How interconnected are we
A simple place
It is hard to understand but most people assume that the world is a simple place, where everything has its place. But in reality the world is this complex place where everything has his place, because everything is connected and interconnected. Which means that everything keeps each other in place.
Why do I say connected and interconnected? Because we often think that things are only connected in a direct way like two cities connected through a road or two countries by a border. But most things in this world are also connected through a second connection. Like the states of California and Washington that interconnected by the state of Oregon.
However I do not want to talk about the physical connection and interconnection of US states. I want to talk about the connection between our thoughts, our expectations and their results.
Einstein is quoted as having said:
It is madness to expect a different result from doing the samething.
In physics this is true. If I drop a ball from say one meter high to the floor, it will depending on its elasticity jump almost a meter and keep on jumping till all energy is dissipated. However in social life we have learned that doing the samething can result in a completely different result depending on the person who is on the receiving end of our behavior. And even worse we have learned that doing the samething with the same person can result in completely different results, depending on how the person feels.
For example if I treat someone friendly and normally that person reacts with friendliness, that same person can react angry if he or she had a bad night sleep or if their girl or boyfriend just broke up with them or if that person just got fired from their job or any other frustrating experience. So humans learn rather early in live that expecting a different result from the same behavior is logical. It even forms the basis for our ability to become addicted or obsessive. But it also forms the basis for our behavior to keep trying the samething and trying to discover if we get the same or a different result.
But how does this behavior of expecting different results from the same behavior connect with that fact that our thoughts and expectations are connected to the results we get. Lets look at a strange example.
It is madness to expect a different result from doing the samething.
According to Albert Einstein.
Connections - Interconnections
A criminal example
When it comes to criminals most people think that criminals must stop with their behavior. The most simple sollution to criminal behavior is criminals that get a real job instead of keeping all kinds of people in their jobs. Because we all know that thanks to criminals, we keep the following people in a job:
- builders of prisons and police offices
- law enforcement officers
- medical doctors and nurses
- contracters who repair locks and windows and other things broken by criminals
- insurance companies
- companies that make locks and other products to protect our belongings
- manufacturers of products that criminals like to break and steal
- managers that run hospitals, companies and other organizations that exist because criminals do their thing
But still we would rather see all these people loose their jobs and criminals get a real job instead. However our problem with criminals is that most of them are criminals because we make them criminal.
Nobody is born a criminal and a lot of criminal behavior once was legitimate behavior. For example selling narcotics used to be legal. Coca cola got its name from the use of cocaine as one of the ingredients, until cocaine became illegal. The Brittish empire earned a rather substantial sum of money selling narcotics to Chinees addicts in the nineteenth century, until it became illegal to sell opium in China. The Dutch West India Company made a nice income importing slaves to the America's, until most colonial powers decided that slavery was illegal. Nowadays slaves, opium and cocaine are forbidden products and having them in your posession will get you into jail.
However what if your only possible action to survive is criminal action?
What should criminals do? - Do you have an idea?
What should criminals do, if crime is their only option to survive?
That often is the problem with criminals, most of them are criminal because that is the only course of action that will keep them alive. For example they grow up in a situation in which all they have is crime to survive. And off course there are examples of persons growing up in the same situation who do not become criminals, but that has often more to do with luck then with their wish to not become a criminal. But there are also examples of people who grow up in a surrouding in which there is no need to become criminal and still they fall into a life of crime.
An example of a people who grow up in crime are Afghan farmers who have a country in which the only crop that can survive the harsh surroundings of the Afghan countrieside is the poppie plant. Or what to think of the Columbian farmers who are forced at gun point to grow cocaplants for Columbian freedomfighters. Should they stand up to these terrorists and have themselves and their families killed?
But this criminal behavior is completely normal human behavior when you look at it from a historic point of view. In Europe there are lots of stories about how people used crime to overcome bad times like war, drought, famine or epidemics. All these European problems where some of the reasons for so many Europeans to leave their country and come to the USA. Europeans who could have stayed in Europe and probably would have been forced into a life of crime by their circumstances.
