves are purposed to produce safety, security and justice. Obviously then, it is generally necessary to usurp naturalness to achieve these things. Except… many people have trouble reconciling this unnaturalness while some can’t reconcile it at all. In their mind, to usurp the natural order is madness. It may not necessarily be a conscious determination either but a subconscious one. Whichever the case, the whole affair creates an atmosphere of consternation… affecting, to some degree, one’s state of mind.

Those who can’t reconcile it are invariably unstable (or driven insane). And, the further society strays from the natural order the more these people will exist. But just having trouble reconciling it is seemingly quite common. One would be ’only human’ to question the rightfulness… after all, it isn’t natural.

In the end however, most would conclude that having justice, security and safety is more important. Yet, they would still have to deal with the awkwardness and intrusiveness of it all. Nor do all laws represent justice. This all creates anxieties from which dysfunctions are born.

Since anxieties also determine the amount of alcoholism and drug use, one can easily determine how well a society is performing. While other factors might explain a portion of a country’s excessive numbers, the unnaturalness and all it entails is the primary reason.

In Charles I. Glicksberg's 1943 analysis of Alfred Korzybski, the author of Science and Sanity, Glicksberg wrote:

“At present the normal man, according to this view, is in reality a dead average, a socially approved mediocrity; hence he is pathological because he has not given expression to the fullness of his potentialities.” (excerpt from Glicksberg's General Semantics and Psychoanalysis)

Reflections of a society

Crime and violence isn’t always the fault of societies however - such as thievery by those who would rather not work or the killings out of passion and revenge. Or crimes due to greed. Otherwise perhaps as much as 80% can be traced back to the makeup of the society.

For example, Russia reportedly has a far bigger problem with alcoholism compared to other countries. And, compared to other countries America has far more drug users. What explains it? Unless someone can cite a reason or a combination of reasons which makes sense - and they haven’t - one can only conclude something is amiss with their societies. While it points to either despair or apathy, they too must have their origins and in most cases it is surely due to this unnaturalness. More specifically, the public perception of this unnaturalness. But perceptions can be controlled, managed… it’s up to society. Mainly it’s the excesses at fault.

Although religion lies at the heart of the troubles in the Middle East - but ‘societies’ nonetheless - it is a prime example of the destructive nature of a dysfunctional people.

"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.". ~Voltaire

Note: An utterly shocking observation!! Before I stumbled upon it I didn’t think there was such a direct correlation. So very-very odd for a human propensity but evidently true.

Laws, regulations and protocols

So what constitutes this ’unnaturalness’ that societies create? Well, while one can point to manmade laws in general, it would also include the prevailing pretence and hypocrisy. Protocol is mostly responsible for the pretence and hypocrisy but laws and regulations can generate them too. Ostentatious ceremonies and enforcing idiot regulations top the list.

For instance, ’victimless crimes’ such as laws against prostitution, gambling and drug use. Or the permitted operating hours of a saloon. Clearly, victimless crimes are a carryover from the Spanish Inquisition (laws religiously inspired) while ’drinking hours’ comes from the same mentality. It is a mentality from the Middle Ages. It is not rational that societies should allow religious do-gooders to dictate and that is hard to reconcile.

Furthermore, any rational person would conclude that the act of riding herd over habits is not only intrusive but dysfunctional. It means that not only do societies create dysfunctional people, societies are dysfunctional themselves.

As for ceremonies, it’s the ostentatious ones. For example, a funeral parade and a 21 gun salute for an official or police officer. What then is a murdered clerk of a convenience store… dog meat? If it doesn’t sit precariously in the public’s conscious mind, it does subconsciously.

Seemingly, to rationalize the irrational is also dysfunctional. While it may be prudent to “go along to get along”, it still smacks of being dysfunctional. After all, it’s the belonging to a club… a club whose rituals are to project aberrations of yourself. Pretence is dysfunctional, no?

Add it all up and it makes for a very weird world.

