• Navigating Human Values

  • Won’t You Be Mine? Won’t You Be Mine? Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

    Mr Roger and Neighbor,

    I was watching a video of Mr. Rogers from 1969 that someone posted on Facebook. Mr. Rogers was in front of the congress making a case for his television show to get approval for funding.  The congressman hearing his case was very tough at first and seemed like he had already made up his mind against it. In just a few minutes Mr. Rogers was able to explain about children’s emotions and how they may be able to understand them and harmlessly express them and how they were ignored by the society. He talked about how violent cartoons of the time with scenes of one hitting another on the head couldn’t teach anything, couldn’t help anything and in fact could teach wrong values and misuse of natural human emotions. His explanation with simple words was beautiful, true, powerful and important, which got him the funding and started a much loved show by all ages.

    What Mr. Roger had to say about our children and how they learn human values made me reflect back on all those times I had opposed mine and other children in our inner circle to play games that kill to win. Blood shed, body parts flying everywhere and the rush of energy that players got from their participation. I always thought that was barbaric and could not lead to simple fun.

    Today’s news filled with horror of our children killing for real. Why not? Playing all those video games, which normalize killing, harming and cultivating “harm joy”. How can games of killing leave an impression of compassion for the pain of others? Violent video games don’t solicit emotions of kindness rather they evoke excitement and joy as a result of violence. Is there no relationship to the recent teen killings and violent, blood shedding video games? Perhaps we can go back and listen to how Mr. Rogers brought simple truths about the needs of our children and reevaluate what the corporate world is allowed to develop for children. There seem to be no sense of consequence, compassion and responsibility for design and production of violent games and messages.

    As we know practice makes perfect and whatever we get exposed to and participate in over and over creates neuropathways in our brain. Some of these neuropathways we wish we didn’t have as they can cause tremendous amounts of suffering for ourselves and others. So as parents and caretakers we can be Mindful of such impacts.

    As practitioners we can be Mindful of what we participate in on a regular basis and evaluate the benefits or hazards of such participation’s. Happiness, though a natural right, it is not automatic unless we make it so.

    Wishing all of you awareness and care for your own safety and happiness as well as for all beings.

    Love,

    Manijeh