Another sollution - emigration
Off course the emigration of the Europeans in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth century shows one has another option then a life of crime. But it also makes clear that in a world in which almost every country closes its borders to people with a criminal record it becomes almost impossible to escape a life of crime if you grow up in a situation in which crime is the way to survive. And off course if you wait a few generations those criminals become respectable citizens. That is how most noble families in Europe have become respectable. Their ancestors where warlords who fought their neighbors for their lands, and once they had stolen enough property through war they called themselves kings and started to give their friends pieces of the lands and called them dukes and counts and marquess and so on. So you could say that crime pays.
So what is that other sollution to crime if we want to have some effects rather sooner than later. The first off course is to understand that it is our own perception and expactions that makes things the way they are. It is like the Americans say:
- A selffulfilling prophecy.
If you expect someone to be a criminal, you will get criminal behavior. So if you want people not to show criminal behavior you need to expect them to be upstanding citizens. But why is that?
Here is where the interconnectedness of our thoughts and the behavior of others becomes clear.
Because I expect someone to be a criminal I start to behave suspicious. For example I become more vigilant and keep an eye on the person, I suspect, all the time. My eyes wander more often to the person and his behavior than when I trusted that person. My speech is slowed because I am doing three things at the same time with my consciousness, I am trying to talk, listen to and see signals that confirm my expectation. From time to time I make slips of the tongue in which I reveal my suspicion of the other person. I start to clean up the room we are using, and the first things I move out of sight are things of which I think are important and valuable to me and could be stolen.
Because the other persons sees my suspicion he becomes suspicious and stressed and wonders what he should be suspicious about. If we keep this behavior up long enough one of us will start to behave like a criminal. But because we do not think of ourselves as criminal, it will not be us who starts with the criminal behavior. No, instead exactly what we expected will happen, the person we suspected of being a criminal does something that proofs to us that our suspicions about him was right. For example the person becomes angry and picks a fight with us. Or if he or she is a little bit smarter, he or she will steal something that belongs to us, thinking:
"I might as well get something positive out of this negative situation, which stressed me out."
"If they expect me to be a criminal, I must be one. So I better act like one, before they become disappointed in me."
Or they may think:
"Wow this situation has me stressed out completely, what would calm my nerves. Maybe taking something I like will calm me and lessen the stress I am feeling."
But what the worst of this situation is, is that experienced criminals are very susceptible to our suspicious behavior and often very willing to answer our unspoken wish to proof that they are criminal.
We want to achieve
But if we want criminals to change, we need to change. We need to be less suspicious of people with a criminal background. Because that way we create less stress for ourselves and the criminals. But how do you create a less stressful situation.
One possibility is to create a situation in which you do not mind if someone is a criminal, for example if there is nothing to steal or you do not mind if someone steals you can relax when a criminal comes to visit.
Another possibility is to create a friendly atmosphere in which everyone feels free to be relaxed. This can be done by being open to and honest with the person you are entertaining.
A third possibility is to build up your confidence in your ability to address any situation. That could be done by becoming proficient at selfdefence and friendliness.
A fourth possibility is to buy yourself some ease of mind, by buying stuff that makes you feel save. However you should remember that buying peace of mind is something a criminal also can do and that it created the cold wars arms race.
But the best way of getting criminals to change their behavior is by expecting them to be upstanding citizins and giving them the possibility to become productive citizins. Which means not being suspicious everytime you meet a criminal or someone you expect to be a criminal. Giving criminals a chance at a job that pays well and is secure after they have payed their debt to society. Helping criminals develop skills that are usefull and can be used to earn a living.
Because we are all interconnected. Because everytime someone is the victim of a crime, because a criminal had no other option to survive, we are as much the victim as the perpetrator. We are the victim because we feel less safe. We are the perpetrator because we did nothing to give the criminal a different option then crime.
We are all connected and interconnected. Because our thoughts and ideas create the world we live in. If we suspect someone of being a criminal, our behavior will tell the person we suspect what we think. And by acting like we think we create a selffulfilling prophecy. So if we want to prevent people to become criminals we need to start thinking differently from what we do know. That means becoming confident about being able to protect ourselves, but it also means making it possible for others to live a normal life and earning an honest living. Which means we need to be willing to help others help themselves. We need to stop seeing others as we think they are, but as they really are.