This article was born after an interesting debate which led me to understand how so many of us take life for granted. Sometimes we forget what we may see in the news; although different; might be a common reality for others.
Many people are not familiar with the term Narco-culture; I would like to analyze the reasons why so many people would “like” to join such style of life.
Money-Power: My father used to say “Money and Power are not the same. You can tell a person who grew up without money by the way he behaves regarding money; he erroneously believes money is power. That type of person is always “hungry” for money, and no amount of money will ever be enough because the issue lies within, that person is trying to prove he is good enough to a world that doesn’t care. The man who grew up with money behaves differently because money is nothing new to him; that man understands money will only get you so far, he was raised to value power over money and to attain power one needs to be a great chess player in life. Although Power and money may seem to most as if they go together, they do not. Money buys you things, power moves the world”.
What my father was trying to say is that money seems like power to many; specially if they grew up without it. However money is only the first of “Power’s” mental traps or as mystics would say “it is power testing the initiate” Most fail at the first gate but aren’t aware of their failure for they are satisfied to have some type of control over others. Control is one of the reasons why many people enter the world of Narco-culture; a world which has its appeals as does the world of those who seem to “legitimately” have power or control.
I grew up under unique circumstances, listening and learning about Narco-world as much as I was being taught about the mechanisms of our traditional system. At some point you learn there is little difference between the powerful business man who pays to protect his interests and the Narco leader who rans a “business”; they both might become addicted to power. To both who are at the top of their food chain, it is about profit but also about power; one wants to keep it, the other has learned the ultimate goal isn’t money and so he seeks to obtain power–their organization will depend strongly on the loyalty of its members, for money is no good without loyalty.
Money can’t give you purpose — at least not one that holds worth. The only use of money is for power, but TRUE power lies in how you can affect and change the minds and actions of other people”
Money is the Mansion that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the Old Stone building that starts for centuries”
We need to understand the reason why Narco-culture goes after the young; it is because of their idealism. If we add to this the fact those they tend to recruit are already living in precarious circumstances, then it makes sense why their loyalty becomes more or less solid. The same logic can be used for those recruited for extremist movements/terrorism. They are simple people who have been taught to believe money equals power or in other cases they are promised control over their already desperate situations.
When I was younger, I used to ask my dad why was Narco culture so attractive to some people, he said to me “Imagine this, if you were a young person (usually adolescents/early 20’s) and you had nothing, your parents are poor and there is no prospective for you to get ahead in life. Education is costly and sadly even then, if you live in a country based on “social class”, if you don’t have the right pedigree, your last name can be the end of you. Now you try and try to believe things will get better but they don’t, there is no help and you get hungrier each day and feel more helpless. Then comes someone who tells you how different your life can become, that person validates your frustrations against society, God, the Government and validates your desperation. Then he offers you a gift (no strings attached) so you may help yourself and your family; that is where chess (psychology) comes into play. Now your mind starts to associate that person as a friend or at the very least a savior. Normally they will be patient and cultivate the relationship, allowing for you to come to them. Now you get to see a glimpse of their world and promises of change. You are given a simple task and are made to feel like a hero, now because your mind is unprepared to handle real power, you start to feel powerful–that feeling will either start eating at you (delusions of grandeur) or it will push you to believe that maybe YOU can use this new found power to change the unfairness around you. There are two types; those who enter because they just want money and those who want power in order to “change” things; those who want money won’t last long in that world for they are easily corruptible. Those who are idealist, those are the ones groomed to raise in the ranks, because they can be loyal. It is not that different from those who serve; you are groomed; those with talent and loyalty, those rise in the ranks and are used to groom others. They may seem like very different worlds but when it comes to training their techniques are pretty similar–the “Machiavellian” technique, that is why it’s important to learn to think for oneself. Sometimes you start to wonder what is “right”; innocent soldiers are send to wars with all their idealism to ultimately protect the interests of a few mascaraded as “what is good for all” , so are the young Narcos. Ultimately innocent soldiers at times die needlessly so those in power can remain there ”
In recent decades research on narcoculture has increased; however, within this research many forms to define, characterize and understand Narco-Culture has also emerged, which has led to much confusion. The media and social constructions create life expectancies which are not real for most. It also legitimizes/glorifies drug trafficking, through symbolic forms such as music, literature, television series, religion, architecture and films concerning drug trafficking. Even though many of the films presented do show superficially the violence of that world, it often desensitizes the audience by flashing money, women etc–that way the brain of the person watching fails to correctly associate what he or she is witnessing; with a culture so hungry for instant gratification, this has become easier and faster to achieve. The content found in the media does little to encourage people to properly understand what that world actually implies. The scenes can impact young people’s moldable minds, long-term plans and push them to develop unrealistic expectations for their lives.
