Saturday, April 21, 2007

Making Sense of Virginia Tech

It's so terrible as to seem surreal. To survivors and the families of victims, it must feel as if they'll never overcome it. It jolts all of us out of our normal lives and rams us face-to-face with a reality we seldom have to face.

Thank God.

We're swamped with opinions from every possible angle. But precious little understanding. Today on Thinking with Somebody Else's Head, Making Sense of Virginia Tech.

Benjamin Franklin said that the tragedy of life is that we get old too soon and wise too late. There are thirty-two people from Virginia Tech who will not have the luxury now of becoming either older, or wiser. That opportunity was snatched away on April 16, 2007 by an obviously demented and troubled young man.

In Unforgiven, his bleak but wonderful film about morality and murder, Clint Eastwood says, "It's a terrible thing to kill a man. You take away all he is, and all he's ever going to be." We're reminded of that now.

How do we make sense of this? For make sense we must, because this horror that many in the U.S. are living through is a daily fact of life for millions around our troubled globe. And if we want to contribute to stopping this - and I believe we must contribute in some way to stopping this enormous humanly-caused death and destruction - we must begin to try to face the causes of it.

St. Augustine was courageous, I think, when he said that he had the same tendencies inside him of the worst criminals. I mention that not to suggest that we are the same as the Virginia Tech killer, but that we must begin to see our part in the greater panorama of human destruction on our planet. After all, people are suffering in Afghanistan and Baghdad and Somalia and Rwanda, as well as in Virginia.

Furthermore, Virginia is an anomaly. Those others are ongoing. I believe that it is this consciousness of our human destruction that we have an opportunity to become more conscious of now so that we can take big steps - not only to healing - but to resolving the problems in the human soul that cause us to create such a punishing society.

Today, I'll have a profound conversation with Dr. Claudia Pacheco, vice-president of the International Society of Analytical Trilogy in São Paulo, Brazil, about how we can understand Virginia Tech.

Click here to listen to this episode.
Click here to find out more about Podcasts.



Anonymous said...

Hi Richard

In terms of a solution, how would one go about helping themselves (you mention he had so many opportunities to get help ect.)? Obviously medical drugs may make this kind of illness worse, but then what would be the resolution? I wonder where the envy and isolation come from in the first place (whether biological, or hereditery.. I would have enjoyed hearing this side of it if it was on the podcast too.


Richard Lloyd Jones said...

Thanks for your comment, Alex. Well, this is obviously a little complicated, but resolutions must begin to show up in the psychological and medical help that we give these people in need. Just pumping them up with drugs doesn't work at all. As we discussed in this Podcast, they serve only to exacerbate the alienation. In cases of very psychotic people, this can be extremely dangerous since it often simply augments the symptoms.

My personal view is that the scientific world needs to take more notice of Keppe's work in the area of psycho-somatic healing, and gather a more complete understanding of his profound work into how the human psyche really works. There are some ways to help these people, but they're not too much known about in the mainstream. So it's up to Podcasts such as this one to try to spread his knowledge a little.

As for envy, this is something that we're born with to varying degrees. It's not part of our human essence, but exists in us now because of our inverted views of reality. But envy's a trickly little mother since it's almost completely invisible, so we don't have contact with it generally. But there are ways to become more aware of this. Keppe's written an extraordinary book about the subject, and the good news is it's available in English. It's called The Origin of Illness, and you can order a copy through any major bookstore, or here: to order.

It's important to stress that these psychological conditions are not biological first, although they can and do have physical effects eventually. All of this envy and alienation is nurtured in the human psyche, and there's nobody in the world who understands this better than Keppe.

Hope that helps a little, Alex. Let me know if you'd like some more clarification.