There are days I despise the human race: today is one of them.
Regular readers know I am a “Criminal Minds” fan. I rarely get to watch it on the actual TV, I tend to catch-up by watching episodes on the computer.
Last night I watched episode 19 of series 8 about a guy kidnapping and killing nannies. It was a bit on the gruesome side, even for this crime show fan. I’ve thought a few of this series 8 a little gruesome.
As I was waiting for my car to be serviced this morning, I was reading yesterday’s Herald Sun. There was an article about the murder of an ex-prostitute. The murderer had ONE HUNDRED other people under surveillance. Very “Criminal Minds” stuff.
There is also coverage today of the murders committed by those on parole: some had a list of convictions a mile long.
I think back to the cases of kidnapped women found many years later in the USA, the most recent being the case in Ohio, but there have been several others recently. There was the father in Austria who fathered kids with his captive daughter.
These are all individual crimes, yet speak of a propensity for violence and killing that no other species seems to indulge in.
On a larger scale, we have had the sort of cases I highlighted in my own “We are the world” article (gross violence warning re the video on that article) and the many civil wars that are raging or have raged recently. As I type this Egyptians are killing each other – and over WHAT? Religious ideology? You know, I don’t know exactly what they are fighting over and to me it doesn’t matter because all I care about is we seem to be the only species on this planet (maybe the only species in the universe) that is so bloody outright STUPID.
I have to say stupid because my only other option is to say we are the most EVIL species.
We throw Palestinians out of Palestine and then wonder why they want their home back. We try to FORCE people to follow one religion or another and for what purpose I have NO idea. We not only kill each other, we kill off other species with not a second thought.
Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes said to me today on Twitter humans are “The only species that kills for ‘pleasure’.” Yvonne is an associate professor at Flinders University in the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Based on her biography, Yvonne will have academic authority for her statement: academic authority I personally don’t have, not being in that field. All I have is intuition and gut feel and my guts are churning.
Some of our species want to kill, control, rape, abuse and enslave our fellow humans with a passion that defies comprehension. My comprehension, anyway. Some of us also want to reject those who flee such horrors because “they are not like us”.
I’m not even going to address how we tie ourselves in legal knots, such as the Zimmerman case or when trying to silence dissenters.
There are days I despise the human race: today is one of them.
I am encouraged all is not lost by the many people I see and hear fighting to change our often horrific treatment of each other.
Forget the crazy STOP THE BOATS cry. I have a better one.
STOP THE KILLING.
We are not becoming more violent. We are just becoming increasingly more informed about what has always been going on around the world, which creates a certain illusion. History suggests that we are actually becoming more docile, if that is any consolation. Our past is filled with countless massacres on scales barely believable by modern standards. The Romans just for one of hundreds of possible examples, used to crucify & impale entire, conquered populations. Chinese Emperors would have whole regions of subjects summarily executed on a superstitious whim. I could go on & on but I think my point is clear. It is not true either that our species has a unique or even notable propensity for violence in the context of the natural world. Violent death is a very common occurence out in the wild; especially when factors such as mating, social hierarchy & food are involved. We are quite typical of the world in which we evolved & though we have not completely left our savage past behind, it has become remote enough to shock us when we do glimpse it thru media. I hope that helps u hate the rest of us a little less. 🙂
I believe I did make the point about history. Today we just use bombs rather than impale. Death from a distance.
As for violence, no we are unique in that we are the only species that kills for pleasure. So much so in fact we will kill “food” but never eat it! 🙂
Violent death in the natural world always has a reason as you stated. Rarely is a death for no reason.
I don’t hate us, I think there are many wonderful specimens! 🙂 I do sometimes despair re our inability to resolve our issues, ALL of which, despite the beliefs of some, are minor in the grander scheme of things.
We argue about marriage equality, for example, while destroying the environment.
We kill each other over religious ideologies.
We are weird!
Thank you for joining the conversation. Diverse opinions are always welcome! 🙂
I know I’m incredibly naive but I believe that violence shown on tv and at the cinema makes it worse. How can it be good to have this horror freely available? The horror films from even thirty years ago would now be seen as tame, where will it end and what is the point?
We have always been a bloodthirsty lot well before TV. I agree as I believe there is a desensitisation impact on people, but it doesn’t explain our history. Hitler, The Crusafes, the Islamic invasion of India etc all predate today’s horror flicks.
I am not sure where we are going, really I am not.
Here’s an essay about violence in fiction, very insightful: http://www.vulture.com/2013/08/warren-ellis-essay-why-we-need-violent-stories.html
Thank you Angel. I haven’t looked yet, will when I am on the computer. 🙂
You are right. It IS very insightful. Probably explains why I am a fan of Criminal Minds.
I agree with his basic hypothesis.
WE have to hope and work for the idea that human beings need to love more than they need to hate. If they have been taught to hate they can be taught to love.. Of course life is cheap if you are living in abject poverty and surrounded by violence.
Each and every one of us is formed by our genes, family and environment. Some of these factors are disasterous for some people and they do not learn the value of life..
There are aberrations in every species and the human species is no exception.
We are indeed shaped by all three factors Helen.
My concern is we don’t seem to be evolving much as a species this last 1,000 years.
Still a bloodthirsty lot at both the individual and group levels.
Good Idea! Let’s stop the killing before it’s too late! When you start to realize what a bloody, murderous life form we can be, you also start to wonder how far off our imminent auto-extinction, might be.
There is much horror in the world, but then someone will do something really Beautiful, that they did not have to do. Maybe it is a small thing compared to the big terrible things going on in the world. But one good deed can then help make others to stop, think and pass it forward..
I hope so. We need a lot more of it!
Yes, STOP THE KILLING.
Is anyone listening? I hope so.
There are slogans like OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD
and LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR. Why is this so difficult to get this into people’s hearts and minds? However, I do believe that people who hate their neighbour and who want to follow evil are really not the majority. But you are right, some days it can feel as though there are far too many of them. How can you forgive them and not despise them?
How can you explain that there are people who want to kill for pleasure? Has it to do with their brains being wired a certain way? Something being out of balance? I cannot imagine a person being so totally out of balance can be a ‘happy’ person. I do not think this kind of ‘pleasure’ can lead to a happy life.
I have no answers, Uta. Sadly.
We just seem to get worse, not bettet.