Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

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dizekat
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Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by dizekat »

Let's discuss violence here. Knowing about Stanford Prison Experiment and Milgram Experiment is a must.

My view on the causes of violence is that basically
a: just about anyone can in principle feel pleasure from violence in some circumstances, e.g. killing someone who killed your family would feel good for most people (a few people might not realize this, and a fewer still might be genuine saints capable of forgiveness, but i'm speaking of majority).
b: people often imagine stuff, for the purpose of feeling the pleasure. For example when masturbating most people imagine that they are having sex.
c: when hurting others people usually imagine badness in those they hurt, and imagine other entirely abstract things ('honour' in honour killings for example) to make their sadist experience pleasant. They all too willingly use their own imagination to destroy their own humanity, to tap into the sources of pleasure that are otherwise only available to sadist psychopaths.
The c is a large driving force behind the imaginary things that others usually misinterpret as genuine irrationality and genuine crazy beliefs - this gives others more sense of superiority.

[and of course some few people are violent psychopaths and feel pleasure from hurting others without imagining anything. But that is a small percentage and it is of relatively little concern]

Are people innately good but corrupted by belief systems? Are people innately evil? Why is it so easy to make random people into sadists? (see Stanford Prison Experiment).
Am i being too harsh in how I view people, and people are more of innocent sheep that are being misled by violent doctrines and manipulated into evil? Am I instead viewing people as too good?
Post your view.
edit: linkified
Last edited by dizekat on 07 Jan 2011, 14:52, edited 1 time in total.
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scifi
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by scifi »

the simple awnser to your question would be, society sucks, we born in a violent society that forces us to figth for what we want.

Also our society teach us to give importance only for our self interest. Parents/schools teach us to be selfish. When a child is born they are what i call "TABULA RASA" witch means a empty memory slot, without emotions or anything, we are like sponges we absorve whats outside of us, or what is inserted into us :|

thats it, this figthing behaviour makes most of us bad people, we are always in search for pleasure, both in the good sence or the bad one.
Pleasure here means, stuff like money or sence of acomplishment.

a more complex awnser would require more reading of the experiment you quoted :wink:
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dizekat
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by dizekat »

But what's about things like honour killings? You know, when father and mother and rest of the family kill their teen daughter because she was raped. Why they do it? Are they brainwashed into it? Are they (the way I see it) jump on opportunity to get sadistic pleasure, after willingly adopting and embracing a system of imaginary things that makes this kind of action pleasant? After willingly [ab]using the power of imagination to dispose of natural instincts.
You cannot explain violence as selfishness without explaining why it would be selfish to be violent. A lot of violence goes against what you would think is a primary instinct.
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scifi
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by scifi »

dizekat wrote:But what's about things like honour killings? You know, when father and mother and rest of the family kill their teen daughter because she is a rape victim. Why they do it? Are their brainwashed into it? Are they (the way I see it) jump on opportunity to get sadistic pleasure, after willingly adopting a system of imaginary things that makes this kind of action pleasant?
you see this sadistic pleasure you speak of is a direct consequence of the society we live in, i dislike to believe that its just a natural thing we humans have to behave like that. That kind of action is pleasent cause our mind has changed in sutch a way, we arent human anymore.

we dont jump rigth on the first oportunity to get pleasure we arent evil by nature, at least when we born and for the first years of our lives we arent like that, why?. There was this book, (old one though) science-fiction, talked about a colony ship that was sent away with a couple un-born-humans on it. When the ship arrived the colony started to build it self by un-maned robots, when the children were born, they had a small teaching devise inplanted that would serve as a parent. The fun thing here is that this robot "parent" would only teach these humans the basic concepts of life, respect and science. Nothing more nothing else.

What this book tryed to show is that we are a good species by nature, but the environment around us make us hostile. since the dawn of times we are forced to survive. This survival instinct isnt a bad thing on its own but made us a volatile species that has forgoten how to behave and consider things in a naive way.

In a world of feudal figths and honour, when you have a society that formats your mind to think and live by honour, its natural that humans take a violent aproach. We still have that in current days.

Ofc some people say humans have a natural gift for violence(witch i disagree).
And you can say that the idea of family is very important to us, so that we defend it even if it causes death/dishonour e.t.c..

But i believe that where we live, and what laws and culture we live for influences us the most. The teaching infra-estructure we have isnt imparcial and it doesnt help, that we have a completly global world now.

Society makes us and influences us, we do however have the capacity to change and better ourselves.
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zwzsg
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by zwzsg »

You haven't observed real children if you believe they're naturally good.

- Bullying and brawl are more common in elementary school recess than anywhere else.

- And children enjoy slowly maiming and killing small animals much more deeply than adults.
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scifi
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by scifi »

zwzsg wrote:You haven't observed real children if you believe they're naturally good.

- Bullying and brawl are more common in elementary school recess than anywhere else.

