Dark Thoughts: Personal and Collective

1508552_705489946150179_333021707_nBy Terence T. Gorski, Author
January 8, 2014

Dark thoughts can envelop our soul. We create some of these thoughts from personal experience, but not all of them.  Real but hidden threats cause some of these thoughts. Historical memory of devastating wars, poverty, and disease are the source of others. Many dark thoughts come from the collective unconscious of the group mind reflected in the deep rumblings of  the core violence of human culture.

There are bigger currents of humanity that move through our minds – a collective current that touches us all but is acknowledged by few. Our troubled violent history and current problems disturb us to the core of our being. It is easier to deny, to self-medicate, to distract with destructive pursuits. To look away is tempting. Denial, however, does not work very well in changing reality.

Human civilization is dark and violent. Human beings have a long history of collective and personal violence. War and violent crime have plagued humanity since before the beginning of written history.  The first recorded war occurred over 5,000 years ago and human beings have been systematically slaughtering each other with the best available technology ever since. War is the primary driver of technology and economic development.

Violence may have created and certainly sustains human culture. Read the Bible or the Koran and take note of the wide-spread murders, wars, plundering of cities, the women raped and murdered, and children put to the sword. Much of this slaughter was done in the name of God. It was also done to get new lands and steal the wealth of others. It is too often rationalized as the will of god.

The violence that permeates culture creates chronic pain called ANGST – the universal pain of the human condition. Living with the conscious knowledge that we will die causes us fear. To know that we need to love and the violence causes more violence causes shame and guilt when we live a world where life must feed upon life in order to survive. Addiction may well be a universal cross-cultural mechanism for managing this primal fear. There seems to be a strong relationship between fear of violence and both addiction and mental health problems. There is strong evidence that primitive religion emerged as a result of ritual practices to stop collective mob violence in primitive communities.

As long as we deny the violence all around us and pretend that it doesn’t exist, we ware part of the problem. We silently enable the violence and refuse to see what we are doing. The dark thoughts that we push deep into our mind, however, haunt us and often emerge at unexpected times. We are all guilty of perpetrated or enabling violence.

While hanging on the cross Jesus said: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This statement tells us why we are all culpable for the violence that surrounds us. If we don’t continue to improve our violence control mechanisms based on human empathy, individual societies and the world can lapse again into world war and domestic riots.

Tremendous resources are invested in national and international violence control mechanisms. War is expensive. So is crime.  Many of us prefer to deny this fact. It is easier to pretend that civilization is based upon a foundation of peace and love. It’s not! History has taught us that denial of violence does not work. Denial results in more violence. The social processing of violence, in a peaceful way, is necessary to establish any solid foundation for future peace.

It is hard to accept the truth and then stand for something better – a higher truth that we are also a part if something better. The problem is that power structure of the world has a solid foundation and a need for perpetual violence. To develop a peacetime economy that is not preparation for war is a goal that has yet to be achieved.



4 Responses to Dark Thoughts: Personal and Collective

  1. Steven J Taormina says:

    to deny my inner violence- is to deny my humanism..

    I am almost offened to see or hear those that act(re-act) as if they have No inner violence..there is something missing when your expecting to see rage & loathing in a persons eyes and you only see ..calm..and controlled behavior.. I dont trust this…. or is this merely being a good Budist?

    • Terry Gorski says:

      One way f managing feelings is to repress them. I am not sure if this is what meditation does or not. Much of today’s psychology is aimed at feeling better by denying reality. Wealthy people — or at least those who are not poor, hungry and homeless — where are the tests on what happens when the poor, hungry and homeless do meditation.

      Tragically, people are using spiritual approaches to deny reality. Life is what happens in-between meetings. Spiritual and religious practices that are not part of cult indoctrination teach people to live in reality not apart from it.

      Early Catholic Monasteries were a step up for the average person living between three and five hundred AD. The poverty was mind-blowing and the vow of poverty with an assurance of some food each day and relative safety from the violence all around was truly a step up.

      Buddhism became a primary religion in a strict cast system where there was nothing to do but accept your place and hope you weren’t reincarnated as a rodent.

      My new battle cry is: LEARN HISTORY. DON’T DO STUPID ANYMORE.

  2. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually
    something that I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will
    try to get the hang of it!

    • Terry Gorski says:

      Addiction can be a complex thing to understand. There are many misconceptions and confusing ideas about it in the culture and in the professional literature. My understanding is that addiction results from complex interaction of physical, psychological and social factors. It is genetic influenced but not caused. Genetic, prenatal, early childhood, and adolescent factors increase the risk of addiction. To keep it simple, I like to follow an old 12-Step principle: If it causes a problem it is a problem. If you have problems because of alcohol or other drug use, you are probably addicted. Stop using. If you can’t stop or stay stopped seek treatment from a certified addiction professional.

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