The more mass shootings shake society, the more different people propose different solutions in relation to different aspects that play a role in mass shootings:
- gun control – to counter gun availability,
- raising awareness about mental illness – to counter the fact that many mass shooters show signs of mental instability,
- more acutely regulating violence in video games – since many mass shooters are youth who play games, and certain studies showthat violent video games can desensitize a person’s feelings toward others.
Although guns, mental illness and video game or other examples of violence all play a role in shaping the mass shooter’s perception and environmental conditions, none of them are the root cause of mass shootings. Thus, dealing with the problem at those levels will fail to bring about any lasting solutions.
A solution to mass shootings first requires an accurate definition of the phenomenon’s root cause, and then a way to fix the problem at its root.
What, then, is the root cause of mass shootings?
THE CAUSE OF MASS SHOOTINGS: OVERBLOWN HUMAN EGO
The cause of mass shootings is the overblown human ego—self-interest at the expense of others—that society’s current regulations and frameworks fail to satisfy.
The more the ego grows, the more people feel dissatisfied.
Why? It is because our growing desires turn to pleasures and goals on offer, and feel that they cannot extract any lasting satisfaction from them. As a result, we aim ourselves at various self-aimed enjoyments—among food, sex, family, money, honor, control and knowledge—fail to extract lasting pleasure from them, and then turn to those desires more intensively and excessively to find some pleasure there.
We thus see distortions upon natural human needs in all aspects of life, and ultimately society takes a turn toward becoming increasingly manipulative, exploitative, indifferent and abusive as more and more people lose sense of others and become greedier and more narcissistic on one hand, and more and more depressed, lonely, anxious and stressed on the other.
In other words, today’s human ego has outgrown the systems we have created in the past to satisfy it, and the increasing dissatisfaction grows into increasing division and hatred in society. And the more division and hatred abound in society, the more we see eruptions of mass shootings and other acts of terror.
Therefore, today we need a new system to master the exponentially-growing human ego. It should be a system that teaches us:
- What is nature?
- What is human nature (the ego)?
- How does nature interact with us?
- What is the ideal way for us to interact with nature?
- How does our imbalance with nature negatively affect us?
- How can we balance with nature and experience lasting satisfaction?
Since satisfying the excessive human ego would result in less or even no mass shootings from further taking place, then what is the modern solution to satisfy this ego?
The solution is not to satisfy the ego directly, i.e. not to aim for personal benefit at the expense of others, since we see that we ultimately don’t enjoy that way.
The solution is to redirect how we enjoy our lives, i.e. to aim at benefiting others and establishing a new society of unity above the growing division.
As much as depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress has risen in the last 20 or so years, studies such as happiness science and positive psychology have also emerged with various studies showing the benefits of positive human connection: that being better connected makes us feel happier and more confident.
Unity is bound to make us feel better because it is nature’s own quality, and nature itself develops to increasing states of connection, albeit undergoing crises and problems on the way. Therefore, the more we can be aware of the need for, and benefits of, positive human connection on one hand, and the detriments of continuing to live according to our current egoistic paradigm, on the other, the more we can become ready to implement a method of connection that has the ability to connect society above its divisions.
Then the question becomes, what is this method of connection and who has the ability to provide such a method?
THE SOLUTION TO MASS SHOOTINGS: THE METHOD OF CONNECTION
To understand what the method of connection is and who can provide it, we pan back to ancient Babylon 4,000 years ago, an ancient version of today’s modern Western society. A look at how the crisis was handled back then will show present-day parallels that we can learn from in order to successfully deal with modern global crisis.
The ancient Babylonians started out as a united civilization. Eventually, they experienced a growth in their egos. As a result, they began exploiting each other for personal gain and felt increasing social division with its conflicts and hardships.
Troubled by the growing division and hatred in society, a Babylonian sage, Abraham, started promoting his method — a method of connection — which was premised on the idea that by achieving connection among human society, we achieve balance with nature’s own connecting tendency, and thus experience a plethora of positive outcomes: peace, love, happiness, and meaningfulness to name a few. He invited anybody who wanted to learn the ways of nature: how nature is fundamentally a quality of connection, bestowal and love, and how human society could elevate itself above its divisive drives to harmonize with nature.
The people who came to Abraham, he formed into a group.
This group became known as “the Jews,” which means “a united people” (the Hebrew word for “Jew” [Yehudi] comes from the word for “united” [yihudi] [Yaarot Devash, Part 2, Drush no. 2]). That is, the Jews were never a biologically-connected people, but a gathering of people who felt the problems of their civilization’s growing divisions, and that the solution to those problems were in learning and applying the laws of nature’s connectedness to human society.
The rejection of living according to a destructive egoistic paradigm, on one hand, and the attraction to the unifying idea and method that Abraham taught, on the other, eventually accumulated into this group’s attainment of a new, unified perception and sensation of life.
They learned how to not fall to the ego’s demands for self-fulfillment on account of others, and also experienced new elated sensations beyond the pleasures on offer in any other place, resulting from their mutual efforts to unite. Their unity then spread throughout the human consciousness of the time, as seemingly out of nowhere, people started thinking and acting more positively, peacefully, and considerately toward each other.
The sublime state of unity expanding throughout human civilization came and went, as the human ego eventually outgrew the level of unity that the Abraham-led group attained.
However, the immense significance of what this group known as “the Jews” attained — unity above division — remained throughout history, continuing into our era, as a subconscious impression in humanity. In its positive form, this impression is that the Jews have something special that other nations do not have. In its negative form, this impression is that the Jews are somehow responsible for society’s misfortunes. All kinds of reasons are pointed out as to what’s wrong with Jews, from Jews holding too much power in countries they have assimilated into, to Jewish conspiracies, Jewish greediness, and many others. However, the root reason is in what made the Jews “Jews” (i.e. “united”) to begin with: that they once realized a method of connection above human divisive drives, which became the solution to the problems in human civilization, and today they’re expected to do that again.
As human society accumulates more and more suffering and negative impressions toward the realization of its helplessness and desperation — that none of the so-called “solutions” it has to offer, whether it be new policies, laws, weapons, or technologies, will work to society’s lasting benefit — the subconscious demand upon the Jewish people to implement the method of connection they once attained grows.
At this moment it is difficult to relate mass shootings to the role of Jews in the world, but the root of the frustration, hatred and despair that leads to such manifestations is intertwined with the potential that the Jewish people hold to tilt the scales one way or another, to become an example to follow.
Therefore, as soon as we Jews become a force capable of establishing unity above the ego and social division, we will spare the world and ourselves from further suffering, and moreover, will bring about an abundance of happiness, confidence, and harmony in humanity on a whole new level that we have never experienced before. It is my hope that such positive change will happen sooner rather than later.