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Evil Deeds

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This is something that just popped into my mind, and not at all what I’d intended to write for my next post, but fascinating to me, nonetheless. When/how does a normal, instinctual impulse turn into something worse, something evil? Better still, is what we consider “evil” actually more “normal” than we’d like to admit?

I don’t have time to write a lot, but here’s what I was thinking. Sexuality is a very basic part of the human condition. For some, the desire to reproduce (or at least, have sex) is as much of a drive as eating. Nothing wrong with that. But if there was a way to observe a male child who 1) grew up without ANY exposure to images of rape or porn that suggested that women enjoy forced sex, and 2) was never instructed in the “proper, socially-accepted” way to approach women for sex, what would be his reaction when faced with a woman with whom he wanted to have sex? Would he instinctively approach her in a courtship ritual (and I don’t mean dating as much as just “being respectful” of her boundaries as a human), or would he assume she was his for the taking? If he was rebuffed, would he abide by her wishes, or would his drive to have sex ramp up his need to dominate to get what he wanted? What is the “natural” state of man in regard to sex?

Let’s look at another example. If the need for shelter is basic and instinctual, and again we have a subject (let’s make her female) who has been taught neither “proper” nor “improper” ways of dealing with ownership issues, what would be her “natural” behavior when faced with having no desperatedly-needed shelter? Would she attempt to take forcibly the shelter of another, even if it meant that the previous owner perished? Would she allow her own self to die?

I guess what I’m trying to ask is this: What is man’s “natural” state? (And for the sake of this post, it’s not about “sin.” I’m strictly talking about a sociological view of behavior. And please don’t imagine that I’m talking about a caveman/missing link kind of character. Let’s try to imagine someone who’s strictly been raised in a laboratory without training in ethics and “proper” behavior. Granted, they’d probably suffer from all kinds of emotional dysfunction if totally left alone, but let’s say they’ve had sufficient human interaction with their observers. And these observers have weeded out as much implication as possible as to the “rightness/wrongness” of their actions, and certainly no reward/punishment has been offered either.)

What would this laboratory child be like? Would they understand inherently a generosity of spirit that knows how to recognize and respect boundaries of other humans, perhaps only being intrusive in loving, non-threatening ways… like the people with Down’s Syndrome (for lack of a better example)? Or would they be just the opposite, extremely self-centered and aggressive… like people with dissociative disorders? Would they show behaviors of both?

Granted, as soon as they had reactions from others, based on which behavior they exhibited, they would start to learn from the reward/punishment aspects and modify their behavior accordingly. And THAT is the particulary fascinating point about all this to me… Does this “laboratory child” start off with an inclination toward total self-centeredness and then respond to punishment to get “in line” with society’s norms and to get at least a little satisfaction of their original desire? Or does this “laboratory child” start off with an understanding of a generous nature, an understanding of the way the world needs to work in order for us to get along, and then respond to rewards for that kind of behavior?

I suppose that genetics may play a larger role in who we are than we’d like to admit. That laboratory child may have the cards stacked against him/her from the get go. How much from the center of who they ARE can they actually deviate with the behavioral modification that comes from sticks and carrots?

All of that to say, are behaviors we consider “anti-social” like rape, robbery, and maybe even murder, more a human being’s TRUE state of normal than we’d like to think? Would these ideas even come into someone’s head if they had been deprived of images of them?

I have no idea.

Written by blogicalinks

November 8, 2006 at 9:06 pm

Posted in Seeking, Whatever

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