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Human nature and killing children

NiqashMotawadi3
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12/27/2013 6:33:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
This is inspired from the thread on Adam Lanza.

I think our society exaggerates the empathy and the benevolence of human nature to a great degree, classifying those who go against such classification as psychopaths, especially if they engage in acts where innocent children are killed, although it is likely that one is not a psychopath but could kill children.

If I myself had a troubled childhood in an elementary school which I think damaged my life, and I can read in the News that I can have revenge and make a name for myself, then I might go for it if I find my life already ruined to a great degree. I'm myself a normal person to those around me. I am not diagnosed with any disorder. I do not show any signs of schizophrenia or psychopathy. But I do have violent tendencies within me like I suppose most humans do. Everyone treats those as secrets and would rather pretend that it is absolutely horrible for anyone to kill children, when it isn't to many of us that horrible. I personally think that I can kill children if (1) I had a terrible childhood, (2) I wasn't pleased with the outcome of my life and (3) If I had a lust for fame, though I think that such honesty is usually shun by people who would categorize you as a psychopath for simply having such thoughts. I do believe that some people would find killing children very horrible, though I'm inclined to think that they're a minority and that most of us pretend to be peaceful, loving citizens when we are capable of violence and murder in certain situations, even when we don't necessarily have psychopathy, autism, schizophrenia or any disorder.
jopo
Posts: 509
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12/27/2013 8:41:37 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/27/2013 6:33:25 AM, NiqashMotawadi3 wrote:
This is inspired from the thread on Adam Lanza.

I think our society exaggerates the empathy and the benevolence of human nature to a great degree, classifying those who go against such classification as psychopaths, especially if they engage in acts where innocent children are killed, although it is likely that one is not a psychopath but could kill children.

To me one of the largest differences is in the ability to carry out the action - I do believe that non-psychopathic people could potentially get to a point where they could conceive killing someone, even children; however, I feel like it is something entirely different to actually be able to "do the deed". Killing is seen as one of the most, if not the most, morally reprehensible crimes giving that you completely negate someone's life. Especially when looking innocent children - you know have to consider two new factors: (1) given that they're innocent that means they did nothing to aggravate or entice you, which would create additional moral burdens; (2) since they're children, they're seen as part of the future of society and having large potential, which means by negating their lives you are possibly substantially decreasing society's future value. I would hate for this to sound like reasons why the murder is worse in different cases, but mental state is a factor society considers when evaluating crime (which is why we have pleas to insanity, consider factors like self-defense, etc.) and all of this adds on to the morally weight of this issue.
If I myself had a troubled childhood in an elementary school which I think damaged my life, and I can read in the News that I can have revenge and make a name for myself, then I might go for it if I find my life already ruined to a great degree. I'm myself a normal person to those around me. I am not diagnosed with any disorder. I do not show any signs of schizophrenia or psychopathy. But I do have violent tendencies within me like I suppose most humans do. Everyone treats those as secrets and would rather pretend that it is absolutely horrible for anyone to kill children, when it isn't to many of us that horrible. I personally think that I can kill children if (1) I had a terrible childhood, (2) I wasn't pleased with the outcome of my life and (3) If I had a lust for fame, though I think that such honesty is usually shun by people who would categorize you as a psychopath for simply having such thoughts. I do believe that some people would find killing children very horrible, though I'm inclined to think that they're a minority and that most of us pretend to be peaceful, loving citizens when we are capable of violence and murder in certain situations, even when we don't necessarily have psychopathy, autism, schizophrenia or any disorder.:

However, it is very clear that the situation you describe above is not one of a psychopath since you don't seem to be describing someone who can't maintain normal relationships or other "symptoms" of being a psychopath; however, given that you're arguing that in this instance there is a clear environmental factors that contributed to one's mental state and motivation, I do think that the term sociopath could be applicable in this case. I especially felt this after seeing a comparison between these two different disorders on the following: http://www.diffen.com...

