EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 2−“AFFLICTED DELIBERATIONS,” OF IVAN’S NOW PUBLISHED BOOK:
DOMESTIC GENOCIDE: THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF SOCIETY
In a world where egos rise in thin air and life evaporates like oxygen, love-hate and trust-betrayal are siblings rivaling the conscience of the individual entertaining the pains of poverty. Vice filled, the social environment created in the ghetto will likely split, weaken, or destroy convictions. They tend to fall into a gray area and most times sway when encouraged by demands for survival. Where loyalty can be found, trifling disagreement will tarnish. I love you today fuck you tomorrow! As for boundaries? There aren’t any with respect to what is or is not acceptable to survive. For, necessity knows no law. The wretched affects of poverty have rendered us insensitive to the feelings and well-being of others. Thus, the first law of nature is self-preservation, which becomes paramount. We have been conditioned to be indifferent. Any person or thing that hinders an abrupt detachment is considered a weakness. One that could very well cost us our life. For its well understood in order to increase our odds of survival in this jungle, we have to play the cards dealt for what they are worth because death stalks the ill equipped.
As if an animal on the attack, our instincts beget life and death for one or the other. Life for many has no immediate future so the decision to engage in death threatening activity is commonplace. We prey on each other with ill-conceived convictions manipulated by faces we’ll never see. The rules we live by will prove transparent, if not downright cannibalistic. Not everyone who entertains them has taken covenant with consequences of the Game. Like any Game you play eventually it’s “GAME OVER.” The inquisitive, unfortunately, will endure the ups and downs before arriving at this conclusion. By not taking heed we will thrive to survive in an environment without rule or respect. Except where the influence of Smith Wesson can be found, we’ll die respecting a bullet to the head.
Sadly for many of us, our views tend not to be very adult-like. In fact, they tend not to reflect the true world accurately. This is so because much of our early intellectual and moral development has been distorted by the environment. Therefore, many of us never reach the point of maturity as adults who intellectualize our choices and relationships with others. We are stunted by prison or death. Our life experiences are cut short at puberty. Our concepts of manhood are skewed. As time passes and we become institutionalized by prison, for example, fear comes to dominate our spirit. It makes us timid in face of adversity.
Fear, needless to say, is an emotion that consequentially controls and often paralyzes behavior. It holds us captive to our environment. And while it can be just as equally a motivator (e.g., a powerful currency in the minds of unscrupulous politicians), it is unlikely to be so in the context in which I’m speaking because
[n]egative acts and negative thoughts originate in fear. To the extent that fear of betrayal by another person, for instance, or of violation within a relationship, or of being taken advantage of financially has authority within [us], it determines the extent to which [we] will behave in negative ways. Faith in anything, be it positive or negative, produces results. Putting faith in fear generates destructive results, beginning with the disintegration of [our] ability to relate confidently to the external world.
…[M]otivated by fear, [we] can easily be seduced by the false gods of sex, power and money and all that they represent. Once seduced, [we] abdicate [our] control to the seductive authority: the dysfunctional personal relationship, the external source of money or security, the experience remembered long after it should have been put to rest, or the addiction to drugs or alcohol. Hypnotized by the voice of fear, [we are] unable to think or act with clarity because [we are] contaminated with fears that short-circuit creative energy and ideas.
Peep!, how the fear that came of the 9/11 disasters impacted the nation; pandering society of their due process. And while this may be a little out of context, has anyone given thought to the possibility that Osama bin Laden foresaw such a reaction?
As noted, fear controls. In Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, the cave made prisoners of those who were afraid to venture beyond its entrance. Consequently, this made them prisoners of their own reality. Their ideas, traditions, perceptions, practices, and beliefs were adapted within the confines of the cave. It became their window of enlightenment as to their existence, purpose, and how they came to know of themselves and everything in their environment. Thus developed the illusion that truth extended no further than the cave. What lie beyond it remained a mystery held at bay by fear of the unknown.
