There are some interesting themes and propositions put forward in this Chapter. The quotes are at the end of this post.
Teachers are in the best position in such an environment to research and implement strategies to prevent and stop bullying. But I have to say that during my schooling and after reflecting on it now, I recognised that many teachers I had simply did not have a genuine interest in teaching, and in ensuring the best interest of the children. Maybe some teachers started out having a passion but then it died out after seeing it recurring without any significant consequences (e.g., no one died or being seriously physically injured). Alternatively, some teachers simply don’t know what to do in such a situation (untrained), and is unmotivated to research or consult others as to how to properly address the situation. Or maybe these teachers were not bullied during their own schooling and therefore don’t understand the feelings/actions of those bullied. Or maybe it’s a combination of all of these that lead to inactions or superficial actions by teachers.
The idea of bullying creating a hierarchy due to the inevitable insecurities of interacting with others is an interesting one - one that I heard of. Unfortunately, the theory put forward does not actually help the bullied against the bullies.
Also the quote saying that Yukari recognised she felt at ease after confirming that ‘she was not all alone at the bottom of the class hierachy’ really hit home for me.
Utopia. With such a significant theme and title to the Chapter, it was suggested that the class united on bullying Yukari is a utopia if we just ignore that it was created at the expense of her suffering. When I reflect on this, really, everyday we live and consume, it is partially at the suffering of others. For example, animials for food, cheap labour in some countries, global warming, opportunties and money that others in less favourable circumstance could have used etc. Lottory for example is a clear example: where one or a group of persons win, and the rest loses money (which they could have used on something else). The one person gets to go to utopia. The rest are subject to temporary despair. Our world is therefore not utopia. But it is likely that some are experiencing utopia in our world.
In relation to several posts suggesting that Ryushiki is basically giving up when the bus-full of bullies were killed by Higanbana. I have a different interpretation. I took it as a metaphor that sometimes, bad things will resolve itself even if you do nothing (regardless whether it is a satisfatory outcome). For example, many people go through schooling and had been bullied; some receive traumas, some don’t; in either event, when they graduate, they no longer have to deal with that situation. Nevertheless, the impact of the bullying may linger with you, as with Yukari, who decided to ‘fight bullying’. Alternatively, some may be left with trust or relationship issues.
"If you retaliate, they’ll just keep coming for you.
Your bullies think it’s funny because you respond, right?
Just ignore them, ignore them. If you do that, they won’t bully you anymore."
She obediently believed this and put it into practice.
But somehow, … it seemed that in order to see results, she had to persevere for a considerable amount of time.
I asked for help. From my parents, from my teachers.
And their response was always ‘ignore them’.
… at some point I realised it.
I wasn’t the one who was ignoring others.
Rather, it was my parents and my teachers, who were ignoring me.
Bullying is an act of establishing hierarchy in group-oriented society.
And so if you’re not constantly doing that, you’ll become uncertain about your own ranking.
… And so, people cannot stop bullying.
Maybe bullying is something that can’t be helped… in order for people to live.
I think bullying provides some kind of nourishment.
Humans are creatures that are always insecure with themselves.
… They are creatures that are always uneasy about whether they are inferior to someone or something.
When you start feeling that… If there is someone lesser than you nearby, then they make you actually feel like you’re not inferior.
Maybe it appeases and calms their heart.
I mean, look at us… aren’t we both feeling it?
… I’m sorry about earlier… but when I heard that you were bullied too, … it really put me at ease.
By any chance, did you feel the same?
'I wanted to deny it, but it was true that I did feel that way. I was relieved.
I was relieved because I could confirm that I wasn’t all alone at the bottom of the class hierarchy.’
… A while ago, my teacher told me this.
If you’re only watching those at the top, you can’t feel anything but endless jealousy.
So instead, you should look at the bottom and realise how lucky you are.
I think that we, the bullied, … are that ‘bottom’ to people.
Just by knowing we exist, … our classmates can realise how lucky they are.
'I doubt animals want to be killed or anything.
But even though you thank them, … you still eat that meat.'
No animal is born wishing to become our feed.
In the same way, no person is born wishing to be bullied.
If I can pretend not to hear the death screams of the animals, and aimlessly go about eating meat.
…Then while being grateful to her precious sacrifice, … I should recognise this sense of unity and joy brimming over the classroom.
If I ignore the only one being bullied, then this certainly is a utopia.
But pushing misfortune on someone. Standing proudly about them… That everyone can be happy as long as someone suffers. I just can’t accept that.
'But you’re still using her hard work. Even if you can’t accept it, leisurely remaining a spectator still magnificently lets you stand above her,
don’t you think…?’
"Sakaki, why don’t you bully me?! If you did, I’d let you learn the greatest pleasure you could experience as a human being.
You’ll get along with everyone! Even those bullies who ridiculed you!! Isn’t that wonderful?!
If you cooperate and humiliate the scapegoat with everyone, you will be invited through the gate to the utopia where you can be friends with everyyyone!!