There is Something Wrong With Us As A People

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I am not one to berate my culture. However, change only comes when we begin to question why we do certain things and we weigh the benefits as opposed to disadvantages of particular cultural practices.

Physiologically speaking, pain and pleasure have more in common than one might think. Research has shown that sensations of pain and pleasure activate the same neural mechanisms in the brain. Pleasure and pain are both tied to the interacting dopamine and opioid systems in the brain, which regulates neurotransmitters that are involved in reward- or motivation-driven behaviours.

That said, my question is why does it seem like we focus on exerting pain more than pleasure? Are we sadists as Zimbabweans? Or do we have a great number of masochists?

Indeed, there are some masochistic individuals out there who enjoy being in pain. Nonetheless, my argument is that culturally we are engineered to be somewhat sadistic. It seems to me our culture sets us up to be sadistic; we are almost programmed to be humans bent on hurting others. We are taught from an early age to inflict pain on others as a way to assert dominance. Mothers, fathers in our culture seem to use beatings as a way of asserting dominance and a way to discipline children.

Growing up in the school system in Zimbabwe one would be beaten for failing to answer a question correctly. Fear, intimidation and corporal punishment were tools of choice. Our parents and our teachers mistakenly thought that the use of force or beating a student or child was teaching.

If anything this only instilled a propensity for violence and taught a non-peaceful method to resolve issues.

Therefore I ask what are the benefits of inflicting pain on others? Why beat up someone?

If one does not understand a quadratic equation maybe your teaching abilities are at fault. No amount of beatings or punishment can help the one you are beating or punishing to better understand the formula to solve a mathematical equation.

There seems to me to be sadistic characteristics in the way we culturally deal with problems. Take for example, someone who disagrees with what is said by others, I often hear such statements as he/she need a thorough beating. Why do we resort to beating someone into changing their view? Do we not as a people propagate the use of violence?

Our mothers, fathers and families in general somehow think one can be or should be beaten into compliance.

I have heard people misquote scripture, some claiming “spare the rod spoil the child” as being a biblical justification for beating children.

The phrase, “spare the rod and spoil the child” is not a Christian phrase and is not in the Bible. That phrase actually comes from a narrative poem written in the 1600s titled “Hudibras” by Samuel Butler.

Corporal punishment does not have its basis in the Bible. When one examines the verse, “He that spareth the rod hateth his son,” one needs to understand the tools shepherds used in tending their sheep. They used a crook to lift sheep out of holes they had fallen into, and they used the rod, a straight stick, to guide them. The sheep were not beaten with the rod. “Sparing the rod” in that sense, means that a parent must guide his or her child and teach the child right from wrong.

The word “discipline” comes from the same root word as “disciple,” and discipline is teaching, training, setting an example of proper behaviour, and giving consequences that help a child learn how to behave better.

The word “punish” comes from a root word that means to inflict physical pain.

Does every argument or disagreement have to end in violence or pain? Why do we seem to think that one can be beaten or punished into submission?

Furthermore, nowhere in the New Testament does Jesus tell parents to use corporal punishment with their children. Beating is not discipline; it does not teach a child how to be a better person. It is punishment and teaches that the method of dealing with people who don’t do what you want them to is to hit them. It creates fear, and children do not learn in an atmosphere of fear.

Like I stated earlier, I am not one to berate culture and traditions but some of the things that we follow must be challenged and changed. There is a strongly held and common albeit little said belief amongst our people that condone domestic violence.

‘If he doesn’t beat you he doesn’t love you’ sad as it is there are women out there who believe this nonsense.

Shockingly, there are men out there who are supportive of attitudes justifying physical abuse of women, referring to a passage of scripture in Ephesians 5, “wives submit to your husbands”. Idiots who still subscribe to the notion of beating someone into submission.

According to United Nations statistics, up to 70 per cent of women experience violence in their lifetime and the most common form is physical violence inflicted by an intimate partner, with women beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused.

Conversely, violence is not confined to a specific culture, region or country, or to particular groups of people within a society, but the roots of violence lie in the persistent perpetuation of unchallenged cultural wrongs.

We have to change our ways.


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Brill Pongo

Brill Pongo

God’s author. Media Consultant. Journalist. Editor. Motivational Speaker. Father. Philosopher.

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