What are your thoughts on this? I know in your original post you said that this hypothetical group of people who are capable of doing this don't have "any disorder"; however, given both the moral and the social oppositions to this issue, I think that to overcome these would be indicative of some disorder and you did portray clear factors contributing to it ("(1) I had a terrible childhood, (2) I wasn't pleased with the outcome of my life and (3) If I had a lust for fame"). Here we see someone who is motivated by poor experiences and views a largely immoral act as a way to fame. To me this points to a sociopath, but I am open and intrigued to hear your thoughts on this.
NiqashMotawadi3
Posts: 1,895
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12/27/2013 9:11:52 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
What are your thoughts on this? I know in your original post you said that this hypothetical group of people who are capable of doing this don't have "any disorder"; however, given both the moral and the social oppositions to this issue, I think that to overcome these would be indicative of some disorder and you did portray clear factors contributing to it ("(1) I had a terrible childhood, (2) I wasn't pleased with the outcome of my life and (3) If I had a lust for fame"). Here we see someone who is motivated by poor experiences and views a largely immoral act as a way to fame. To me this points to a sociopath, but I am open and intrigued to hear your thoughts on this.

I guess my main issue is with the assumption that humans are set to behave lovingly and not commit murder, when the opposite is programmed within us and present in our bestial tendencies, and therefore could be stimulated by social and cultural factors without having to be sociopathic behavior per se. Speaking of social and cultural factors, which we both seem to agree are very important, I'm from Lebanon and exposed to violence and civil war. I find pleasure in watching people I despise getting killed or in imagining myself killing people who I really despise. Yet I don't seem to share the majority of the symptoms sociopaths have and so I'm either a highly-functioning sociopath or just someone with no deceitful or sociopathic nature who has social and cultural factors that provoke his bestial tendencies and violent nature. I'm more inclined to believe the latter.
jopo
Posts: 509
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12/27/2013 9:31:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/27/2013 9:11:52 AM, NiqashMotawadi3 wrote:
What are your thoughts on this? I know in your original post you said that this hypothetical group of people who are capable of doing this don't have "any disorder"; however, given both the moral and the social oppositions to this issue, I think that to overcome these would be indicative of some disorder and you did portray clear factors contributing to it ("(1) I had a terrible childhood, (2) I wasn't pleased with the outcome of my life and (3) If I had a lust for fame"). Here we see someone who is motivated by poor experiences and views a largely immoral act as a way to fame. To me this points to a sociopath, but I am open and intrigued to hear your thoughts on this.

I guess my main issue is with the assumption that humans are set to behave lovingly and not commit murder, when the opposite is programmed within us and present in our bestial tendencies, and therefore could be stimulated by social and cultural factors without having to be sociopathic behavior per se. Speaking of social and cultural factors, which we both seem to agree are very important, I'm from Lebanon and exposed to violence and civil war. I find pleasure in watching people I despise getting killed or in imagining myself killing people who I really despise. Yet I don't seem to share the majority of the symptoms sociopaths have and so I'm either a highly-functioning sociopath or just someone with no deceitful or sociopathic nature who has social and cultural factors that provoke his bestial tendencies and violent nature. I'm more inclined to believe the latter.:

Very interesting. There were two main ideas I wanted to emphasize in response to this so I will address the underlined portion in one paragraph and the other in another.

My main opposition to this stems from how I tend to consider actions from a societal perception on whole. I like the application of Hobbes' ideas of human nature and social contract for how it applies to this, which seemed to be decently summarized here: http://www.iep.utm.edu... . Essentially, humans are naturally selfish, but also rational. In the "Natural State" without society, we are concerned with our own survival and may even kill others. However, for our own benefit (rights protection, greater ability to prosper, etc.) we form society with a social contract. This contract dictates certain acts that are and are not allowed (I've heard this described before as we cede some rights in order to gain greater rights protection). In my mind, under this framework, viewing actions that violate this as moral would lead to the corruption of society (I tend to take very strongly to Kant's categorical imperative and apply morals to the whole of society and evaluate the impacts - if we let everyone cut in line, ultimately this would result in the disintegration of lines; if we normalizing killing children, there would potentially be no children). Regarding all of this, I view your position (and I could be wrong) as one were you advocate for our motivations from the Natural State as justifying our actions and I view things from a perspective where they conflict with the rules of the Social Contract and may lead to the disintegration of society.

