Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Mind-Blindness & The Yoof of Today

Another week, another teenager murdered in London.

Fingers are being pointed in all sorts of directions - the parents and their lack of involvement, the government and their too soft policies, teachers and their inability to control, violent video games, poor behaviour of the football-playing role models. The list of suspects is very long indeed. And the solution is, no doubt, not as linear as people would hope - with the cause most-likely being the summation of genes, events, locations and relationships that forms the context in which these teenagers are learning their world view.

There seems to be plenty of solution-hunting going on without true appreciation of what the problem is. Yes, teenagers killing each other is the obvious problem, but we need to get to the root of why this is occuring rather than trying to solve things which ain't necessarily broke. I won't labour the obvious analogy with much marketing / advertising.

The seemingly psychotic behaviour, with the perpetrators apparently lacking any care or insight into the victim's suffering reminded me of a theory of autism, mind-blindness. Initially described by Simon Baron-Cohen, mind-blindness is where a person has an inability to develop an awareness of what is in the mind of another human. (I suspect there is a link to the more well-known Emotional Intelligence which describes the ability to understand emotions of the self and others).

Perhaps the problem is that these teenagers simply can't comprehend other people's feelings. Perhaps they don't have their own feelings to project onto others, therefore lacking the ability to empathise.

Just a thought.

No comments: