Military Basic Training Question- Trying To Understand The "Normal" Response

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by MikeHolmes, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    It is approaching nine years since I escaped captivity at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and became a free man again. Often, I struggle with understanding the normal human mind and how different I am from that prototype. In the particular case of my horrid Basic Training experience, I often try and seek an understanding of why it seems that the average person just seemed to be OK with the bullshit and did what was asked.

    In my mind, the experience was deplorable. Young formative people are rounded up from around the country, generally tricked, deceived or misled, for the purpose of being trained to kill without being able to question why. Freewill is completely out the window when you get on base. The leaders in charge are just gigantic egomaniacs, who likely have no true intellectual basis for being given the authority they have. Power is pretty absolute, as commanders have enormous discretion to do whatever they want for discipline. Hell, when the psychiatrist recommended me for discharge, he made it a point to say that my commander ultimately had the final say.

    It felt like hell to me. I grew up idealistic and thinking shit like this wasn't tolerated. Whatever happened to big egos are bad, taking advantage of people is wrong, power corrupts absolutely, people have freewill, and slavery was abolished? I would not have begrudged a trainee doing absolutely whatever was necessary to escape. He/she was the victim of governmental abuse, afterall.

    Yet, the reality was your average human mind that was there did what was asked. They may have hated it at first, but they either adapted or accepted that it wasn't worth the trouble of trying to get out. It really bothered me. Why reward this type of deplorable behavior? You are just furthering the existence of a terrible system.

    I really do not know why I get so worked up over things that I cannot really control or change. However, it just bothers me how the average person seemingly thought and behaved entirely different than I. I still think to myself, as I did on Day 0 when the command was entertaining itself with threats and orders, "How the FUCK is this legal?"

    Thanks for any insight.
     
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  2. Tycho Brah

    Tycho Brah You drink water, I drink anarchy Platinum Member

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    See: Asch, Milgrim, Zimbardo etc.

    Consider yourself lucky that you have the personality/training to break from your surroundings.
     
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  3. JAEGERX

    JAEGERX i stay blessed

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    you spent nine years in the military i think you already know all the answers to your questions
     
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  4. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    Well, the thing is this.........I don't think highly of myself, but I also don't think highly of others. Any answer just doesn't seem right to me. Clearly there's something wrong with me, but I also think there's something seriously wrong with the normal response. I fight the battle of thinking whether it's all my fault for not being normal or it's all normalcy's fault for allowing that system to function without change.

    In terms of feeling lucky, I go back and forth. Yes, I'm grateful my personality is flawed enough that the Army leaders couldn't latch onto me and force me to stay against my will or break my will. But then again, my life would be a lot better off if I were normal and high functioning enough to adapt.

    My mind was constantly filled with self hatred and hatred towards the command when I was there. I can recall thinking, "Why the fuck are they trying to get me to stay? Don't they realize if I was mentally healthy enough to be fine with this, I would be a doctor or lawyer instead of some loser in this stupid uniform? Get over yourselves"
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  5. Lavitz

    Lavitz It’s Showtime!

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    Ah basic. The Drill sergeants said if we're good today then we might get mail.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
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  6. Rholk

    Rholk Blue Belt

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    You are one troubled person arn't you?
     
  7. ILLogic

    ILLogic Brown Belt

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    Florida is as Florida does
    Here we go again
    Same ol shit again
     
  8. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    Yes. But I made this thread to try and get an understanding of myself versus "your normal person." What's the problem with that?
     
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  9. FeloniousMonk

    FeloniousMonk Red Belt

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    I think most of it ties back
    to healthy familial relations.
    if you weren't instilled adequately
    with love, respect and strength-
    Or equipped efficiently with
    discipline, compassion and
    self value... then it'll lend to
    being more malleable, more
    impressionable & susceptible
    to control.

    You said it yourself....
    You were raised (luckily) in an
    environment which deplored
    such ego & manipulation of
    power. Ego, power & manipulation
    are so insidious and prevalent in
    households, most of it goes
    unrecognized imo.

