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to think some people are just born evil?

(228 Posts)
themomentsinbetween Sat 29-Dec-12 16:49:45

Do you think some people are born bad?

Or is it there surroundings and people in their lives that make them bad.

For example, Thompson and Venables, were they just born bad?

Charles Manson?

Harold Shipman?

Good people don't just have a bad day and start killing people.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 18:47:10

(I'm not saying those are discrete types, btw. AFAIK there's some of each in every sadist.)

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 18:46:07

Some sadists argue that they're not 'evil' because they have personality disorders that make compassion/empathy impossible. They find the effects of pain (in others) amusing or interesting. Everyone who's ever laughed at a prat-fall, or watched a cut worm sort itself out, should be able to understand this a little bit.

Some sadists consider themselves evil and cause pain out of an irresistible compulsion; it's a terrible addiction for them, with the highs and remorse of a junkie.

Some are sadistic almost incidentally: their drug is power. Exertion of power generally does cause pain to others.

digerd Mon 31-Dec-12 16:34:23

It depends on the personal definition of "evil". Interesting that the word for malignant, as in cancerous, in german language is the same word as "evil".
In English we put a D infront of evil - Devil- but in german it is a different word entirely.
A sadist is evil, surely.

droves Mon 31-Dec-12 12:22:11

Amber , some would struggle to accept that it isn't a separate entity .

They like their " evil" dressed in red , with horns and a tail .

It's much scarier to admit that " evil" might be your next door neighbour , your postman , or even part of yourself .

AmberLeaf Mon 31-Dec-12 12:15:15

I really do struggle with the notion that evil is some seperate entity though.

It just isn't.

Its scales of human behavior.

droves Mon 31-Dec-12 12:10:26

Sigh ....garlic ...its always the mothers fault . ( because mother are women and everything gets blamed on women , even though most murderers are male)


Let's call it eve-blaming .

droves Mon 31-Dec-12 12:03:30

Sorry posted too soon .

I honestly believe there is such a thing as " evil" .
It's what causes cruelty to animals.
It's the thing that causes one human being to hurt another .
It's what causes some men to rape and abuse .
It's what causes child neglect and cruelty.
It's what causes wars
It's what causes pervasive and unrelenting discrimination against others that are " different" , be it because of race religion gender disability or economic status.

I don't believe one thing causes or prevents it .

Not every child who suffers abuse ,cruelty and a harrowing childhood grows up to be a killer . Most dont.

Many people thought to be " evil " have had good lives , been brought up in loving homes , with kind and thoughtful parents , but they still end up twisted and wanting to hurt others . Loads of people do this on a small scale ( not just killing people ) , like abandoning or neglecting their children , or battering their partners or cheating on them (too many things to list tbh iykwim ). Because this is common it's sort of overlooked as being " evil " , but is this intentionally causes hurt and pain to others , (which is the point of " evil ". )

When you look at it this way it's a sliding scale of nasty selfish or cruel behaviour , the " evil" people are just at the high end of that scale .

Something has went wrong somewhere so they have lost the ability to keep their own ego in check and to think of others as equally as important as themselves . When they lost the ability to think about other people having feelings and worth, they view them as objects with no real value except as " toys " for amusement ...and they lose respect for life .

Sometimes , I see children with an astounding capacity for cruelty , but when you look at their parents you see they act in a similar fashion. Who knows if it's something genetic that's passed down or bad behaviour that's never been chastised ?

When you read about evil , it is almost given that somewhere amongst the words there will be startling similarities between people who have committed these acts of evil ...usually a few dictators and mass murderers will be compared. However given that in history those that were quite willing to do whatever they felt neccessary quite often ended up as kings or leaders , it's a questionable job requirement . How many ancient monarchs murdered to get to and stay in power ...not all inherited the title .
Perhaps the " evil " was a requirement of survival left over from days of early man where being " evil" ensured that you stayed alive , and were allowed to produce offspring . Problem is there is no such requirement for violent nasty behaviours anymore , but now and again a throwback emerges and turns " evil", when in the " right" conditions ( or wrong , depending how you look at it).

It must be a combination of factors that creates evil , so whilst some people may be born with the potential to become truly evil at the top end of the scale , thankfully ,relatively few actually do .

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 11:28:06

The article you linked to was startling, Jake, thanks. It bothered me that the author stressed the mother's influence on baby development. I was under the impression that any adult's constructive interaction with the child would promote healthy development, not necessarily a woman or even a genetic parent.

garlicbaubles Mon 31-Dec-12 11:24:43

Droves, I think the discussion is mainly about whether neurological differences/disorders are genetically determined or not. People have gone out of their way to stress they're not linking autism with so-called evil.

droves Mon 31-Dec-12 11:17:47

Wtf has autism got in common with serial killing ?

Bloody insulting turn of thread.

Lump all neurological conditions and disorders together , because that makes it easier to discriminate against anyone who isn't neurotypical .

One person recently committed a mass shooting ( horrendous , poor children ) , and because he had or was thought to have asd now all asd people are potential murderers ? Can someone please explain why is it that most people without asd who commit murder / manslaughter , but everyone without asd isn't a potential murderer ?

