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Preventable Perversions

Leon J. Saul M.D.

"...There is only one dire threat to mankind today, and that is from man himself. The readiness of human beings to be hostile to each other is by far the greatest problem of mankind - a fatal danger to our species for the imaginable future. The child, as it matures and goes through life, is more in danger from other persons than from any other source. It takes no vast marshalling of facts to establish this.

Examples of hostility on a gross scale are everywhere - tyrannical rule, by the right or by the left, which persists in many countries of the world; the fact that modern nations squander countless sums and resources on mobilization for global destruction, reminiscent of lemmings rushing to their own death in the sea; rates of violent crime, divorce, spouse and child abuse mounting to staggering dimensions.

But the fact that man's brutality to man has bloodied every page of history and continues to do so does not mean that it is basic to human nature and, as such, inevitable. A close look at man's behaviour reveals that it has all the earmarks, not of nature, but of sickness, of psychopathology...

"...Hostility should be made universally known for what it is: a neurotic symptom, a symptom of weakness and frustration, a once invaluable primitive animal method of defense in the wild, which now has become mankind's principal enemy and threatens to destroy it. We should know that a Nero and a Hitler are made, not born, that evil and violence have their main genesis in the mishandling of emotions of small children and are therefore preventable perversions..."

Copyright © 1980, Leon J. Saul, The Childhood Emotional Pattern. Reprinted with permission of Van Nostrand Reinhold