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The Infinite Bully

Bullying is a fact of life--not just adolescent or teenaged life, but all of it. Sometimes, it is a way for the group to ensure the individual remains weak, obedient, malleable; other times it is the lonely effort of one to crack the strength of another so as to stand upon the ruins and bask in the newfound height; and at all times, it is the most primal of efforts to manage that subconscious slithering chill of modern society’s disconnect. To relegate this behavior to some ephemeral stage in human development is to allow ourselves to believe that our ever-looming social disconnect is resolved or overcome at some point in our growth. It is not; it remains with us throughout our lives as a constant, rolling mist so thick we can’t see our own feet--much less anything we’re stomping on.

To define, our social disconnect is that fortress of insecurities and mislead convictions, orbiting around every individual as a snake eating its own tail where the mouth is the lust for security and the tale is the fear that causes the lust. It is the reason we don’t greet those passing us on the sidewalk, the reason we get nervous when we meet someone new, the reason we get scared when we see a stranger at night, the reason our palms sweat when we hold hands, the reason we keep secrets, the reason we can’t always tell the truth, the reason we hate how we look and who we are, the reason we have to lock our doors and bar our windows, the reason we hate and insult and fear and murder. This serpent of terror perverts every human interaction we have from adolescence to maturity and acts as the most fundamental cause for the need for oppression in all of us--the need to beat our fellow man down until there is little disparity between his humanity and the dirt on the ground.

Thus, if the question is how to eliminate bullying, then the only answer is to reverse the hundreds of years of poisonous societal pressures and paradigm shifts that have generated modern society’s disconnected, lonesome mindset. Bullying is not a curable disease; we can treat it and manage it, but so long as we all feel alone, we’ll continue to terrorize each other. The day we discover the cure to bullying will be the day we discover that we are not alone and that there isn’t just one prize waiting for the last contender. To make these discoveries, however, we must first recognize--just as Casey recognized in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck--that “a fella ain’t no good alone” because he doesn’t have a soul of his own but rather “he jus’ got a little piece of a great big soul…[and] his little piece of a soul [isn’t] no good ‘less it’s with the rest, an’ [is] whole.”





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