I definitely agree from what you've shared that you are not a sociopath and do apologize if you had the impression I had in any way indicated that, that was definitely not my intention. In your case I agree with you that the latter explanation of the two you offered seems highly more reasonable. However, I also revert back to my earlier differentiation between thinking about killing someone and actually doing the action, it requires more ... moral violations to do the latter of those. I also see your situation as largely different from the original situation where we were evaluating someone who was justifying actually killing innocent children. I don't advocate for imagining killing people you despise; however, I also don't see that sole factor as an indication that one is a sociopath.
rross
Posts: 2,772
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12/27/2013 6:03:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Most psychological diagnoses are just a way of categorizing behaviors that are dysfunctional. In some cases (anxiety, depression) it's the individual who objects to the behavior, in others (sociopathy) it's society that objects. What I mean is, it's just a description of behavior rather than a virus or neural dysfunction. It's defined by social norms.

For this reason, your argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If someone is capable and prone to killing children, what difference does it make if he's a diagnosed sociopath or not?

I don't take pleasure in watching people I hate die, and I have never fantasized about killing anyone. This doesn't mean it's uncommon to, though.

But I'm not sure what your point is. Are you abnormal? It really depends on the social contect. In this prissy little suburb where I live, god yes. Where you live, maybe not. I don't know.
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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12/27/2013 9:06:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Stop talking about human nature. It makes me want to smash my head against a wall.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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12/27/2013 10:44:59 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/27/2013 9:06:04 PM, Noumena wrote:
Stop talking about human nature. It makes me want to smash my head against a wall.

What bothers you about it?
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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12/28/2013 3:01:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/27/2013 10:44:59 PM, vbaculum wrote:
At 12/27/2013 9:06:04 PM, Noumena wrote:
Stop talking about human nature. It makes me want to smash my head against a wall.

What bothers you about it?

Essentialism bothers me immensely. Philosophically speaking.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
NiqashMotawadi3
Posts: 1,895
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12/28/2013 8:17:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 12/27/2013 6:03:09 PM, rross wrote:
Most psychological diagnoses are just a way of categorizing behaviors that are dysfunctional. In some cases (anxiety, depression) it's the individual who objects to the behavior, in others (sociopathy) it's society that objects. What I mean is, it's just a description of behavior rather than a virus or neural dysfunction. It's defined by social norms.

For this reason, your argument doesn't make a lot of sense to me. If someone is capable and prone to killing children, what difference does it make if he's a diagnosed sociopath or not?


I guess my observation would simply say that many of us are high-functioning sociopaths to a certain degree, although we deny it, or that we exhibit violent behaviors which we don't quite understand or can diagnose, as I can murder children in particular situations, although psychology still would diagnose me as a normal person before I do so. My purpose, I guess, is to say that one can commit horrible murders and yet not be deviated from the social norm in most of his other daily experiences, and so could never show any signs of dysfunctional behavior before or even after he or she committed a horrible crime, unlike diagnosed sociopaths and psychopaths.

I don't take pleasure in watching people I hate die, and I have never fantasized about killing anyone. This doesn't mean it's uncommon to, though.

But I'm not sure what your point is. Are you abnormal? It really depends on the social contect. In this prissy little suburb where I live, god yes. Where you live, maybe not. I don't know.

I suppose I'm a "war child" as I've been directly exposed to civil war in my life, though I wouldn't think that cultural difference makes a great difference, as I have many American/Canadian friends who have this desensitization to killing children. Although I currently wouldn't commit such a crime (because I'm fortunate enough to have secured a good future), I can imagine that if I had a terrible childhood and some incentive for revenge and fame, that I would murder children like Adam Lanza did.