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Thread: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    Lack of empathy is 50%. In fact, it's the textbook definition of sociopath. It takes a numb person to shoot up a school full of kids, or a movie theater, or to pour a bucket of **** and piss onto the head of another.

    Yes, your autistic son lacks outward signs of empathy. It's why he's likely anti social. But that doesn't mean he's a future serial killer.

    The desire to dominate is the other half, the id. But the id is, for most of us, balanced out, kept in check, if you will, by our empathy, and our ego. We don't act out on our aggressive impulses because because we can empathize; gunnery sgt hartman said it best in Full Metal Jacket. "It is a hard HEART that kills!" That was the entire point of boot camp. To break a person down, destroy their ego, bring them closer to a more basic, and less human, being. Someone who listens less to their empathy, and focuses more fully on "objective completion". Why? Because war is in many ways an inhuman act. As we have progressed sociologically, civilization has placed more tenants upon us. Though shalt not kill. Killing others was a simple fact of life in pre civilization. We have a lot of evidence backing that up. But we have suppressed those basic instincts with indoctrination, a necessary step to have ever larger societies.

    And yet, lately, in the last 10 years or so, I'm seeing a shift, at least as far as younger people go. Once upon a time, there was 2, maybe three school bullies. And they were bad. They were physical. Now? Well, now, it seems, almost everyone bullies someone else, when given the oportunity. Sure, not by pushing or slapping someone, or by throwing dirt at their face, etc. It's gone online, and it's verbal, now. It's common to see one person bullied by HUNDREDS now, online. And sure, it's easy for us to say, no problem, just unplug. But it's not that easy, is it? Facebook, twitter, and whatever else is out there...these are the means by which these kids interact with their peers. The advice of "unplugging" to escape bullying is no better than telling your child not to go to school for fear of bullies, or to sit by themselves in the cafeteria, and to stay off the playground at recess. It seems to me, bullying has become MUCH more prevalent than it was in my day, it's just less visible. A nasty comment on your wall or whatever in facebook never gave anyone a black eye.

    And so I ask myself why. And the only conclusion I can come up with, when thinking about this, and then seeing stories like the OP, is that kids are becoming more emotionally detached. They are not developing empathy as early as they used to, as folks my age did when we were kids. The instinct to dominate, to seek the highest elevation over others, is unchanged, and likely will remain so.


    Interesting theory.


    Without necessarily agreeing entirely, let's look at something that changed in the past 20 years.... the rise of the Internet.


    Could anyone here disagree that many people seem far more inclined to be rude and callous to others amid the anonymity of the Internet, than is normally the case in FTF RL? Well, if you've been on DP long you'd have a hard time disagreeing.... and DP is moderated more strictly than most internet forums! Yet we still see a lot more rudeness, if not downright hatefulness, than you normally see in FTF interactions between adults.

    Reason? You can be rude, crude, lewd, mean, petty, spiteful and hateful on the Internet.... and generally be insulated from your victim's immediate reaction. They can't punch you through the computer screen. If they even know who you really are, they can't get at you until much later after the initial fury and indignation has perhaps worn off or cooled down... and I think that makes a huge difference.


    Another reason I think those who primarily socialize on the internet are often less empathetic than they would be IRL FTF, is because they don't directly and personally SEE their victim's emotional response, the hurt and pain on their face, that they would in person.


    And over time perhaps some of these folks become more insensitive in general, enough so to carry their online behavior into the RW.


    Now we've got a generation of children reaching adulthood who grew up with the Internet....



    Makes you wonder, anyway.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Interesting theory.


    Without necessarily agreeing entirely, let's look at something that changed in the past 20 years.... the rise of the Internet.


    Could anyone here disagree that many people seem far more inclined to be rude and callous to others amid the anonymity of the Internet, than is normally the case in FTF RL? Well, if you've been on DP long you'd have a hard time disagreeing.... and DP is moderated more strictly than most internet forums! Yet we still see a lot more rudeness, if not downright hatefulness, than you normally see in FTF interactions between adults.

    Reason? You can be rude, crude, lewd, mean, petty, spiteful and hateful on the Internet.... and generally be insulated from your victim's immediate reaction. They can't punch you through the computer screen. If they even know who you really are, they can't get at you until much later after the initial fury and indignation has perhaps worn off or cooled down... and I think that makes a huge difference.


    Another reason I think those who primarily socialize on the internet are often less empathetic than they would be IRL FTF, is because they don't directly and personally SEE their victim's emotional response, the hurt and pain on their face, that they would in person.


    And over time perhaps some of these folks become more insensitive in general, enough so to carry their online behavior into the RW.


    Now we've got a generation of children reaching adulthood who grew up with the Internet....



    Makes you wonder, anyway.
    I agree with 100% of this. A lack of consequences, (the punch through the screen), coupled with a lack of seeing the other for what they are, a human being.


    And I'll be honest, it's something I forget, too. I am sometimes POWERFULLY reminded of that fact, that on the other end of the words plastered on my screen is a thinking, reasoning, emotional human being. A complete and developed person, not just some well written character in a plot.

    I think we should call it disconnection disorder. An extreme antisocial state in which, due to a lack of face to face, human interaction, has resulted in a cold demeanor towards others, an empathy void. Not emotionless. We still get mad at out computer screens, lol! But we stop thinking of others as being like ourselves, equally human.
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    Reports indicate that everyone knew he was hauling a bunch of guns up there. But, since you brought it up, there's something which should be illegal: guns that breakdown.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    What does really concern me:

    This happened to her son - and she didn't know, at all? Where was she when it happened? Where was she when his clothes - covered in feces and urine - went through the laundry? Where was she when he came home, nearly naked, after having thrown his clothes in the trash and then took a shower?

