A Trial In History

A Trial In History

A Story by pia
"

an article on how the Salem witch trials relates to today's world problems

"

 Saducismus Triumohatus was a book written by Joseph Glanvill in 1681, highlighting the significance of believing in the Supernatural, the Devil and witches.  The book emphasised that acknowledging the three meant the acknowledgment of God, and therefore the book served a much greater purpose to a society living in a theocracy.


 What that purpose did ignite was fear. 1692 was the year where the Salem witch trials took place in colonised Massachusetts, where around two hundred people were accused and tried for witchcraft and around twenty were executed.  The ‘witch hunt’ started with two girls who fell ill for unknown reasons and started displaying behaviours which fuelled the public's already indoctrinated fear. They were labelled as the ‘afflicted girls’.


  It wasn’t surprising that these girls were tried because of sheer ignorance displayed by the public. The probability of them developing a mental illness or any form of disease wasn’t even considered. That very ignorance wasn’t just limited to different behaviour, but also those who chose not to conform to societal values. Women who chose to dress differently or have physical disabilities were also accused. People also included in these fallacious accusations where those who criticized the ‘witch hunt’. A farmer named John Proctor was also tried for denying witch craft, since according to Joseph Glanvill, rejecting the belief in witchcraft was rejecting the belief in God, making him a blasphemer as well. Anyone who showed hints of rejection towards the belief in witchcraft was labelled as someone rejecting religious beliefs and belief in God Himself, making the person subject to terrorism and attacks.

   

  But was fear the only factor that resulted in these mass executions? Dilcouerie of witchcraft was a treatise written in 1584 by Reginald Scot. Scot claimed that ‘witch hunt’ was irrational and not a part of Christianity. He presented it with psychological and sociological reasons. More than the fear factor, it was a method of displacement. Guilt or any other forms of negative emotions were pushed on to those seen as less threatening. For example, in his work, Scot argued that ‘those who denied charity to poor women sometimes led the deniers to accuse these women of witch craft’. And this was exactly what had happened. Reverend Samuel Parris accused his house servant Tibuta as a witch to explain and to save his daughter, who experienced fits, contorting pain and fever. Social reasons were just as much of a reason leading to these heinous trials. While the heads of the area were in England dealing with the Massachusetts Charter, their absence created a political vacuum. Witchcraft and black magic was seen as the only viable excuse to explain the reasons for the instability. So it all came down to fear which was created by a psychological turmoil in the collective minds of the people and sociological disruption.


  A society works similar to the three psyches of the human mind. According to a Freudian School of Thought, the ID, the super ego and the ego all work together to function and rectify behaviour. Where the ID seeks pleasure and irrationality, the super ego creates a conscience and a self righteous nature. If either becomes dominant in a society it can lead to mass hysteria similar to the behaviour displayed in the Salem witchcraft trials. It leads to irrationality, assuaged violence and diminished reasoning. The ID being those who seek pleasure in dominating others and making them conform to society, and taking any sort of drastic measure to make sure otherwise. The super ego is displayed by those who disregard any other belief and live in a little bubble of righteousness rendering anyone different as a danger to society. Ego is needed to instil rational thinking similar to how laws and Principles for a reality check. If, during the trials society chose to listen to reasoning, cross examination with a mind not clouded by zealots and fear then these mass executions could have been avoided.


  Despite this mass hysteria occurring in the 16th century we saw waves of it in later times during World War II and the cold war, and even now in a modern society in the form of terrorism and racism. We live in a world where we use the weak as a scapegoat to explain and justify our heinous actions. We seek shelter in fear of the inexplicable and in turn, transform that fear into a driving force to control those who are different from us. Values suited for us cannot always suit others. But we still choose to let the two extreme psyches in society destroy them with the belief that we are purging society from what we think is wrong. By the end of all this we should really ask ourselves; do we really learn from history? Or, are these tragic events just trials for us, just like the trials in Salem.  


© 2017 pia



Author's Note

pia
i chose not to add too much detail regarding tragic events in today's time. i didn't want to come off as biased or offensive to anyone who has varying opinions. the point of this is explained in the last para

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Overall, this is a well-organized & researched article that reads like a college paper. Your arguments are interesting & lead logically thru the various points you're making here, until finally ending up with what appears to be a comparison to today's times where we are marginalizing people who are weak/different. All this is well done & stated assertively without being the slightest bit controversial by coloring this discussion with political rhetoric.

Now . . . there's something that I didn't quite get from this reading & it's very subtle, so I'll try to explain. I knew what you were talking about, thru-out this piece, but there were times when I felt you could've put out some clear sign-posts for the reader to follow a little better what point(s) you're trying to make, as we go along.

Here's an example -- paragraph 3: "It wasn’t surprising that these girls were tried because of sheer ignorance." -- this sounds like the girls were ignorant, not the people trying them. This would be the signpost statement I'm referring to & it's good to have a signpost like this, but the message is not entirely clear to point the way as to where this discussion is going. I think in 3 or 4 places, such a signpost could be stronger & clearer. This is especially needed becuz your writing is quite erudite & there are many readers who will not be able to grasp the level of your knowledge here.

