9 Mental States, Childhood Training, And War
Slightly more than 2300 years ago, Socrates was put to death for ‘corrupting youth’ with his ideas about building sound societies. The courts found youth were being ‘corrupted’ because the ideas Socrates presented undid some of their childhood training. They were trained to believe there are two kinds of people on the planet: their people and foreigners. Their people were good, kind, benevolent, generous, honest, and wanted only the best for the world around them. The others were evil monsters trying to destroy everything the good people were trying to create.
Socrates recognized that this training was largely responsible for war. If people were trained to be violent fanatics, starting with earliest possible age, they would be more likely to be violent fanatics than people without this training. The people who ran the war machines were only threatened by Socrates ideas because they were true.
The training systems in the society he inherited (the same as the society we inherited) were basically indoctrination centers. They took people who might have spent their lives trying to find ways to make he world better into mass murderers. Many others have made the same point: schools run by the same organizations that make war (governments) are very dangerous. The governments have incentives to create biased education systems that reinforce our natural tendencies to divide the world into parcels and inflect miserable and painful death on members of our own species that happened to have been born outside of the parcel that contains ‘our people.’
We now have tools that we can use to mitigate this problem. If we want to gain time so we can get to sound societies, we need to understand these tools and take advantage of them.