Kabir Vega Castellanos
HAVANA TIMES — Though I do not have access to the Internet and I am unaware of what ratings say about the interests of the general public, in Cuba I am always exchanging all kinds of information with friends and, without having to go too far, have been able to see that violence is a common denominator in people’s actions.
I am not saying everything stems from violence, but that I cannot help but see an invitation to violence in most things. Violent videogames where one mistreats and tortures living beings cannot have a positive impact on the minds of the children who play them – human beings store memories and later act in accordance with the information accumulated.
Perhaps in countries where society is highly organized, no child can pick up a stray animal and subject it to everything they’ve learned in a game of this nature, for they know such actions are against the law. But it can and in fact does happen in countries where animals aren’t protected by any laws, like Cuba.
I’ve personally noted an increase in animal abuse. Only cats were mistreated by people at one point, but, some time ago, I saw two puppy dogs near my building that someone had stoned out of pure pleasure. They spent hours whimpering in pain.
A friend of my parents’ was saying to us that his wife no longer wants to take any trips to Las Tunas, the province she’s from, because of how many women are being killed there regularly. He said it had become common to hear of men who killed their wives with a machete.
I recall that the documentaries I would watch as a kid were designed to educate people or provide them with information which, though not always useful at the personal level, proved interesting and even entertaining.
Today’s popular saga 1000 Ways to Die, by contrast, dramatizes around three deaths in every episode (accidents and sometimes murders). I wonder what one can possibly get out of seeing the agonizing situations people go through before dying a certain way.
Many anime series teenagers watch these days are chilling. A show like Hunter X Hunter, which I mentioned in a previous post, strikes one as a children’s show at first. Creatures that feed on human beings, however, are introduced sixty episodes into the series. The worst part is that they not only seek to fill their stomachs, but also amuse themselves torturing, mutilating and doing all manner of atrocious things to people.
I am not aware of what the most recent videogames are like, but, if violence has become a requisite for entertainment, what hope could there be for a medium with worlds designed to satisfy the most morbid impulses of players, where people are rewarded for hurting, killing and engaging in other massive sadistic practices?
I’ve heard of places that have known great tragedies (genocide, natural catastrophes and other such events) that are now drawing more and more visitors, a phenomenon that has been termed “dark tourism.”
Masaru Emoto’s “water messages” have shown us the damage words can cause. We’ve even seen people use negative energies to get rid of forests that stand in the way of cultivable land, in the Solomon Islands (the island’s inhabitants gather around the trees and curse them; shortly afterwards, the tree dries up).
It is also known that the worst psychopaths and murderers were the victims of psychological abuse and physical violence as children, that they simply reproduce what they learned as infants.
I don’t think much remains to be demonstrated in this connection. What we need is for humanity to take this seriously. That violence should attract people and sell should not be enough for us to continue to exploit it and ignore the consequences.