“A constant aspect in the characterization of narcoculture are the aspirations and desires it can generate. The symbolic elements contained in it create representations and social imaginaries about drug trafficking which come to configure a world of life with its own styles, values and behavior patterns, and seduces a large number of people through desires ranging from the consumption and appropriation of symbolic contents, up to the incorporation in drug trafficking activities. In this sense, Simonett (2004 and 2006) defines narcoculture as a subculture of the exaltation of violence and the economic and political power of groups and subjects linked to drug trafficking that makes them idols; meanwhile, for Maihold and Sauter (2012) it is a culture of ostentation, the aesthetics of power and impunity. Similarly, Valenzuela (2003) highlights the exaltation of power and impunity of groups and subjects linked to drug trafficking, and the praise for the lifestyle associated with drug trafficking. Likewise, Ovalle (2005) points out that among the continuously associated elements are opulence, transgression, non-compliance with the norm and machismo. These conceptualizations are linked to the analysis of social contexts, in such a way that they explain how crime and illegality can be justified and considered legitimate, given the indolence of social structures and the need to survive in environments dominated by consumption and social exclusion. Córdova (2007) argues that the desires and dreams that it provokes probably have to do with “the need and aspirations for promotion in social structuring, and even with resentment and desires for social revenge”
It is not that Sicarios are unaware of the dangers posed by being a “hitman”, the transfer of drugs or weapons, kidnapping, robbery, collection or other drug activities, they are aware of them and assume costs and risks; as the more formal channels are closed for these young people, the options emanating from informality, parallelism and the drug world are strengthened.
Wether one is a Sicario for Narco-World or other contracting entities, as their purposes of life are constructed and developed, so is the meaning of death–this one becomes defined in a parallel way.
When it comes to the young, it is necessary to reflect on all the circumstances which surround Narco-Culture before making assumptions. Wether we want to accept it or not, they are people just like any of us who were given little if any choice in wether or not to partake. We could sit and simply judge but are we certain we would have done better at their age had we been in their shoes? Can we honestly say our “system” of life at its very fabric ( how it operates) is vastly different?
Let me reiterate, I do not believe “violence works”; this article is one of informational nature and focuses on the younger generation and why they may be so easily seduced. This article is meant to try to understand why young people might choose the Narco path, with that said, they are all responsible for the pain and horror they impose on others and should be held accountable. I am someone who believes the key to these things don’t lie on one extreme (violence) or the other (passiveness). Todays article isn’t being written with the objective of analyzing “right” from “wrong” ; this time I chose to write about a subculture from an “objective” point of view.
It is necessary to analyze to what extent the increase in studies on narcoculture responds to the dazzling effects with which the subject of drug trafficking has been installed in society; just as the public consume the symbolic contents due to the seduction with which the cultural industries present them. Beyond the fascination, it is possible to consider the forms and symbolic contents of narcoculture and what they imply…a questioning of the development of society? In some way they expose a pending social debate; would we find any “right” answer? It is likely we would talk about the need to “Educate” so as to create more opportunities yet we cannot blind ourselves to life’s complexities. Systematic Education is not the answer, but an educated society (a society based on reason/philosophy/self mastery) could certainly do better. The question then becomes, if an educated society could provide better results, why then is it not fomented? Why then each year more and more curriculums seem to be focus on “boxing” people than teaching them to think for themselves? More importantly, until when are we going to believe that education means “to regurgitate” what is taught in most schools and fail to take responsibility for our lack of self instruction. Maybe if we educated ourselves with as much furiosity as when we demand solutions, we would have a better functioning society.
I get your explanations. Human nature is a fickle thing comprised of copious iterations of just about any random thing you can think of. Especially while young.
Also, I can certainly see, just from your writings, that the Narcos have a set of wisdom and a set of values on the higher “initiated” levels at least. These are often set very well within a oral agreement/contract of how to behave and act. In those circles that can mean life or death. However horrible, these people live by a pretty strict code, and are very developed in certain ways that most others are not. However sad it is wasted on their acts and thoughts of harm and horrors of whatever kind. This diminishes their life-force. And they parish early and live in allot of fear and stress. Especially if one wants to leave the said organization.
I’ve only known people form these organizations. I was never intimately involved.
One trap is that they teach the young things like it’s ok to do bad… Just do some good over here and your karma is balanced.
I argue that if one is doing a good to offset the bad, then that so called good is also a part of the bad.
Thank you for your input. I do agree, one of the things which in many ways has made them admirable is the sense of “honor” where someone’s word still means something; of course one has to wonder how much of that is due to fear. Their world is certainly a complex one; it is fair to say that sense of “honor” through generations has been lost and a water down misguided version seems to have taken over; then again that could be said for Society as a whole. When it comes to actions, I feel “motivation” is what moves life; this also applies to ordinary life, for example: Someone may act charitable but only for praises, while silently and purposely hurting others. So on the one hand, there will be those whose superficial perception of that person will be a “good one” while those who suffered the blows of such person know better. Life is certainly a complex thing and personally I feel all we can do is open up ourselves to be able to face all sides of life, in order to develop the ability to distinguish someone who is good at his or her core than someone who pretends–that is certainly where life experience comes in handy.