“We must consider one final objection to using the methods of science in the world of values. Science, according to a very popular view, deals with a fatalistic world in which men, their wants and ideals, are all parts of a reel which unwinds year by year, minor whirls in a fixed dance of atoms. Values can have no place in such a world, and efforts to attain them by science must fail.” ~Edward L. Thorndike (excerpt from his Science and Values - 1943)

Gods of dysfunction

Although insanity hasn‘t been directly addressed in this article, it didn‘t seem necessary. In beating around that bush one can clearly see where it is rooted. Simply… insanity is an extreme case of dysfunctional thinking. It could be said that insanity awaits at the end of the road and urging people forward are the gods of dysfunction.

These gods of dysfunction are, of course, institutions (if not also political correctness).

Yet, despite all the damning evidence societies refuse to take the blame. Invariably governments and the media cite (invent) other underlying reasons for all the crime and violence. An honest study should demonstrate the most compatible (the most publicly acceptable) societies are the most crime-free.

And, a properly managed society equates to a publicly acceptable society. That doesn’t mean more controls but less. Less feels more ‘natural’. Who can argue with that? Of course then, the people within such a society would be the most down-to-earth (not dysfunctional).

"You must admit that the genesis of the great man depends on the long series of complex influences which has produced the race in which he appears, and the social state into which that race has slowly grown… before he can remake his society, his society must make him" .~Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

The demeanors

But to spot people who are down-to-earth is also easy. Or, as another way to characterize them, it’s those who ‘got it together’. Often it’s because they radiate an air of confidence or are otherwise ’super cool’. Maybe it’s to soon discover they are so amazingly ‘mentally balanced‘… those who seem to react timely and ideally to every situation. It’s also uplifting to see such people… even if one is also intimidated or envious. It’s more-so true with an imposing figure… a very big man or a very handsome one. So revealing are the looks on people‘s faces… as if in the presence of a god.

Radiating outward in such a way is powerful stuff and for the sake of the world more such people are needed.

That doesn’t mean dysfunctional people are ‘socially disabled’ however. It appears most react normally in many (or most) cases. For example, they’ll donate money or food to the needy when called upon. And, they’ll engage themselves in other ways. Where they fall short would depend on how they are dysfunctional. Still, dysfunctional people are more apt to be unhappy, more frustrated, more irritable, less confident and maybe even sicker. To whatever extent, there is a price to pay. Paying is the individual, family, friends, associates AND society.

But imagine a world where dysfunctional people were the exception rather than the rule. Imagine a world where societies don’t keep shooting themselves in the foot.

The selling of laws and regulations

But since societies must have laws and regulations to maintain order - this fact needs to be properly ‘sold’ to the public. If governments were to admit laws and regulations can cause anxieties (because they are unnatural) - perhaps to even apologize for them - the ‘medicine’ wouldn’t taste as bad. It would be appropriate for any new laws enacted. It should be stated “we’re sorry, but…. ”.

Think about it… it’s only right that restrictions and apologies go hand-in-hand. Only an iron-fisted ideology would believe otherwise. Simply put, the public would love to hear the rational for a law firsthand and directly… as if to them the official excuse was tendered. And the public would be absolutely thrilled to hear a congressional apology.

The public would then feel as part of the whole instead of just subject to it. It’s all about public relations (PR). As businesses have learned, the main component of PR is good customer service. Furthermore, businesses modernize… and they certainly wouldn’t tolerate any Medieval traditions.

As it is, the traditions of societies haven’t advanced since the days of catapults, broadswords and Lochaber axes. Standing out is the issuing of war medals (glory in war?) And, we still use the same calendar that Caesar used. It’s a wonder top hats and pantaloons went by the wayside.

As a result of following the business model, gone would be a great deal of dysfunction within societies. Bottom line… far less alcoholism, far less drug use, far less crime and far less violence. It would be the natural consequence.

A nation full of dysfunctional people ain’t good and it sure ain‘t pretty.

A.O. Kime

Last modified: 03/09/16