Wednesday, 29 June 2016

ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny

A few days ago in the raw aftermath of the latest mass-shooting, I recalled seeing a fleeting headline that one ought not be so quick to turn to the seemingly lone and mutually exclusive alternative explanation for such tragedies—aside from the matter of stricter gun control: mental health, assuming that imbalances and deviation from the norm risks further alienation by being a second to terrorism.
I didn’t know how to feel about something that at least initially struck me as backdoor apologies and perhaps cryptic political-correctness, and this essay by Steven Asma, for Æon magazine, that identifies the thread of toxic masculinity (the weaponized loser) I can’t say settles the matter but does add another dimension to ruminate over. Failure to domesticate and thus manage inchoate male aggression and drive is a failure to socialise an individual as a member of broader society, and a theme repeated again and again sometimes manifesting itself in awful ways. The scenario of the disassociated savage plays out equally badly in whatever context—be it the Cosplay Caliphate and cadet groups or a jilted young man raised in a civilised framework, just add ammunition to the equation. As much as civilisation seeks to domesticate these instincts, there are also coping mechanisms just as deeply ingrained and arguably all the trappings of society were engineered to curb, redirect or harness this drive. What do you think?