- And children enjoy slowly maiming and killing small animals much more deeply than adults.

i believe that when we are born we arent little devils roaming around traching stuff up. :mrgreen:

society influences us all.
Last edited by scifi on 07 Jan 2011, 17:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Machete234
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by Machete234 »

dizekat wrote: Are people innately good but corrupted by belief systems? Are people innately evil? Why is it so easy to make random people into sadists?
Difficult question:
People are evil right now.
If they once where good and got corrupted or if its a trait in the homo sapiens is kind of a henn and egg problem.

(Remember the homo sapiens might have conquered europe because he wasnt only more intelligent but could have been more "mean" with less scruples)

Being good is sometimes work but sometimes pays off when you do the right thing.
I like to believe people instinctively know whats right but that isnt always the case not for all people at least.
dizekat wrote:But what's about things like honour killings? You know, when father and mother and rest of the family kill their teen daughter because she was raped. Why they do it? Are they brainwashed into it?
stupid+brainwash+lower level of civilization
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zwzsg
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by zwzsg »

scifi wrote:i believe that when we are born we arent little devils roaming around traching stuff up. :mrgreen:
Oh so you're ignoring actual observations in favor of personal internal belief? Sorry wasn't aware it's a religious topic for you.
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TradeMark
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by TradeMark »

yeah, kids are horrible to each other... i've actually got quite shocked on how cruel they can be... maybe its because they havent developed empathy yet... maybe being cruel to others is what makes us to learn empathy and thus become more civilized.
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scifi
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by scifi »

zwzsg wrote:
scifi wrote:i believe that when we are born we arent little devils roaming around traching stuff up. :mrgreen:
Oh so you're ignoring actual observations in favor of personal internal belief? Sorry wasn't aware it's a religious topic for you.
nah it wasnt belief oriented mate,

i barely believe in anything these days

it is just a good way to say the wrongs of our society are caused by us,

if crime exists its caused by us, if wars exist they are caused by us.

And that simply is caused by the society we were born in, simple as that. :wink:

what i just pointed out was the old phylosofical statement that life when it starts its pure, but when tempered by reality it gets ugly cheers
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Karl
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by Karl »

... and the most reason for bullying in schools is either "for fun/joke " or "i dont know" etc...
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Sleksa
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by Sleksa »

Karl wrote:... and the most reason for bullying in schools is either "for fun/joke " or "i dont know" etc...
"i wanted to see if i could do it" "i wanted to try it " "because i can"
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maackey
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by maackey »

When I was little I intentionally squished a fuzzy caterpillar. At the time I was just curious as to what would happen. I had no concept of death, I just wanted to see what would happen. I was only sad because my parents scolded me and I didn't get to play with the caterpillar anymore.

Later, one of my great grandfathers died. I was sitting in some big building bored out of my mind in church clothes wondering why my mom was crying. I couldn't feel sorrow for his death; how could I not having lost anything.

I'm generally a pretty solitary person, and quite geeky, but I was never picked on very much in school or had any bullies. There were kids that were mean and I didn't like of course, but I don't think that they were innately bad people. If the same person would have grown up with different parents, a different set of friends, a different community, etc. they would become wholly different people.

I can look back on my life and see how others directly affected who I am today. People change based on the interactions between other people, and society, religion, culture and pretty much all external stimuli. I've always been pretty healthy, never broken a bone, never going to the hospital -- and I usually tend to think people should "shrug it off" and stop relying on drugs so much. But on the other hand, If was genetically pre-disposed for sickness or something, I would think drugs would be divine.

Anyway, more to the point: I always assume people are good unless they show me otherwise. But people are very prone to change from their environment as my infallible anecdotal evidence shows~ so society has a big impact on things like criminals, psychopaths, sadists, etc. and the effect of society is magnified further because people are like sheep.

Relating people to sheep works on both a religious and scientific level. The Bible, and New Testament especially, refers to followers as sheep -- cause that's what sheep do: follow. This isn't a bad or good thing innately, it just depends on who you follow for example Hitler vs. Jesus. People (and animals) are safer in numbers. You cant defend against armies of baddies if you don't have thousands of other like-minded individuals backing you up. It helps that people will tend to categorise things to absurdity but I digress.

I probably have some more but I'm tired and rambling.

tl; dr: people are innocent ignorant sheep that want to stay safe and will easily be led by anyone in a position of authority.
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babbles
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by babbles »

I did an essay on something like this recently, a brief one, something like "Are aggressive children born or made?"

I ended it with the conclusion that humans are naturally aggressive, instinct like and so forth, and that society neuters this. I think it was zwsg who said something like this, children like to kill critters more and enjoy it, society irons this out?

And the "brawl" situation, could be put down to "rough and tumble" play, which ironically is supposed to make children less likely to be aggressive as they get it out of their system without being overly aggressive. Obviously there are exceptions, and I'm not saying all parties involved in school yard/children fights are in it willingly and for fun.

