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Carlos Miranda Levy

NEVER HELP: engage, enable, empower and connect, Relief 2.0 / Markets of Hope

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What can we do and what do we do about bullying?

Recently, while playing Red Dead Redemption I noticed another player, LatinLupe752, running in a straight line towards Chuparosa, a dusty settlement in the middle of nowhere.

Obviously a noobie. If you run in a straight line in an open field, you will be shot, in real life and in video games too.

I took my gun and killed him. Bam! 10 seconds later he, or she, respawned and started to run in a straight line again. I shot him again. Bam! He respawned once more; I switched weapons to a shotgun and shot him again, and again, and again. Soon I was "most wanted player" and there was a bounty on my head. I was killed by other players who came for the bounty.

I respawned and looked around for LatinLupe752, and saw him in the distance leaving the area, probably just wanted to play in peace and decided to go somewhere else in the game. I got on my horse, climbed up a hill, took aim with my carcano rifle and shot him in the head from afar. He respawned again and I shot his horse and then I shot him. They never came back.

Why would I, an active collaborating member of Stanford University Peace Innovation Lab, become a bully so vicious to this individual? Why couldn't I just let him play?

I did it because:

- There was a reward for me in doing it: Everytime I killed LatinLupe752 I would receive experience points and increase my reputation. A clean head shot earned me additional points.

- Yes, I was killed twice by other players who came to collect the bounty on my head, but that did not reduce my experience points or my reputation, so I didn´t mind the inconvenience of respawning a few seconds later and continue my behavior going after more points with LatinLupe752's face in them.

More important, it had nothing to do with LatinLupe752, I did not think he or she was weak, weird or different. It wasn't about intolerance and it wasn't personal.

I did it because there was something for me to gain and because the penalties involved were not enough to deter me from it.

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    Jul 1 2012: To me, it all comes down to the actions of those who witness the act of bullying. Those are the ones who can stop it.
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      Jul 2 2012: So both the bully and the one being bullied are destitute of responsibility, will and volition? Innocent victims of an unfortunate condition enabled and brought to them by the system and society to which they belong? Passing the responsibility and blame to others while failing to acknowledge our responsibility as a society and system to prevent these conditions from existing (and their rewards, escapes and other related elements) will not get us far into a solution.

      The same issues that enable the condition of bullying to exist and take place will most likely keep the witnesses from intervening and stopping it.

      The witnesses are bound by the same influences, system, environment and society as the bully and the one being bullied. While we can claim that the witnesses can stop it, one could also claim that the bully and the one being bullied could stop it too, yet all three consistently fail to do so as a result of the intricate and complicated web of communal existence that involve and surround us all.

      Just as I would be careful to place the blame of bullying in one party, I would also be careful to put the responsibility of stopping it or preventing it on another single party. Bully, bullied, witness and their environment are part of a whole which needs to be addressed for viable, sustainable solutions to be achieved without requiring sacrificial lambs in the form of a punished bully, an immolating bullied or a heroic witness who decides to intervene at the risk of high personal and social expense.
      • J M

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        Jul 3 2012: There probably is no freewill.

        This knowledge CAN hlep us solve "problems"(observed contingency deemed negatives). Eg we take more care to raise "properly" (understanding nurture syndrome/health issues) in society. We cure the violent/damaged with chemicals (oxytocin or stress inhibitors) or behavior therapy (though that is COMPLEX and unexplored by rationals) to make them less aggressive. _We process /THINK THROUGH as a society the implications of creating a species of chemically altered meek/prey creatures._

        Eg what will group-imposed meekness mean to us in a material world of red in tooth claw Darwinism that we must be a part of? What will it do to the sexual dynamic of this dimorphically sexual species where the females get off on tournament (brute) display and endlessly search and flirt on instinct (like a spinning top) so as to avoid "losers" and to suss out "winners and losers"? Will we just accept mass cuckolding as the females search (for the ever more unfindable) and cheat?

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        As a group sp, it is a group problem (which will be solved badly by a group not equipped to think that deeply, being creatures selected by a totally diff world once upon a time). But joining jiujitzu or weightlifting or --social avoidance [see pioneer ants/birds/sheep]-- is a survival response (ie reflex) on the individual scale.
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          Jul 3 2012: Oh, but there is free will. From the meekest bacteria to the mightiest blue whale. Where there is life, there is free will. Only inanimate matter and chemical compounds are bound to the determinism of the laws of physics and even they are subject to randomness and the unpredictiveness of quantum mechanics.

          While your lack of belief in free will may not be a choice you make, your post expressing it is a manifestation of your free will, just as my response underlines the fact that we choose to do things - or not - even if our interest in such things does not come from our own volition but from imposed or external conditions to ourselves.

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