Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mental Disorder

There has been much controversy over gun control after much gun violence, such as a reporter and her camera man being gunned down in front of the TV camera, school shootings, campus violence, and the recent Las Vegas massacre.  

Gun violence has been attributed to the mental illness of the aggressors and killers. But do they really have mental illness?

First of all, what is mental illness? 

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Did all these gunmen really have problems in their daily functioning? I don't think so. Some of them were able to write lengthy manifestos before gunning down their victims; some were able to go to social media to brag about their prospective shooting; some were able to plan their killing with logistic details and accuracy. Did they behave like those with mental illness? I don't think so.

Their behaviors might seem to be inexplicably cruel, inhuman, and unconscionable. But they were by no means mentally ill. They simply could not let go of their ego (they all felt rejected by society, not having a girlfriend or low self-esteem)

Maybe the wisdom of Lao Tzu, also known as Tao wisdom (The word "Tao" comes from the ancient Chinese classic "Tao Te Ching" the only book written by Lao Tzu, which has become one of the most translated works in world literature) can explain why those killers had that inexplicable mindset to kill in order to attract attention. 

That unique but complex mindset a result of not "letting go." In life, we all have to learn how to let go of everything, including life itself.  Throughout life, we have to let go of our children (when they go to college, get married, or die ahead of us); we have to let go of material things, such as career, money etc.); we have to let go of our memories (memories of the unpleasant in the form of anger, bitterness, or vengeance, as well as memories of the pleasant in the form of desires and expectations). If we do not and cannot let go of our emotions, we develop mind disorder, which is compulsive mental obsession of one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

This is how the perplexing mindset of a killer is developed. An individual is fired from his job. His perceptions of disappointment, dissatisfaction. injustice, racial prejudice and discrimination, among others, become registered in his  mind as memories. Without the power of letting go, that individual's mind will continue to generate more negative thoughts in the subconscious mind until the breaking point. If that individual has an aggressive or a violent nature, then he may resort to gun violence. .

It is all about letting go, which is the essence of Tao wisdom. But why is it so difficult to let go? It is all because of the ego-self. We all have an ego -- which makes us feel self-important. Careers, relationships, money, material things, and success -- they all inflate our ego. So, to let go of all these things, we must let go of the ego first and foremost. 

To illustrate my point, the gunman who gunned down the reporter and her cameraman was fired, and his ego was completely deflated, leading to negative emotions that he could not let go of. Obsession is the culmination of not letting go. The killer was not mentally ill; he was obsessed with his deflated ego that he would not let go of.

Be A Better and Happier You With Tao Wisdom may help you let go of your ego first and then other things that prevent you from living your life as if everything is a miracle.

Not letting go is the underlying cause of mental disorder leading to violence.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

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