Human beings are inherently social animals, but, unfortunately, the ability to properly function as a social organism takes a certain set of resources, of which many of us were robbed or never allowed. Proper human functioning is nearly impossible for those who grew up in abusive environments. Their resources are necessarily focused on the very basics, as I too often have.
At age 20 I struggled mightily with the weight of two decades of cumulative and compounded trauma from extreme child maltreatment and numerous near-death experiences at the hands of caregivers who threatened to kill me.
This, combined with a total lack of psychosocial support that could have helped me recover, put me on an almost unbendable life course of struggle, pain, misery, relationship problems, difficulty with authority, mental health issues, homelessness, joblessness, and high risk of turning to addictive substances, engaging in self-harm, and committing suicide.
I had little capacity to choose anything. I was in survival mode. Indeed, preeminent neuroscientist Dr. Robert Sapolsky asserts humans actually have very little free will; our choices, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings are driven by instinct, history, genetics, and our environment. We tend to forget about the latter.
As shown by Sapolsky’s baboon research, the problem is our social structure, not us as individuals. We need a culture that promotes widespread human functioning as social organisms, not the domination system that destroys this and only serves the greed of those at the top. This is the choice society must make. It’s life or death.