About honour killings, I don't know much about them, but I don't think they're the same as violence. I mean, violent people are seen to be violent for no plausible gain; they get no reward other than the enjoyment of killing.

From what a quick scan read gathers, it seems it could still be a primal thing all humans have but Western society, for the most part, irons out of people. But I guess it can be seen, to a lesser extent, in western culture, people disowning family members for reasons, just not killing them. And yeah, this does seem be down to Religion, but that's what most of society is based on, religion.

So yeah, that's what I'd say, society/culture shapes us, but we're naturally aggressive and protective of our kin. I think the experiments you showed suggest that, from what I recall of them anyway.
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knorke
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by knorke »

What this book tryed to show is that we are a good species by nature, but the environment around us make us hostile.
Yes. But imo not like the way you think. Todays lifestyle is very different to the world that shaped the human. But insticts still follow the old rules and that is also why people get fat. There is no "if belly==full then stop eating" logic because it was never needed. Or maybe it does not trigger on todays food.
And with the survivial instict it is similiar. There is no real need or possibility to (play)fight and thus maybe the aggression is unleashed to who or whatever happens to be near? And in modern world ie school the weaker opponent can not even retreat.
since the dawn of times we are forced to survive.
Yes, humans are just another animal after all. Still that does not really explain why their "survival instinct" makes humans fighter other humans instead of banding against the hostile environment? Sometimes killing someone of same species has advantages but usually not. For humans it does not really have advantages because in groups they are stronger, smart brain but weak body and all that.

Humans are the only lifeform that can exist in different lifestyles. Not just different climates but different societies.
At least I can not think of an animal that can live in small or big groups, with or without a leader, as normades or settled etc.
So to cope with that the human mind is very much influenceable by its enviroment and appereantly that does not always work. Compare to a small goose that is just hatched: it will define the first thing it sees that is roughly the shape of a goose as its mother.
In nature, that works because the parent animals will always be near the nest. But you can also get a goose formed to follow a football.


When a child squashes a caterpillar out of interesst that might be ok but if it does that out of sadistic joy then thats wrong.
Hm, raises the question why it is interessted in that. Maybe because it does not know about the concept of life and death. Why does it not know about that? Because noways death is a tabu, food is already dead in supermarket and that just made me hungry.

tl;dr
update mind.dat inb4 ololol fuckthesystem
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dizekat
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by dizekat »

Well I prefer to use those "honour killing" as a stark example of something VERY evil that is not very well explained by instinct. (Look up "honour killing" if you don't know what it is, look at the cases. It is very common in some cultures, constituting up to two-thirds of homicides, and extremely uncommon in other cultures, where murder of a direct descendant is the least common type of homicide) .

Furthermore, if people are innately evil then why would society made of innately evil people make evil people nicer?
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knorke
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by knorke »

Well I like those "honour killing" as a stark example of something evil that is not very well explained by instinct
Couldnt it be compared to male lions that kill the offspring of the female they want to copulate with? That is instict to protect the own genes.
Just that instead of the perpetrator the victim is killed maybe because the perpetrator can not be found and then it turns towards others.


Furthermore, if people are innately evil then why would society made of innately evil people make evil people nicer?
Because they band together vs a common enemy and thus are nice towards each other. Without common enemy (hostile enviroment with harsh winters and bla is a common enemy too) they turn onwards each other.
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Johannes
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by Johannes »

Honor killings being just disguise for sadistic fun seems like a really long strecth... The simplest most straightforward "explanation" is just honor, morals obviously and makes very much sense. So why explain it in a much more farfetched way?

And while you might see children killing insects (which is just curiosity, if they rip an ants limbs off 1 by 1 I don't think it's meant to deal maximum pain but to just see what happens) they don't attack each other lethally on purpose practically ever. They might have some violent plays and power struggles but they won't act all out on it. Animals are the same too, they don't fight their own species' members full on.

And militaries have only recently gotten proper indoctrination to get majority of soldiers willing to kill their enemies. So I would say humans tend to need damn good reasons before they can overcome their instinctual aversion of killing another man.

Sure some violence can be fun for the adrenalin rush and demonstrating your manliness and superiority even more so, but that doesn't mean there's any more pleasure from violence than any other activity you've conditioned yourself to like. Besides the most basic things of stuff leaving or entering your body, all other pleasures are "imagined" as you say...

Those both experiments tell more about social structures than any primal nature of man.
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knorke
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by knorke »

Animals are the same too, they don't fight their own species' members full on.
That is playfull fighting, human counterpart would be sport.
It trains, strengthens social bounds etc.
Bullying or beating someone is something different, can not be compared and are motivated by different things.
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Johannes
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Re: Psychology of mass violence/sadism and mass irrationality.

Post by Johannes »

No, animals fight a lot, for mating rights and territory for example. But they will restrict to clashing their antlers against the contenders' antlers, instead of trying to stick them into each others guts.
Who's to say animal children exclusively nice to each other either, we can't fully understand their interactions.
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