Trauma is not new to the human race. It may be new to the DSM. It may be new to the general public that you don’t just “get over” traumatic events. It may be new to the medical profession that emotional trauma physically affects the body and brain, not to mention the mind. But the trauma itself, is not new to the human race, or to human experience. From Genghis Khan to the Holocaust, from feeding Christians to lions to the Spanish Inquisition, from stick figure drawings in caves to child porn movies, humans have shown again and again the ability to harm another of it’s kind without conscience or compassion. The effects of trauma are genetically encoded in each and every one of us.
So then why are there good people in the world? Why aren’t we all murderers, sadists, evil? How can a Mother Theresa come from such a history? The ability to overcome trauma, evil, cruelty must also be built in somewhere. Not that everyone can – I highly doubt if Genghis Khan had a nice, happy childhood, rocked to sleep and cuddled. So as society evolves technologically, in math, language, science, knowledge – how is it that trauma and its effects seem to be tearing down that very society, with the overpopulation of jails (where a high number of that population were in foster care), and a basic disregard for another human being? Animal instinct of “me” vs. the evolved “us” that is trying to become?
I have to wonder if it’s because the highly evolved “us” aren’t really as highly evolved as we thought. We may be smart in language, literature, art, science, math – but we aren’t smart in the human condition. Individuals may have evolved to a “us” mentality, filled with compassion, selflessness, a willingness to get dirty and do the hard work instead of expecting someone else “less worthy” or “less educated” to do it for us, but as a whole, we’ve only evolved the outside appearance of the human race, not the inside. It shows by how we treat the homeless, the mentally ill, the foster children, the disabled, the refugees, by how our “aid” programs have CEOs that make upwards of a million dollars a year for their “service” to the world, where it’s workers can’t be bothered so sort supplies donated for flood victims and hand them out because it “wasn’t their job”, a society that puts on a pedestal a fat guy who became a skinny guy – never mind his little fetish, how our version of “giving” is throwing money at something, aka a relief project, and feel we’ve done our part, never caring that little or none of that money actually gets to the people whose lives were devastated by the tragedy to begin with. In other words, we just pretend to give a crap. Pro-lifers who are really “pro-baby” because you see them parading signs at clinics but you don’t see them at the volunteering at the homeless shelters, battered and abused womens shelters, free clinics, or becoming foster or adoptive parents to help those babies who lives they’ve just “saved” or help the women they’ve just judged and put down who can’t afford to feed themselves, much less a baby.
Yes, trauma is not new to the human experience. It just feels new because we’ve put on bling and sparklies, and so the obvious effects of trauma in our society show up so much more against the backdrop of what we pretend to be.
If you’re not a trauma parent, but know one, find out how you can help. If you’re pro-life, become pro-LIFE and assist. If you have money to give, know where your money goes. Hell, fly yourself to Haiti and hire locals to build houses for those lost in the earthquake years ago. The “big guns” never did, even though millions were raised! Get personally involved with your neighbors, your co-workers, that cranky guy down the street who sits on his porch and glares at you when you walk your dog. Stop elevating the Kardashians and start elevating people who really make a difference in the world. Take that Armani suit you never wear, sell it and buy cheap suits for halfway programs for people who need clothes for job interviews. Stop watching reality TV and go meet some people. Stop tweeting and start talking face to face. Be the evolution. We CAN do this – TOGETHER.