It's too easy just to blame an available label isn't it ? .

AmberLeaf Mon 31-Dec-12 09:49:42

Sorry Alladdinsane, I must have missed it blush

I feel uncomfortable talking about people being wired differently when it is used to describe both serial killers/psychopaths and those with ASD

I know what you mean and I agree totally.

I wish your daughter well.

My Mum was a foster parent so I have some understanding of the affects of early neglect, From a long term perspective though, it wasn't always bad. There were lots of children she looked after that despite terribly traumatic starts have actually gone on to be happy and well adjusted [still in touch years later]

aladdinsane Mon 31-Dec-12 09:43:45

Sorry Amber, I did say up thread - probably a couple of pages ago - that I was including time in the womb when talking about environmental factors

I wouldn't call it 'wiring' I was referring to different post. I feel uncomfortable talking about people being wired differently when it is used to describe both serial killers/psychopaths and those with ASD
My son has autism - this does not make him a danger to others, my adopted daughter however, I fear for hers, and our futures. She had a terrible early start,her time in the care system was no better and she was capable of real harm at a very young age - under 2

AmberLeaf Sun 30-Dec-12 19:10:31

OK but when people say 'early experiences' what that is usually understood to mean is from birth to say three years of age.

Not time spent in the womb.

So your initial statement was wrong in a wider context.

Don't disagree with your points about how babies can be affected by maternal drug and alcohol abuse.

My son has autism too, I actually see signs of empathy in him, things he will say or do unprompted. But they are all different.

aladdinsane Sun 30-Dec-12 18:31:15

Amber - I included time in the womb as being part of the environment in which development takes place
My daughter was certainly negatively affected by being born to a mother who abused alcohol and drugs - she is adopted
Children may also be born with disorders such as autism but the brain has a very basic network at birth
Neuronal pathways are laid down according to early experiences. In children these pathways are very inefficient and a kind of pruning takes place during adolescence. The brain is not fully developed until about age 30 but smaller changes can occur
If an area of the brain is not stimulated in the early years it will not develop

This is all very simplified as how the left and right sides of the brain work together has a big impact
And, like I said, various conditions have an effect
My son has autism and I don't believe he feels any real empathy but he is kind. I think it is more of a learnt behaviour than real emotion and is controlled by cognition rather than feeling

propertyNIGHTmareBEFOREXMAS Sun 30-Dec-12 17:46:52

I think shit parenting probably has a rather large hand in people turning evil. However, you probably get some types who are just properly fucked in the head and even the pope for a dad could not have put them right.

insancerre Sun 30-Dec-12 17:46:43

it's an area I found fascinating, Jake. Just the fact that external experiences can physically affect a baby's brain and their whole life. Their emotions, their learning, their temperamant, their memory, all rely on the those pathways connecting together at the right time.

JakeBullet Sun 30-Dec-12 17:45:59

Quick link...only from the Telegraph but easy to read. It's not the only answer of course. As others point out the environment within the womb can also play a part.

Link is here

AmberLeaf Sun 30-Dec-12 17:45:08

Early experience can influence brain development yes.

But 'neurodevelopment' does not take place according to early experiences as alladin put it.

My child has a neurodevelopmental disorder. the disorder occured prior to birth probably in the embryonic stage.

Talk about being 'wired differently' is common in the autistic world, so you need to be very careful about statements like that or you'll be talking about refridgerator mothers etc.

garlicbaubles Sun 30-Dec-12 17:44:44

YY, Jake. Romanian orphans case in point.

garlicbaubles Sun 30-Dec-12 17:44:06

As far as anyone can tell, they do. Also possible that hormone composition in utero affects neurological development. Baby brain so different from fully-developed one, impossible to test accurately. They have to deduce by correlation; not a fully reliable method. Genetics also influence; observed and now tested.

JakeBullet Sun 30-Dec-12 17:40:15

Lots of research looking at the neglected brain. The first two years are crucial in brain development and the differences between brain size is very marked in children who have been neglected. sad

There has been a lot of investment in early years (that being the first two years) support and stressing the importance of affection and interaction. Will find some links if I get time.... clear I am not talking about things like controlled crying being neglect (although I know it's a whole other debate) but global neglect of interaction and helping a baby feel secure.

insancerre Sun 30-Dec-12 17:33:00

I thought that recent research into brain neuroscience shows that early experiences do influence brain development.
It's what I read when I did my degree in to early childhood studies

gordyslovesheep Sun 30-Dec-12 17:21:48

no people are NOT 'born evil' what a daft idea

AmberLeaf Sun 30-Dec-12 17:14:25

Wiring, or neurodevelopment,takes place according to early experiences

That is not true.

skratta Sun 30-Dec-12 15:57:35

I think amillionyears got it right. We cannot judge, we haven't got the perspective, we can't know. Some people will regret and be sorry, probably many child murderers might/will, but some people won't ever regret and sometimes they say they regret but don't.

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