Another thing I noticed is that you refer to ID, superego & ego as if that's the facts about human nature. It is not. This is only a Freudian viewpoint & there are other viewpoints in psychology. This concept could be made a little more clear for people who have no idea who the hell Freud was or what he taught.

Overall, tho, I find it very informative & a sign of your brilliant thinking mind to put together an essay about how today's separatist mindset is based on similar aspects of history such as the Salem witch trials. There is a sore lack of intelligent information to read & I love it when a writer is precise & truthful & well-researched like this.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

pia

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much for your review !!!! I will just use your review points to edit this
And w.. read more



Reviews

I thought this was a well-written piece of expository writing. I don't necessarily agree with points you have made as they pertain to modern society. And I must admit I'm more of the Jungian than Freudian school of psychological philosophy. Aristotle would argue that where there are two opposing sets of opinion, facts and logic should be foremost in dispelling or proving an argument as the better point of progression. Thoreau said," It is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things". But it is difficult to corral the whole of modern society into the "we" and "us" group. There are certain groups of people who think one form of action is perfectly acceptable that others would deem barbaric and these groups exist within the modern "norm". However, I would venture that murder, torture and man's general inhumanity to man is unacceptable behavior by any societal group. This is not the case to those groups. One cannot reason with those devoid of reason. But I believe we must avoid rash generalizations of any type else we become the author of a prejudice we may vehemently oppose. We mustn't forget than human beings are individuals and that not all of them follow a "herd mentality" like the lemmings in the Arthur C. Clarke short story, "The Possessed ". It is not even an accurate portrayal of lemming behavior, let alone a depiction of the human. I do like the points you have presented here and the intention with which I presume those thoughts were put forth. I did hear an argument once that one might dress up a rattlesnake, preach to him, reason with him and seek with all efforts available to conform or proselytize him and yet all you ended up with in the end was a very agitated snake that would still bite you unless you first pulled his fangs. John Morley in his treatise on compromise said, " You have not converted a man because you have silenced him." And Confucius observed in The Analects, “There are some with whom we may study in common, but we shall find them unable to go along with us to principles. Perhaps we may go on with them to principles, but we shall find them unable to get established in those along with us. Or if we may get so established along with them, we shall find them unable to weigh occurring events along with us.” And that is the entirety of the enigma that forms human nature...we all see things differently and respond to them differently, not as large or small groups but as individuals. If a group mentality is at play it has been my observation that it is either coerced by propaganda or enforced by dogma. This was an interesting read for me. My apologies for my drawn out review. Bless.

Posted 1 Month Ago


pia

1 Month Ago

You've obviously put alot of effort and thinking into this review and im so glad i got to see your.. read more
Very good Pia. You have obviously put a lot of research and time into this paper and I think it is effort well spent. I have seen Arthur Miller's powerful play 'The Crucible' about the Salem witchhunts several times and it was no coincidence that it was written in the time of the McCarthy 'witchhunts'. It is obvious in our world of today with all its problems that leaders and politicians either do not know or chose to ignore (at their peril!) the lessons of history.
Great work!
All the best,
Alan

Posted 2 Months Ago


pia

2 Months Ago

thank you for your review !!
Fantastic food for thought. I wouldn't mind. . . . thanks for sharing love

Posted 2 Months Ago


pia

2 Months Ago

Thank you so much !
Excellent thoughts in the end of the write about how this relates to modern times. It's incredible, as you point out, how history gets ignored to the peril of all of us.

Posted 3 Months Ago


pia

3 Months Ago

Thanks for the review !!
Good facts, keep it up! ^^_``

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

4 Months Ago

Thankss!!!
Your works are always so researched and so full of depth! Thanks for sharing, it was an amazing read!

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Thank you so much !!
Great work. . . . the plot has mAny things to sAy . . moreover it has a message which easily connected to the readers . . i think your story telling was the key point . . you fully made it intersting and crispy so that we never lose interest . . .applauds

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Thank you !!
Good question set in an enlightening history lesson. It begs questions about each one of us and our species here on earth.

Posted 5 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Expository paragraph narrating the ordeals of the darked ages preferably and what it meant in such time to be accused.

Posted 5 Months Ago


pia

5 Months Ago

Thankss !!!!
The sad part is. We don't.
"By the end of all this we should really ask ourselves; do we really learn from history? Or, are these tragic events just trials for us, just like the trials in Salem. "
Terror is a word. The Christians in 50 A.D were consider terrorist. A terrorist is where you are standing. Native Americans in North Dakota are consider terrorist. We need to stop our world and fix her. Wrong and right must find middle ground or war and terror will be relearn lessons. Thank you for your powerful words and thoughts. I did like them.
Coyote

Posted 5 Months Ago



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Added on May 29, 2017
Last Updated on September 10, 2017

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pia
pia

Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan



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https://www.instagram.com/pia_farooq I love writing about what I feel important issues symbolism And i also love writing stuff that represents my country in neutral stance where i can talk abou.. more..

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