"Don’t get it twisted!"
RuPaul photographed by Mathu Andersen for Workin’ It! RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Style
Dr. Keltner is an expert in Social Personality. Throughout his career, he has observed emotions and sees them as a tool which enables humans to adapt to the complications of social living. One of his awe inducing studies in relation to emotional disorders is that in which he is able to deduce certain characteristics, like marital satisfaction or well-being, by simply analyzing a senior year book photograph. Currently, he is studying how positive emotions shape ones hobbies, living environment, and relationships with others.
At the advent of his lecture, Dr. Keltner hypothesized what many of his adversaries would deny; human beings are a kind species. He kicks off this lecture with ‘Sympathy Breakthroughs’. He cited a book by Jonathan Glover titled Humanity. Glover writes about the unpredictable actions soldiers execute when face to face with their enemy. He calculates a staggering 75% of soldiers are unable to kill their fellow human beings. Dr. Keltner moves on to discuss the question, “Why are we good?” He concurs with Russel Wallace, author of Sympathy Created By God, who believes kindness is a product of the supernatural; evolution is too competitive in nature to produce kindness. He also sides with Thomas Huxley, author of A Cultural Construction, in his belief that compassion is developed when society constructs its moral code. Darwin also seems to side with this idea when he says, “[sympathy] will have been increased through natural selection for those communities, which included the greatest number of the most sympathetic members, would flourish best, and rear the greatest number of offspring.” In other words, if human groups are more compassionate they will be kinder and offspring will be healthier and live longer. Sound similar to chemical equations? You reap what you sow.
During the latter half of his lecture, Dr. Keltner emphasized how compassion is spread and how to locate compassion in others. His principles of the spread of compassion are as follows: a prominent care giving system is important, surrounding oneself with cooperative people is vital, and standing firm the belief that compassion is contagious. Dr. Keltner surprised everyone when he stated the most credible signal of compassion is not in ones demeanor, rather tactile contact. Through touch one can communicate an array of emotion like gratitude or anger, in some situations, tactile contact can even build trust. He recalls observing the NBA, they execute tactile contact through high fives, embraces, fist bumps, and chest bumps. The most reliable signal of compassion is not facial expression as one may assume, according to Dr. Keltner, the most accurate compassion-o-meter is tactile contact.
In a chemical equation, the rearrangement of atoms is similar to Keltner’s philosophy of reaping compassion and sowing compassion. He also enlightens us on how to find compassion in others and how to share it with the people around us.
Raymond Pettibon (American, b. 1957), No Title (The bright flatness), 2003. Watercolor on paper. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Mental health care reform is not as essential as it is made out to be by the media. News agencies like to paint a picture of a lunatic being at fault for mass murderers, but that is only to sell papers, get viewers, and increase ratings. There are violent crimes that happen every day, only the most horrific ones receive media coverage. Which coincidentally, occur at the hands of those suffering from mental illness. Who will tell the stories of those slaughtered every day at the hand of the clinically in-sane? More lives can be saved from restricting access to guns, alcohol, and drugs because these are the pathogens that claim thousands of lives every year.
Contrary to popular belief, people suffering from mental illness are not the people who are committing the most violent crimes. According to Source E, 7% of male schizophrenic patients without substance abuse problems were convicted of a violent crime, in contrast, 30% of male schizophrenic patients with substance abuse problems were convicted of a violent crime. This shows that mental illness, on its own, is not as eminent a threat as the media makes it out to be but that mental illness in conjunction with substance abuse problems can be a deadly mix. This belief is further solidified in Source F, where an analysis of 20,000 individuals was conducted and found that there was a direct relationship between levels of violence and drug abuse problems. The overwhelming evidence pointing to drugs as the culprit of violent acts, proves mental health care reform is not as vital as it is made out to be on television. There are more people being lost to drugs, think of your loved ones. The ubiquity of drugs at home, on the streets, and in media is a problem worth discussing.
Furthermore, the funds required to treat the severely mentally ill would not be effective to ceasing mass murders. According to Source D, if more funds were allocated to mental health and hospitals, patients would get the attention needed to be healthy. However, this would be ineffective to stop mass shootings because these shootings are caused due to extreme, rare, and severe conditions of mental illness. The 25 percent of Americans suffer mostly from depression or anxiety disorders - which in no way cause someone to become violent. Additionally, according to Source A, 14 percent of adults with mental illness had been violent in the last year. But anyone can become “violent” what truly sets apart violent tendencies and violence demanding immediate action is who is committing the crime. Which, according to Source B, “mass killings are very rare events, and because people with mental illness contribute so little to overall violence, these measures would have little impact on everyday firearm-related killings.” Therefore, the funds required to enhance mental health care would not be effective towards the cessation of mass killings, because the mentally ill are not the ones performing the mass killings.
An effective mental health care system would be something to celebrate and enjoy, citizens deserve the right to health care and the government should be providing more services for people suffering from mental illness. However, the notion that allocating these funds to mental health will stop killings is illogical because of the staggering number of violent acts being attributed to drugs and alcohol (substances you can buy at your local 7/11). Mental illness is not at fault for the thousands of lives lost annually, drugs and alcohol are to blame. What are your kids doing?
Violent acts are more attributed to substance abuse problems than they are to mental illness. Additionally, an increase in funds towards the mental health care system would not end violent acts because the mentally ill are not the main perpetrators.
Same Love (Cover) by Angel Haze