    Being a good parent who is
    capable of producing strong,
    balanced adult humans is a
    taller order than what most
    people approach it as. It's our
    first line of defense against
    injustice... Respect in the home.
     
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  10. Slippery Kantus

    Slippery Kantus I'm necessary evil Double Yellow Card

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    Go get professional mental health therapy.

    That's not an insult, just a recommendation from reading that op.
     
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  11. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    I'm not sure. I appreciate what you wrote and understand it, but I had terrible parents, which is why I'm far from normal. I think my lack of an ego and intolerance for ego is that I didn't respect my parents, so I'm distrusting of authority figures. Sort of a contradiction, I know. I'm arrogant enough to hate people for being arrogant and think they have no right to be that way, but not arrogant enough to like myself.

    The military barbaric ways seem to work for all sorts of minds, sadly. If you have a big ego, you'll prosper because you'll buy into their ways and build yourself up further. If you have low self esteem, you might be impressionable enough to build confidence in yourself through their basic manipulations.
     
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  12. FeloniousMonk

    FeloniousMonk Red Belt

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    Yeah, I misread your op.
    Thought you mentioned growing
    up in an ideal environment. But
    you mentioned that you grew up
    an idealist.

    Anyways, all humans have at
    least a varying propensity towards
    tribalism. Being in that very
    impressionable, high hormone
    stage of a young adult- your
    environment begins to take on
    a much stronger influence...
    Especially if you repress creativity,
    and individual expression in the
    process...

    They get em while they're young
    for a reason.
     
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  13. Steve-French

    Steve-French What A Rush!!!

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    What did you expect? I went to Fort Knox in 2002. I just looked at it ass one big mind game. Once you get into shape it's not that hard. Honestly it sounds like you need to thicken your skin.
     
  14. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    Good point.

    The thing is, despite what others might believe, I'm not looking to necessarily belittle military people, or at least not to build myself up at their expense, since I assuredly do not think highly of myself. I'm just trying to understand it a bit better than the generic shit like "Oh, they signed a contract and actually live up to their commitments." That just comes off as brainwashed BS to me. Psychologically, these things can be explained better.
     
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  15. FeloniousMonk

    FeloniousMonk Red Belt

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    Also... It wouldn't be a bad idea
    to talk to a professional, or at
    least, someone who has also
    been through similar experiences.

    Mental health issues in general
    aren't taken as seriously as they
    should be; especially the ones
    that stem from the most money
    backed industry in this country
    (Military)... it's largely an issue
    we like to sweep under the rug.

    Not saying you have any issues
    (I don't know you)...
    Honestly, it just sounds like you
    went through some traumatic
    years, away from your personal
    path & what you saw probably
    shook you to the depths,
    especially knowing that the
    vicious cycle you experienced
    has persisted throughout time..

    You acknowledge that you
    shouldn't worry about what is
    out of your control, but you can
    at least work on controlling the
    ways in which those same forces
    influence your life (perception,
    attitude, actions, etc..)
     
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  16. Thai Domi

    Thai Domi Silver Belt

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    Lighten up, Francis.
     
  17. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    I do have very thin skin, for sure. However, it's interesting that you, as someone normal(I assume), talk about it being a physical training exercise. I thought it was pretty much mental, since they really do not have high physical standards(at least for what I was used to).
     
  18. koolinkunming

    koolinkunming Silver Belt

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    What is this "normal" you speak of? What do you consider normal?

    Just curious.
     
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  19. MikeHolmes

    MikeHolmes Green Belt

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    I think the military experience didn't help with my mental being, but it certainly illuminated some problems. Whenever I've talked to a mental health professional about the experience, they basically say that they have lots of experience with the military chewing people up and spitting them out, and to just be grateful that I got out during training. But then it calls to issue the fact that why did I hate it so deeply to the point of suicidal thoughts so early and easily, and why does your average person seem to get through it?
     
  20. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    Once you learn how to kill, and gain experience, you get discharged, and are free to make lots of money in the gun-for-hire industry.
     
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