Human beings have very powerful minds and emotions. I used to believe that we are incredibly resilient. I no longer believe that.
I believe we are all incredibly fragile and easily damaged.
My experiences of working with children and observing adults have made me extremely aware that many of us are broken and our response to being broken is often aggression, hatred and violence.
I used to say to the teaching staff at my school that there was no such thing as a bad kid. Their bad behaviour was the result of having been damaged by their experiences; our job was to mend them.
I have seen close up the effects of bereavement, bullying, racism, divorce and abuse. The victims often either withdraw or become aggressive.
When I was a child at school a number of my teachers were ex-soldiers. They were not only violent aggressive bullies but they seemed to hate us. They damaged a lot of kids.
I cannot begin to imagine the effect war has on the fragile human psyche. My father would not talk about it. My grandfather would not mention it. But I have met numerous highly confused and violent veterans; one of whom was a murderer.
Around the world at the moment we have millions of people traumatised by war. Some are victims and some are perpetrators. I cannot begin to imagine how some of them ever manage to sleep again. It is no wonder that some are either heartless fiends and others are traumatised wrecks. If you are going to saw someone’s head off at some point in the future that will haunt your waking moments and turn your sleep to nightmares. It catches up with you.
War, poverty, violence, fear, bullying, divorce, death – it all traumatises and messes people up.
Human beings are fragile. The little things send us off the rails; the big things drive us into psychosis.