Kabir Vega Castellanos
Recently, while returning from my English class on a bus, I saw two men in the middle of the vehicle start an argument and hit each other several times. Some people pulled them apart but the two kept provoking one another, such that they started to brawl again (and right next to me). It was a very uncomfortable situation – when people are overcome by rage, they don’t even stop to consider they could hurt someone around them.
A brawl like that is probably something common anywhere in the world. The other day, however, I saw something more disquieting on my way back from school: an old woman carrying a sack full of empty cans tried to get on the bus through the back door and the driver shut the door on her to keep her from boarding. The woman began to pound on the door furiously; then, she picked up a stick and broke a window next to a seat where a little girl was sitting. Luckily, the girl wasn’t hurt.
The passengers didn’t seem too taken aback by the incident, but I couldn’t stop asking myself where we’ll end up if people continue to react in such ways.
A few days ago, a child who was trying to get the attention of another kid who was at a distance from him, with his back turned, walked next to an overloaded garbage bin, picked up a bottle from inside and smashed it against the ground. The other kid turned around immediately on hearing the bottle break. I couldn’t believe a kid could do something so violent to get someone’s attention.
When one reads about the zombie apocalypse in the United States or about kids who shoot their classmates and teachers, one tends to wonder about the entire concept of “civilization.” Not even in the Middle Ages, no matter how savage society might have been when compared to ours, it was inconceivable for a child to pick up a sword and try to slaughter all of the people in their village.
Where is all this violence coming from?
The more realistic and brutal the violence in a videogame, the more that videogame sells. Combats ceased to be based on respect, as the martial arts or codes of chivalry teach, many years ago. Battles ceased to be between “good and evil” long ago.
In games such as GTA Vice City, players must act like criminals and theft, aggression and quick escapes are the guarantee of success. That isn’t the worst of the lot: in The Punisher, a third-person shooter which isn’t really that recent, players must torture their victims as efficiently as possible in order to heal their own wounds.
Something similar is happening with horror movies: they just don’t know what to come up with to frighten people these days, not after so many monsters, serial killers and criminal acts shown in the most explicit detail, to get the imagination of sadists going, it seems.
Not even comedies are immune to this epidemic. Gratuitous sex scenes, dirty jokes and black humor are more and more common. Snuff pornography spreads like wildfire.
Some believe that one can only be happy if one fulfills one’s desires, but, what happens when our desires make others suffer or can even cause them their death? Why, if happiness is achieved by satisfying one’s desires, and there’s more and more freedom in the world, are people still not happy?
It is clear happiness isn’t to be found in the freedom to rape women, men, children or animals, in killing or torturing, even when people feel that they are venting their rage and frustration that way.
I believe human beings first ceased to be happy when they ceased to understand what it means to be free.