The ghetto is the cave. Here, the fear it inspires cultivates and causes negative acts and thoughts. The residents are trapped, socially isolated to a zip code of hopelessness, which causes a great sense of anxiety when simply contemplating charting unfamiliar waters. Said differently, most of us are afraid to leave the ‘hood (i.e., the cave) for even a momentary change of venue so as to gain a different perspective on life. This stunts our growth process very much the same as the inhabitants of cave. Thus distorted our view of the world does not extend beyond the ‘hood. We are left to interpret the world through our limited life experiences, which in turn isolates and strengthens our beliefs and values. The stronger they become through our interplay with each other, and the longer we hold on to them without their being challenged, the more instable our view of the world becomes.
The narrative provided at the beginning of the previous chapter allowed for a visual as to the affect of our isolation and how it distorts our rationale. It has conditioned the mind to adopt within the confines of a highly plagued environment distraught by vices of every sort. Consequently, dysfunctionalism is so deeply embedded in our train of thought we are oblivious to the psychological prison that inhabits our reason.
Distraught, unstable, miseducated, misguided, abused, and emotionally detached from others and ourselves, we exist in a perpetual state of defiling our communities and ourselves because this is all we are being taught and conditioned to do.
It is for the above-mentioned reasons that many of us are content with the vile and debasing conditions in which we exist. The narrative tells of the fact that you have defecated where you pleased as if the untrained dog. At the point that the TV (i.e., “Dummy Box”) was placed in the room to program you, the narrative does not make clear whether you continued to defile your space. This I have done for reason that, despite the fact insight was provided as to the proper use of the toiletries, force of habit tends to render dysfunction unchangeable. Then too, “learned helplessness”—as defined as a mental condition of apathy or a sense of defeat anticipated when faced with challenges due to adverse outcomes in past instances—produces feelings of incompetence that generalize in all subsequent situations.
“Well anyone is capable of change,” I always hear people say. This is true. But how effective is preaching change to someone whose perception allows for him or her to interpret his or her dysfunction as hopeless or rewarding? In their mind this behavior is appropriate given the circumstances to which they are raised and the values, or lack thereof, that come of these circumstances.
To illustrate, I again turn to my childhood. Working with my grandfather as a landscaper instilled hustle. My mother’s drug addiction and mental illness made me responsible at an early age because I often had to provide for my little sisters. Burger flipping and mowing lawns wasn’t cutting it. I had seen the “shine” of the Southside D-boys. So I started to flip double-ups (buying small quantities of crack-cocaine for half price for profit) until I bubbled-up! Wasn’t no looking back at this point. I went full fledge huslta. My achievements in selling dope soon brought me the type of notoriety a star athlete receives. Though, my fan base was the neighborhood gangstas, pimps and dope-fiends. This drove me through the ranks making Dope-Boy Magic along the way. The addiction that came of this would eventually feed into my ego as a Baller.
I knew what I was doing wasn’t right by conventional standards. But in the ‘hood I could do no wrong. Besides, it wasn’t about “wrong” or “right.” It was about “eating!” So I pushed the lever like the Skinner Rat. That I was never caught at it only encouraged me further. Because of this, and the fact that I was shining amongst my peers, I would push the consequences of my activities to the backburner. The pains of poverty, social isolation, and notoriety had won this round. My excuse? I had mouths to feed, which was more truth than excuse. Yet as time passed and I went from buying double-ups to pushing weight, it became moreso my ego as a Baller I had to feed.
The narrative further illustrates the gutter mentality that came of my activities. It shaped the mind-set of an animal—a sort of human predator and prey positioned in the lower echelons of society fending for myself with a cocktail of socially engineered disorders. The “anomic” for example. Said disorder assisted in the creation of the ghetto hell in which I resided.
Blinded by manipulation and oppression, material starvation shaped the norms and values that led me to push the lever like the Skinner Rat. Where we find, for example, parasitic behavior in the ghetto, material ambitions have set content ablaze. In most cases when this occurs like the rat that continues to run into a dead end when trying to find its way through a maze for the cheese ($$$), our ignorance denies access and brings about disaster.
I credit our methodology having not been inspired by what I call “functional models” of capitalism. It’s exactly he opposite—By any means necessary! We improvise by working with the cards the experimenter has placed on the table—the gun and the bundle. They become our perspective opportunities.