Essays

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The End of Progress and the Last Struggle

The Decline of the West Heralds Its Rebirth

The Birth of Venus, painting by Sandro Botticelli, 1480-1490.

This essay explores the human side of the world order and encourages the West to preserve itself.

Since the European colonial era, globalization opened the world markets to Western consumption and technology. But because Western populations, partly by external pressure, are ageing, stagnating or even shrinking, in the 21st century, thanks to modern means of communication and transportation, the world’s poor are getting ready to move to the West with tens of millions at a time. The economies of their homelands in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East prove not to be able to provide their explosively growing populations with a meaningful future.

The Emancipation of the Child

Is It Too Much to Ask to Treat Children as Human Beings?

Foto door Trevor Klatko. | CC BY-NC

On March 12th, 2015, British newspaper The Times opened the front page with an article on the extent of the mental health crisis among children. The children involved are those that hurt themselves, that suffer from depression or other disorders. According to experts, the causes would lie in the consequences of “exam stress, school bullying and social media”.

Beyond Conditional Love

Healing Childhood Maltreatment by Breaking Through the Wall of Ignorance

Kinderen der zee (1872) door Jozef Israëls | Rijksmuseum

Every day, the news shows us hotbeds of violence in the world. We are powerless against war, but according to psychoanalyst Alice Miller the roots of violence are not unknown. People only learn to pass on hate and violence to others when they have experienced those things as victims first, especially as a child. Maltreated children learn that they must suppress their true feelings of anger and pain, because under no condition may they lose their parent’s love. Subsequently, they repress the memories of that pain from their memory, but that doesn’t mean the pain heals or disappears.

The Roots of Evil

All Violence is Learned Behavior

Child maltreatment is a source of great evil in the world, “It’s impossible to find one person who wasn’t beaten who beats a child.”1 When we hear the phrase child maltreatment, we think of sexual or physical maltreatment of the sort that leaves visible damage, such as scars or bruises.

We use euphemistic language such as ‘disciplining’ to acquit parents...

The Repressed Past

Healing a Negative Self-Image

IJsland door Moyan Brenn | CC BY

While we can remember a night’s out most fun moments a whole life long, despite our special memory, we often lose the unhappiest memories of our childhood, because we learned to repress them. But if we can no longer remember the historical causes for emotional problems that we suffer as adults, such as for example a lack of self-confidence or a negative self-image, then we will unjustly think the problem is with ourselves.

Turning Gold into Lead

The Life-Long Effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Bunnik door Mathijs Koenraadt | CC BY-NC-ND

Victims of child maltreatment repress their memories out of shame, because of a social taboo, or out of respect for parents, but as long as we keep denying the link between adverse childhood experiences and problems later in life, no therapy or medication will help us solve those problems. By being emotionally honest to ourselves, we can break through the societal taboo on speaking out about the effects of child maltreatment. That starts by daring to ask what kind of effect traumatizing experiences have had on our lives.

Verbal Abuse and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Words that Cause War Trauma

By verbal abuse, scientists mean “scolding, cursing, yelling, blaming, insulting, threatening, ridiculing, humiliating and criticizing” others.1 In their own words, over sixty percent of all parents use verbal aggression towards their children.

Among verbal aggression, scientists also count symbolic aggression, such as, for example, slamming a door shut in...

The Message of Violence

A Conspiracy Against Children

The message violence sends is that we may use violence ourselves as a means to ‘correct’ others who don’t do what we want. Not without reason, from an early age, beaten children pass on the violence they experience to their own brothers and sisters. Hitting hurts, but later in life, the effects of emotional and verbal violence cause greatest psychological problems.

The Invention of Authoritarian Parenting

How the Fourth Commandment Puts Children at a Disadvantage

Newborn babies love their parents unconditionally, but they don’t always naturally receive back the love they give. Under normal conditions, that wouldn’t be much of a problem if society fulfilled its corrective function to call parents who abuse their children to order. Reality, however, proves otherwise.

The Effect of Emotional Abuse

The Blows that Damage One's Self-Image

More than physical abuse, emotional maltreatment damages a child’s self-image, because it communicates a stronger message of negative worth than a smack or a kick.1 Parents sabotage their child’s self-worth by “blaming it, belittling it, humiliating it, intimidating it, terrorizing it [and] secluding it.”2...