Last week, Ellis Kirkland, a Rosedale resident, and (rich and) famous architect with diplomas from Harvard and University of Toronto, grabbed a kitchen knife and stabbed her concierge as he helped her move her belongings. She then proceeded to run away and find a hiding place until the police “beat down” the door of her hotel room and found her cowering on the balcony. They arrested her there. In December, Rohinie Bisesar, an MBA holder from York University, fatally stabbed Rosemarie Junor in a random attack at a Shoppers Drug Mart line up. Apparently, she may have had some financial woes but was well-liked by peers and colleagues. She is currently facing first-degree murder charges.
Our society is in chaos, which is reflected by a recent increase in crime occurring from a lack of impulse control, and it seems to be getting worse as all levels of society are infected, educated or not, rich or poor. Why? Among other reasons, families are increasingly fragmented, people are increasingly alienated, and narcissistic values are being dictated to us (For example, Kathleen Wynne’scontroversial sex education curriculum defies all common sense and logic and implicitly teaches children in the public education systemthat objective truth is irrelevant, and that society exists to take care of your feelings – also, what message is being sent about personal responsibility? Yes, you can have it all and reality really has no bearing.). Probably, we can all relate to mental illness (considered as negative, maladaptive thinking by cognitive behavioral therapy) on some level, but instead of overly empathizing with perpetrators of crime and immorality which leads to crime, we need to call it what it actually is and not get distracted and bogged down by the “why’s” and “what ifs.” The media tends to ask such questions, confusing the minds of the masses, and encouraging irresponsible interpretations. Why did she do it? What if she had different circumstances? The implication of such questions is that “she’s really a good person…. (maybe I should do it too when I’m having a really bad day/week/month/year).” Obviously such questions, while they may have value for mental health professionals, have nothing to do with the immediate context, the actual crimes committed. These women, probably high in narcissism and with poor impulse control (characteristics increasingly evident in our society), stabbed innocent bystanders, one to death. As a society, we need to actually see standards set for what’s right and wrong, what’s true and false. Everything seems relative these days. There’s no more “good” or “bad,” “right” or “wrong,” it all “depends.” But this view misses the point. Good values can’t change; they aren’t circumstance-specific. For example, to kill is wrong, and to kill to save your family is stillwrong, but since your motivation in the latter case is to kill a bad person in order to save your innocent loved ones, to kill in such a case is understandable and likely excusable. We need to value objective truth a lot more. Our culture tends to value subjective truth much more than objective truth, we celebrate arrogance and tend to think that we as individuals are always right. In the case of persons suffering from mental health issues severe enough to attempt to kill or kill innocent human beings, such as Ellis Kirkland and Rohinie Bisesar, no doubt such persons could have benefited from having objective truth training. They needed to organize the chaos in their minds and realize that no, the two people that were stabbed and one to her painful death, were not the cause of your life problems. We need an abundance of leaders in our society who value objective truth, and who are capable of setting clear (high) standards of right and wrong, true and false, by their actions and words. The potential for such moral and talented leadership exists within each one of us, and we need to bring it out in order to do our part to help steer culture in the right direction, deliberately returning us to sanity (it requires purpose, thinking, strategy). Do you have any ideas about how this can be done? Please write your comments.
I may be wrong, but I propose that in educational institutions and places of work (and home), purpose statements be recommended to us. In the home, for example, between husband and wife, the marriage vows operate as a purpose statement. To love “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do we part.” Couples start a marriage with their purpose statement in mind and with the best of intentions to follow them, but that purpose statement also needs constant reflection upon and commitment to in order to be internalized. Children will also require a purpose statement from their parents. Not a, “to clean my room every Saturday” – that’s a to-do list – but one that gives them purpose through a named role and identity. One they whole-heartedly can agree to. For example, “To honor my parents by working hard at school so I am not dependent on them in their latter years, but can help them in their old age in the ways they require as repayment for taking care of me all these years.” Discussing purpose statements with your children will help instill a sense of order and certainty in their lives that will always remain with them by showing them that they have a role to play (to work diligently – not just to rebel and waste time every summer) and that part of their identity includes their personal responsibilities towards their family and community. In other words, they need to learn from an early age that life isn’t just about them, that it’s about experiencing being a contributing member of society. The important thing about the purpose statements is that everyone needs one and it requires an unselfish motive. This purpose statement idea proposed might not be anything new and may sound overly simplistic, but then isn’t it easier to implement? And wouldn’t you have fun watching people grapple with their values and role(s) in life? Wouldn’t people appreciate having a purpose statement in each role they play? Wouldn’t it help clear up a lot of things for you? Have you ever noticed a group of loud teenagers interacting with each other? Unfortunately, too many of them seem to have been taught their roles and purpose (or lack of real purpose) from God-forsaken channels like MTV. But sometimes it seems like people of all ages don’t behave that much differently. A purpose statement is one very simple easy-to-implement idea, and it can start with discussions in your own home. It would be so interesting to read others’ ideas for helping people embrace high standards in their values, and better distinguish between right and wrong, true and false.