One morning, while I was on the bus on my way to work, I suddenly saw a teenage girl carrying a back pack with the word “UGLY” on it. Without noticing I was staring at her, thinking that she was just a few years younger than me and that she wasn’t ugly at all. On the contrary, she had really nice features as well as hair and a unique skin for a girl of her age.
While looking at her, intrigued, these thoughts went around my mind: “ Does she really consider herself ugly?” , “ Did she hear this from someone?” , “may she know she aint an ugly girl?”
I felt, deeply in my heart, overwhelmed with sorrow as I continued asking myself several questions about the girl … and still my eyes kept staring at her.
Suddenly, as if she knew that I was watching her, she looked up and fixed her eyes on mines with absolute precision. They seemed to ask: “What’s the matter!?”. My immediate reaction was a nervous laugh at the same time that I pretended to look somewhere else.
I felt so embarrassed. I didn’t mean anything wrong by staring at her. What would she had thought? Anyway, “It’s better if I don’t look at you”.
If we ask a common citizen about the term violence, without any doubt, probably we wouldn’t receive an exact definition, but a list of different situations that represent this noun like: outrage, rape, terrorism, robbery, kidnapping, murder. All these are just consequence of another kind of violence, one that is systematic, contagious, premeditate but can’t be seen easily. This is** the indifference violence, the “it’s better if I don`t see you” kind.**
It’s known that if we want to eradicate any kinds of malice, the right strategy is to attack the root, not the fruit. As long as the root remains alive, the fruits will continue growing and all the effort that was made will be in vain. A cut tree but with long roots, will always grow green during spring. And here lies the important matter; the roots of social dilemma are silent and invisible.
Peter Senge, in his book “The fifth discipline” describes a behavior archetype, one known as “charge displacement”, this can be explain as follows:
This archetype has been designed with two balancing processes (stabilizers), these try to adjust and improve the troubling symptom:
- The top circle represents an intervention against the “quick solution”, it solves the symptom in a temporary way.
- The lower circle represents a more fundamental answer and the effects are shown in a more gradual way.
- The fundamental solution works in a more effective way , it’s a long term solution.
- The lateral effect appears when a symptomatic solution is used. It has a impact in the fundamental solution, increasing the gap between these two and creating an “snowball effect”.
As it was mentioned before, most of the events that a common citizen would consider violent, are the consequence of other events such as: social exclusion, corruption, social fragmentation, unequal rights, political corruption, social fragmentation, and so on.
All these are urgent as well as vital matters to resolve, so a question comes up: “ Where should we begin?”
The archetype model proposed by Senge, tries to explain that, putting into practice a solution per se (as might be lowering the age of criminal responsibility of minors, increase police force or provide them with more and better weapons) would mean choosing a temporary and symptomatic solution, which demands several resources, with a collateral effect of bringing us apart of the real solutions. Because violence only generates more violence.
That morning a very simple story had an impact on me due to the violence that it engendered. Thinking that, with just a glance, I could make things right, I wanted to tell that girl that she was wrong. But her response was violent and I was paralyzed because of it. No wonder, she saw a completely stranger and she thought of protecting herself. Despite that, I regretted my reaction “Better, not see you.”
We get angry with governments, injustice, corruption, and thousands of other situations. But as we think “Better not see you”, we are indifferent to the needs and until we dare not pay the price for such a fool to say “Sir, but to throw their waste in the trash!” nothing will change. It is time to unite in joint action to achieve the significance of the overall goals we desire.
Is it possible that this apparent utopia come true? Does it make sense without the accompanying of individual action collective? ¿What do you think about it?