Clint Eastwood, Charles Bronson, and Adolf Hitler all suffered inordinate levels of testosterone whenever they came face to face with what their male-ego decided was a threat. Oh, don’t pretend it’s only the “other guy.” For instance, that very same testosterone is bubbling every time someone cuts us off in traffic. So we all start this topic with the same fire-in-the-belly.
Anthropologists can explain our ancestors’ fight-or-flight instincts; psychiatrists can explain our psychic fire today. As Carl Jung advised: “Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness of other people.”
Most times most of us can control the darkness and tame the beast. That’s what is meant by “civilization.” However, this primeval stuff oozes out time and again. Some handy examples in ascending order of danger:
* Sports fans ~ These bare-beer-belly crazies in the stands need some outlet for their repressed rage with their bosses, their wives, their world. The nearest high-paid athlete is their hysterical target
* Homophobes ~ Gay-bashing has an especially dark breeding ground. University of Rochester psychologist Richard Ryan tells LiveScience.com that many homophobic spokesmen are “at war with themselves, and turn their internal conflict [about their repressed homosexuality] outward.” Examples include Rev Ted Haggard and far too many members of Congress
* Enforcers ~ From generals to beat cops, the self-righteous anger boiling inside many of these men is what helps them choose such dangerous professions. When in check, they are our defenders; when unchecked, they can become our oppressors
* Neo-cons ~ These are those modern conservatives who sincerely believe that power is the best way to resolve conflicts. Dick Cheney, no matter how many different hearts he gets, will always be one of their most intransigent spokesmen. So far, though, few wars have ever meant real victory
Aah but there’s some good news. Since H.W. Bush, every president has been a graduate of either Yale or Harvard. This election it will be Harvard vs Harvard. Eight Harvard graduates have served as president thus far, and we are advised Harvard trains men to be temperate. Here’s hoping…!
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