• Erin DiMaggio

Violence and Hatred are learned behaviors.


An attempt to bring some light to the dark places in the world.

Hate is learned: what can we do to stop it?


The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, defined hatred as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. [1] Hatred is a deep, enduring emotion that is expressed as animosity, anger or hostility toward another. Once an emotion moves from a feeling inside the body to an action it is considered a behavior.

Behavior is both a response to one’s own internal environment (physical body) as well as to one’s external environment (community, home and surroundings).

When we look at behavior from a neutral psychosocial perspective; we can see that all behaviors are an attempt to meet a need and behavior is a response to a specific set of internal and external stimuli.


The physical body is constantly undergoing huge surges of neural and chemical reactions and transformations many of which are outside the realm of our conscious control and some of which, are highly influenced by how we care for our body. Our bodies and what happens inside of them are a byproduct of genetics, physical and chemical reactions, social programming, and the environment in which we live. How we were nurtured as children and then, how we take care of our body and mind as adults has a direct effect on our behavior.

Some behaviors are more reflexive and involuntary in nature. An involuntary action is one that occurs without the conscious choice of an organism. The beating of your heart, hiccups, digestion, coughing and sneezing are all specific, mostly involuntary responses to various stimuli. Voluntary actions are ones that someone is in control of and ones that someone can choose to do.

The experience of hatred is a learned behavior that becomes a habitual response to stimuli overtime. Repetitive actions and experiences of trauma stress the physical body and the brain.

When a child is young, their brain is extremely malleable. When a child “feels threatened, stress hormones are produced that convert the physical or emotional stress into chemical signals that are sent throughout the body as well as to the brain.”[2] Toxic stress, through a series of chemical and physical reactions, can change the neural circuitry of the brain and cause extreme dysfunction. Once the neural circuitry of the brain is wired through repetitive actions over time, the feeling of hatred can become an involuntary and unconscious thought pattern that takes extreme effort and direction to reprogram. The violence, hatred and negativity we see in the world are a result of generations of people being programmed to behave in alignment with fear and hate.


When children do not have their basic needs of nourishment, love, understanding and connection met in early childhood, they are less likely to grow in to adults who are capable of any form of self-mastery or love.

Racism and any other form of "ISM" is a separation of oneself from love and an overwhelming identification with fear. It comes from the needs of connection, love and understanding not being met in early childhood and as one’s brain develops it turns into a need for control and power. Separations in cognition and conscious thought occur as a result of children growing up with a lack of direction, education and mentoring as to how to become a contributing member of society. It is also, a result of a lack of physical care and nourishment for the human body and often, a result of a dysfunctional brain. The disconnect that we see out in the world starts inside the human brain and then if left untreated; the disonnection turns to disease which poisons both the heart and the human spirit.

History has shown us time and time again that, children who are raised in violent homes

and communities will more likely grow into adults who repeat the patterns of behavior they learned as children and either harm themselves, their children or commit crimes against humanity. Children who do not learn productive and healthy ways to handle their stress will adopt behaviors that are either internally or externally dangerous. Add genetic predisposition to mental illness, a low functioning brain, with poor health habits such as lack of proper nutrition and physical activity to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster.

Our legal system and the whole of our United States Government is deeply flawed and lacking in any real direction or influence as to how to make our world a safer place in which to live. I would assume that that in order to get into any public office one must possess a relative amount of intelligence and high executive brain functioning capabilities. But I am curious as to why every time a horrendous act is committed against humanity, the answer given by our leaders is always the same, “Make harsher punishments! Give them the death penalty! Enact gun control laws.”

Let me be clear, I am not opposed to punishment or better gun control laws. They are issues that need to be dealt with. I am opposed to the ridiculous assumption that punishing people and eliminating guns will prevent crimes from happening. Punishment is something you implement after the crime has already been committed. People who commit harmful acts against others are not engaging the area of the executive brain that considers the consequences to their actions. And if they do consider the consequences; the issue is that they don’t care! What we need to be discussing is why people behave in hateful ways and why people do not care about the welfare of other human beings. We need to figure out how to reduce and prevent crimes against humanity from occurring. It seems obvious that we need to understand the why behind the what of human behavior and we need to build communities filled with people who love one another because people who love one another are less likely to harm one another.

Human behavior is our world’s greatest threat!

The research is clear on brain development and what the human body needs in order to thrive and for individuals to be contributing members of society. We do have the power and ability to change the course curriculum of our planet. First, we need to understand that people will continue to kill one another until another force greater than the one that is currently being employed will act and alter the direction of mankind. But despite the advancement in the last twenty-five years of neuroscience, the psychological understanding of human behavior and the giants of love who have come before us who understood what we need to do to make the world a better place (Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and going way back: Jesus Christ...just to name a few), very few people who can make a sustainable difference in the world, our United States Government, are actually taking any of the necessary steps to change the current state of our world. The reasons behind this are multifaceted and complex but one obvious and simple explanation comes down to:


Economics 101: supply and demand. As long as there is hatred in the world, there will be crime and as long as there is crime there will be a demand for weapons and governmental protection, and as long as there is a demand for weapons there will be short-term financial gain. And as long as there is short-term financial gain people with greedy hearts and mis-guided moral values, will continue to fuel the fire of hatred. In order to create real change the entire economic system as we know it, would need to crash in order to re-wire the flow of resources.

There is no short-term financial gain in the elimination of crimes against humanity. It is not a simple Black and White issue. The healing of our nation and our world requires more than a quick Band-aid, like gun control. Yes, the Band-aid is necessary to stop the bleeding and prevent further infection. But, at some point somebody has to ask why are so many people hemorrhaging from the heart and how do we stop it from happening?

One sustainable solution is creating a task-force of mental health professionals who understand how to prevent violence from starting. (Which the government has but is not doing enough to implement). Prevention of hate and violence begins with creating a scaffolding of support around our nation's children which includes the reallocation of resources towards building schools and communities who support and nurture the human body and brain.

We need to start a conversation about conscious conception and the development of the inner resources to raise children who can contribute to the world around them. Common core standards are not enough and our schools alone cannot be expected to carry the responsibility of raising children. Our schools do not have enough resources or funds to do more than what they are currently doing. The ideal situation for our schools would entail a trained mental health professional for every single classroom. Mandates for self-help, self-mastery and a core curriculum that encompasses emotional and behavioral intelligence.

Every single man, woman and child living in communities with high crime-rates should be given free access to mental health facilities, self-empowerment workshops, and mindfulness training. This is just a tip on iceberg. Raising awaresness and for any one of them would be a movement in the right direction towards a more civilized nation.

Habits cannot be changed unless there is a plan of action and guided direction.

The collective consciousness cannot improve until change is made from both, a political and personal level. Change will not be made at a political level until every person with a voice speaks up and demands it. The United States Government and her people, have to take greater responsibility for the Nations’ children by making mental health and parental education a real priority on our Nation's agenda.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sigmund_Freud, Search Date: June 24, 2015

National Scientific Council On The Developing Child. Harvard University. Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain. Working Paper 3.

#gunviolence #hatecrimes #punishment #nonviolence

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