Squeaky Wheel of Saṃsāra

July 9, 2018

ACES: Very Open-Ended Question

I have a tendency to use ACES as a buzzword as it helps me find like-minded people.

If Oprah is talking about ACES on 60 minutes and if it is mentioned on NPR broadcasts, why shouldn’t I use it? There is a steady increase in the popularity of “Adverse Childhood Experiences Study”  over Internet, according to the Google analysis tool that can trace how frequently words are used over time.
As a propagandist, I have to use this term.
Yet when it comes to the actual details, I don’t have enough information to give a nice sermon about ACES and what it proves to us. For some of us it is big news that psychological trauma in childhood can screw up someone’s life, while other people always knew it. There is an opportunity to create a new narrative around ACES for the former group of people to speak about it.
ACES will lead to a big social awakening, yet the narrative that surrounds ACES is still young and weak.
In some way it supports something that Karl Marx wrote about 150 years ago: that economic growth can happen either at the expense of nature or at the expense of the workers’ health.
A century and a half ago people were less concerned with nature, maybe some freaks like John Muir or Henry David Thoreau were.
As Trump administration is trying to squeeze the last bit of surplus out of the few standing workers and all the natural resources that are still left in national parks [only speaking of U.S.A.], I am preparing to speak that smart growth is the only way for the human specie not to self-eliminate.
Yet too often smart growth is only a cover for the same gentrification processes that have been going on for decades: increase rent, drive out poor people, apply a fresh layer of paint over the ruins of human tragedy and open some coffee shops for the upper middle class clients, with solar panels on the roof.
There is no accountability for the people that were driven out because they are no longer there to speak and vote for themselves. They are someone else’s problem now.
So the real smart growth can only occur if noone is driven out or brought in – this implies the healing of the population rather then forcing more traumatized people out to be replaced by the ones who could afford the cost of not exposing themselves to as much trauma.
Thus ACES can be a very important metric – maybe one day it could be used to let people heal where they are and to bring some accountability for the systemic trauma that is being done.
Average ACES score for the ZIP code area?
Yet what can I say about it? If I were to deliver a public speech about it, what do I say about it other then the concise paragraphs that accompany the bulky research data tables that are more medical in nature?
For some of us, the relationship between childhood trauma and illness in adulthood is very obvious, for others, this subject is a taboo, either because they benefit from systemic trauma or because they are not ready to admit that they are very traumatized and that their actions are defined by unresolved trauma.
Tobacco consumption causes cancer. Childhood trauma leads to illnesses and premature death if it remains unresolved.
Cigarettes and alcohol are taxed with a luxury tax, yet who drinks and smokes the most?
So how do I speak about it in a way that convinces people to apply the message of the study to their everyday lives, to make the dry ACES descriptions into something that has a human face, a human soul and results in policy changes, creastes social expectations for the authorities, that would act similarly to scientifically proven morality code?
Otherwise: ACES – so what? A very limited amount of people would be able to defend, lets say, their children against the systemic trauma that the school system inflicts on them by referring to ACES, a politician that is ready to sacrifice many lives of poor people to please the bourgeoisie that backs him or her cannot be shamed by ACES either.
What about using it abroad to measure the devastating impact of the American military machine?
How do I build the bridge between ACES and real life? In some way this is why I joined the Unitarian Universalist congregation. I am still clueless about how to deliver a message.
Some supplementary research may come in handy. There is Dr McKenzie and Bessel Van Der Kolk, Dr Gabor Maté. And yet what do I do with it?
I see some books that are written on the subject. Is there anyone that may server as the ACES bible?
I feel a little bit powerless as an exorcist that is not holding a holly cross and a gospel of ACES in his hands.
Perhaps it would take someone to start a Church of ACES and Latter Day Trauma Psychologists or an ACES political party.
It would require a new culture to spread and refine the message.
As I am trying to join the mental health advisory board for Frederick County, I can see that someone will ask me of what I know about ACES and I don’t want to reply with silence.
I am thinking of a more official answer to what it is.
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