Adam & Evil


            Most people would agree that Criminal Minds is not a show you should watch alone in your room at night.  Some of the horrors that flash across the screen are enough to unnerve almost everyone.  Sometimes, I can't help but wonder if the real-life versions of Criminal Minds' monsters are born this way.  Is it in their brain?  Is it in their figurative heart?  What makes Charles Manson, Robert Hansen, and Adolf Hitler different than me?

Good conquers.jpg

            According to psychiatrist Michael Welner, this defiance can be due to one of three different reasons: "... illness, brute contempt, or bravado."  There is a worldview that most people are naturally good because nature is good, but there are some people that break the norm and have to battle evil inside them.  The confusion occurs when there is someone who is supposedly good does something horribly wrong.  What then? (ABC News)

            The reason that this happens more often than expected is because we all have the capacity to murder.  There is a theory from David Buss, University of Texas, that states that this happens because we are derived from beings that killed to survive, therefore we are naturally born killers.  According to Buss, we should be asking what prevents us from killing. (NY Times)

            Massacres usually occur when the person goes through life in situations that deteriorate sympathy and restraint.  They live in "forward panic," which means after they endure fear for a long time their emotions turn into fear and rage at the first chance to respond.  Serial killers are known to naturally have a high opinion of themselves.  They form anger towards the people that don't respect them as equals or with enough respect. (NY Times)

            The worldview says that there is always an inner battle between good and bad.  C.S. Lewis once said that there is no such thing as an ordinary person.  We all have virtue and moral corruptness inside of us.  It's when we can't learn to control the small evil tendencies that they spiral out of control, causing a morally good person to be comparable to the ones on Criminal Minds.



This article reminded me of an experiment that a psychologist did regarding deindividualization. The psychologists name was Phillip Zimbardo and he conducted an experiment to see how people can be manipulated to do bad things in unlikely circumstances. The experiment was called the Stanford Prison experiment which he made a mock jail and assigned guards to man the prisoners. Every participant was dressed according to their role, whether it be a guard or a prisoner. The experiment was cut short to a mere 6 days because the participants lost themselves in their role and because of the sadistic treatment of the 'prisoners' from the guards. This experiment shows that even strangers can be manipulated to do bad things and that there is a dark side of human nature.

That's a really interesting experiment. Even after researching this topic, I'm still not convinced that some people (not all) are born "evil." The criminals that are shown to have no remorse are sometimes so ridiculously malicious it almost seems impossible that they weren't born without something that everyone else has.

According to this article, people turn "evil" when they lack oxytocin. Oxytocin is released when we experience a "positive social signal". Therefore, there could be two seemingly clear reasons why people become evil like the people feature on Criminal Minds. One reason could be that, for whatever reason, they are not experiencing enough positive social interactions with others, like how we see kids labeled as "outcasts" suddenly turn to violence like what happened with Columbine High School. Another possible reason is that these people have some sort of social disorder where they cannot decipher what is a positive social interaction or possibly, they may have a neurological problem where oxytocin is not released in to the blood stream as it should be. These are just a few, seemingly simple reasons why I think this could occur where people suddenly snap and turn evil. I'm sure there's many more complex explanations as well.

This topic can really go back to the nature vs. nurture argument. Are people born different, or does society make them kill. There are arguments for both sides too. People can be born with social disorders that make them behave differently, and lead them to kill. But then there are also those who are pushed by society to kill. What may happen to those more severe cases involving multiple murders is a combination of both nature and nurture. Growing up by Philadelphia I heard of a lot of murders by gangs or other stupid reasons, and to me that seems to be more nurture because the society that they are in makes them kill, or else they seem weak.

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