March 27, 2006
Multiple Personality: A dissociative disorder in which two or more distinct personalities exist in the same person, each of which prevails at a particular time. Also called split personality
In 1974, walking down the mall at Arizona State University could be a highly unpleasant experience for young women. The mall was the central thoroughfare for all college traffic. It featured an intersection at the Memorial Union and Library, where four paths led off to the colleges for business, education, science and liberal arts.
Around the library, a two-foot high block wall served as a mid-day “home” to a group of fraternity men, a perfect perch from which they could survey women walking by. These frat jocks, elevating the sport of girl-watching to a new level, had created a set of large score cards with bold black numbers 1 through 10.
Their system was meant for entertainment, not for human compassion. For the “lucky” women walking by, winks, laughs, calls and whistles would “reward” her with a row of perfect 10s. But, with the same compassion of Simon Cowell, these winks, laughs and calls from the frat men could just as easily produce score cards of seven, six, five…or zero.
Thankfully, this crass frat game died out in the summer heat, never to reappear. This was the Age of Aquarius when peace and love were painted on torn jeans. Women were busy exercising their new-found liberation, and in this new world, there was no place for a game that trivialized women.
Alas, in the short span of forty years, these same men and women of my college years are now parents to a new college generation weaned on the lyrics of such rappers as Snoop Dog, Ice-T, and Eminem. Tepid cards with numbers have been replaced by crude lyrics that describe women and sex in violent and abusive slang.
How did we get here from there? In 1974, college women were insulted by a rating system that traded respect for a few cheap laughs. In 2004, college women seek hoots and whistles by pulling off wet t-shirts in public bars. How did the sixties in America fail to produce the fruit of peace and love?
On television, Lucy and Rickie have been replaced by Sex and the City, which unlike the frat scorecards, did not fade away into summer reruns. In its sixth season, Sex and the City churned out episode 76, “Great Sexpectations” where Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte continued to tryout and discard men like last-year’s shoes. If one day they ever do find “true love,” they will probably end up cast as characters on Desperate Housewives.
Abstinence educators daily witness the impact of this cultural shift. As they work to reconnect our children with the truth of what love means, their greatest handicap is the American dissociative order which allows us to believe that the two distinct personalities of love and hate can peacefully co-exist in the same heart. America suffers from multiple cultural personalities.
In one world, we work to teach adolescents the connection between love and sex. Classroom lessons help students analyze situations between girls and guys, distinguishing between abusive and controlling behaviors and selfless, caring relationships.
In the other world, like switching the channels with the remote, we infuse our children’s hearts with entertainment based on abuse, control, violence and disrespect. In the darkest moments, we write comedies where kids laugh at crude and destructive behavior as easily as we once did over Gilligan’s Island.
We have lost the understanding that a house divided cannot stand. Integrity is now passé. We chafe at morality, rejecting the idea that good must be good all the time in order to be good. Instead, our life is a tortured contradiction where good can be bartered for whatever suits us at the moment.
If we want to restore the future happiness of our children, we must restore our culture. We must reclaim our integrity. We must pull together our cultural personality into one house, undivided, that stands for peace and love at all times and under all conditions.
To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice, Confucius said.
And as an author on divine unity, he teaches a singular method for coming together into one undivided national personality. To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.
October 29, 2004 – Food for the Brain
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