Aggression, Safety and Work

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Other sports of many kinds, boxing, wrestling, football, soccer, pole-vaulting, mountaineering, boating, etc. offer physical challenges that divert aggression and the accompanying hormones into non-destructive channels.

So do certain kinds of work. Cutting wood is hard work, even with a chain saw. When we had an ice storm, it took me two weeks with a chain saw to clear up the fallen branches, limbs and trees. One has to apply pressure and the heart definitely beats harder. The same goes for holding yoga postures. Try holding your arms straight up over your head, next to your ears, palms pressed against each other, for 5-10 minutes.

As more and more occupations that required hard work are replaced by machines and as young boys are forbidden to work or kept out of becoming apprentices, the peaceful outlets for aggression diminish. Boys find new ones, as in skateboarding, video games and drag racing. In an old documentary film or two, I’ve seen boys standing on their arms and going upside down naturally as a game.

Meanwhile, coercion is being used in the attempt to make everyone safe: seat belts, helmets, child restraint devices, air bags, rules about where children may sit. This is part and parcel of a control mentality, an attempted denial of the perils of life, and an attempt to suppress a natural tendency of our species to live with risks and even for some of us who are more aggressive to embrace them, not to fear them.

9:10 am on November 29, 2013