Monday, April 10, 2017

training for tragedy

#training for tragedy #cross breeding books  #can't help myself. 

If I wrote in hashtags that's how this would start.

Book number one; Rory's book, Training for Sudden Violence, is aptly titled seeing as it is a series of drills and skill development options for the potential of a violent encounter. 

Book number two; Gilligan's book, Violence: Reflections on a national epidemic, I haven't finished yet but I can't help myself. 

Gilligan is a psychiatrist who spent the bulk of his career working with incarcerated violent offenders. Gilligan has a personal touchstone with violence as well, grew up with a raging father.  Rory and Gilligan share the background of working in the prison system and although I haven't finished Gilligan's book yet (and it published about 20 years ago) I am curious to see if there are similarities between the two authors' perspectives. 

It's not a fair comparison because I know Rory. I am only now meeting Gilligan and only via his professional presentation on paper. 

...but I can't help myself. Gilligan starts by trying to create a language base that makes sense for the conversation. He goes through categories of constructs and explains why he chooses Tragedy as the only one that works for violence. 

Tragedy's etymology is odd, but I see how Gilligan came to his conclusion. Historically, the word describes an unhappy event, or a disaster. Gilligan takes it further and explains why it isn't "pathos" a natural disaster outside of human control - being goal driven and interactive and a variety of other things. 

Gilligan's title uses the word Epidemic too. I don't know if I agree with him yet - need to read the rest of the book. Playing with this though, it works (thus far).

As a student in combat arts, I seek out the most efficiently brutal approaches possible. So I can teach those efficiently brutal actions to people who might get caught in Gilligan's tragedy. I am then, training for tragedy. 

If violence is tragedy and this tragedy is epidemic then violence is a virus because a virus can be epidemic in nature. Bacterial infections can go epidemic as well, so I guess violence could be either and with both a viral and a bacterial epidemic, inoculations can be created to keep the uninfected safe. Gilligan has yet to mention how violence is fundamental to natural survival. Munching on a carrot or chewing on a steak - the methods getting both items to my plate involved violent action. The interchange between man and carrot or man and cow was unhappy for the cow/carrot- in Gilligan's interpretation then, a tragic moment went down.

I can't teach a carrot threat assessment skills or how to convince a Threat he's picked the wrong carrot to mess with. I can teach that to a human. Training for tragedy.

Playing around inside the etymology of the titles - Training for sudden violence is a gradual inoculation against tragedy. Sort of. If it goes physical, it's still doesn't really have a happy ending. If you defend yourself successfully there will still be an aftermath - you know, the whole catastrophic win thing? Yeah, it applies. a violent interchange with a Target who believes he is incapable of defensive action, the tragedy may be far more epic. And the socialized condition rendering one human helpless against another, more comfortably violent human - this is also viral.

Okay. Let me see if I can tie this together. Training for violence is training for "tragedy", something disastrous. Like most things, disaster is scalable. The scale is impacted by the magnitude of the aftermath AND how the people involved interpret where the event falls on the scale.  Force is scalable. Force on force events end when one person uses just the right amount of force to overwhelm the ability of the other person to continue. Disaster management. Epidemic management. Inoculation. 

Inoculated against polio, I can be exposed to polio with a remarkably reduced risk of contracting polio. It isn't risk-free, but I'm down there on the low end of the scale. I got there because I have a little bit of the polio virus running through my veins. My immune system is 'trained' in polio. It knows how to defend itself. 

When I teach women's self-defense courses I tell them that the statistics will change when women are no longer a consistently easy target. When the exposure risk is consistently high -when women are inoculated carriers of Gilligan's Tragedy, many would-be Threats will think twice (you know, the whole goal of limiting the amount of damage s/he takes).  Not all; but many. This gets me in trouble with the current movement in feminism decrying women's self-defense training as part of the problem "Teach men not to rape!". 

Way to give the game away, girls. Let's go back to being helpless waifs with the vapors; yup that'll work. I mean it worked well in the past, right? 

If you don't want to catch polio you have two options during a polio outbreak. Option A: go live in the woods far away from all humans (like my grandparents did with my mother before there was a vaccine).  Option B: get inoculated. 

I love the isolation of the woods but I don't want to be forced to live there. And at the end of it, living in the woods only protects me, what about all the other people I care about? 

Option B, it is. Inoculation. I didn't need to have it injected because it is part of my nature as a human. I did need to have it brought to life. And although exposure to violence while under the influence of the other socialized infection (i.e. - experiencing helplessness in the presence of said violence) may play a part, Training for this Tragedy gave my instinctive nature a few tools to play with. 

Violence is integral to the fabric of the natural universe. Only humans engage in violent acts against other humans for the fun of it. Maybe this is Gilligan's tragedy - I'll know better when I finish his book.  Whether his logic plays out or not, he's given me metaphor that I can use, like the inert carrier agents of the virus/bacteria formulated for the inoculation, the metaphor may help get the point across.

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