Thursday, June 26, 2014

Serial killers seem to act on instinct

Not too long ago, I found a very interesting headline on serial killers. The gist of the article was that sharks are a lot like the serial killers we find in the papers or news. At once, upon reading the headline, I think that the headline has it in reverse. It should read, "Serial killers are a lot like sharks", but the difference is, sharks kill to survive. Besides, serial killers don't eat their victims, as far as I know.

So I did a search for articles that have made the same connection and the common theme is that the pattern of stalking and hunting is nearly identical between shark and human serial killer. I am reminded of Fox Mulder, the intrepid FBI agent of the X-Files television series. He uses his training to find the most unusual killers, studying the geography, the choice of location, timing, etc. Yes, real detectives use all of that to find them. They call it profiling a serial killer.

Although I find the similarities between sharks and human serial killers interesting, what I really find of interest is that some scientists are making the case that human serial killers are relying upon instincts to hunt. I'm surprised that instinct is even a consideration in assessing the motivations of a serial killer since one of the primary instincts in humans is to cooperate with other humans to survive.

One conclusion I draw from all of this is that serial killers have been so horrifically abused as children that they lack a significant part of higher cognition that is required for cooperation. They most certainly don't ask for help and once they get started, asking for help is not an option. So cornered, they must rely upon instinct to remain unnoticed in their activities, to continue doing what they do.

Although humans have a natural instinct to cooperate, if that instinct is not nurtured, things head south in a hurry. Over the course of my life, I've seen horrific stories of brutal dictators, serial killers and suicides/murders. I've often asked myself what drives people to these extremes.

I think that the basis of all evil is a simple inability to cooperate in a way that is mutually beneficial. Evil is an inability or unwillingness to say "please" or fear or inability to ask for help. When normal people are faced with a situation that is beyond their abilities to solve, they ask for help. Normal people help others. Serial killers, psychopaths and the like, don't ask for help. They don't cooperate unless it's a completely one-sided deal.

I don't think that people are born evil or are inherently evil. I think they learn evil from their environment and nothing more. The only antidote to evil that I know of is love. Love should be applied in large quantities to humans, early and often. That is how evil is prevented.
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