    Where in the **** was she? How exactly do you only realize something this gross happened to your own child when you play around on the internet?

    I've actually cleaned up a child after being covered in his own filth and it is NOT something that can be ignored.

    Maybe all of this has a logical explanation like 'he's not his custodial parent' or 'a baby sitter helped him - and not the mother' or something - but at the moment I'm trying to understand just how she didn't know sooner.
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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Interesting theory.


    Without necessarily agreeing entirely, let's look at something that changed in the past 20 years.... the rise of the Internet.


    Could anyone here disagree that many people seem far more inclined to be rude and callous to others amid the anonymity of the Internet, than is normally the case in FTF RL? Well, if you've been on DP long you'd have a hard time disagreeing.... and DP is moderated more strictly than most internet forums! Yet we still see a lot more rudeness, if not downright hatefulness, than you normally see in FTF interactions between adults.

    Reason? You can be rude, crude, lewd, mean, petty, spiteful and hateful on the Internet.... and generally be insulated from your victim's immediate reaction. They can't punch you through the computer screen. If they even know who you really are, they can't get at you until much later after the initial fury and indignation has perhaps worn off or cooled down... and I think that makes a huge difference.


    Another reason I think those who primarily socialize on the internet are often less empathetic than they would be IRL FTF, is because they don't directly and personally SEE their victim's emotional response, the hurt and pain on their face, that they would in person.


    And over time perhaps some of these folks become more insensitive in general, enough so to carry their online behavior into the RW.


    Now we've got a generation of children reaching adulthood who grew up with the Internet....



    Makes you wonder, anyway.

    I hate to say it but this generation is just generally unbalanced towards pranks. It was not uncommon to get stuffed in a locker as a H.S. freshman or give someone a laxative drink for kicks back in our day, but we knew the limits. They don't seem to have common sense about how to fool someone anymore, without either overreacting to PC slights or going over board with the physical severity.
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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Interesting theory.


    Without necessarily agreeing entirely, let's look at something that changed in the past 20 years.... the rise of the Internet.


    Could anyone here disagree that many people seem far more inclined to be rude and callous to others amid the anonymity of the Internet, than is normally the case in FTF RL? Well, if you've been on DP long you'd have a hard time disagreeing.... and DP is moderated more strictly than most internet forums! Yet we still see a lot more rudeness, if not downright hatefulness, than you normally see in FTF interactions between adults.

    Reason? You can be rude, crude, lewd, mean, petty, spiteful and hateful on the Internet.... and generally be insulated from your victim's immediate reaction. They can't punch you through the computer screen. If they even know who you really are, they can't get at you until much later after the initial fury and indignation has perhaps worn off or cooled down... and I think that makes a huge difference.


    Another reason I think those who primarily socialize on the internet are often less empathetic than they would be IRL FTF, is because they don't directly and personally SEE their victim's emotional response, the hurt and pain on their face, that they would in person.


    And over time perhaps some of these folks become more insensitive in general, enough so to carry their online behavior into the RW.


    Now we've got a generation of children reaching adulthood who grew up with the Internet....



    Makes you wonder, anyway.
    Well... I dunno.

    I think experiencially, although I'm slightly older than the gen we're discussing, you could put me in the same pot as them. I grew up with a super-geek who knew the internet was the future, and I was on it in my early childhood. I was proficient and using forums and chats by the time I was 8 or so maybe? Yeah, not quite as immersive as our modern internet, but I was on it and I was interacting, and I saw the rudeness that some people display when they have anonymity, and I stumbled on the occasional thing that maybe I wish I hadn't. I wasn't unmonitored online, but the tools weren't as good as they are now. So, I grew up on the internet.

    As a mod, perhaps you can also agree that, having not been infracted in over 2 years, I'm a reasonably un-rude poster? Occasionally snarky, but I stick to my point, and believe you me, I'm snarky in person as well, and I'm actually less snarky than, say, my mother, who can barely use a computer.

    Speaking of, do you find that younger posters get in trouble more than older ones? Ehh, gotta say, I don't really see it...

    Most of my peers didn't catch up to my level of internet proficiency until maybe their tweens, or even later. I mean, they were all using the early form of Google and related sites (a heavily filtered educational searching tool at that time, and nothing more). But none of them had as significant interactions online as I did too long before, say, Facebook went age-public. And I was in high school by then.

    People were just as rude online in the early days. And most of them were older -- 30's and up, the geeks with a real interest in technology.

    Did that hurt me? I don't think so. I'd say if anything it fueled my concern about the world around me. But then, I was taught the internet is a tool, not just fun alone -- that the purpose of it was to be a glue for the people to advance and engage, and to make it possible, for the first time really, for the common men and women to write their own history, so that we won't be relying on the half-truths of the rulers to tell our stories later.

    Did that help? I'd reckon so.

    Were kids better back in my childhood before most of them had internet, beyond a simple scholarly search? Well, I have to admit I never got feces dumped on me, but then again, I was an early bloomer who was bigger than most kids until I was 12 or so, and thus wasn't as easy of a target. But I did get literally run down by bullies a couple times. And in middle and high school, there were some pretty serious incidents -- serious beatings, someone having goldfish dumped on them in a toilet, death threats, etc.

    An older friend of mine -- mid-30's now -- got hazed so badly at boarding school that he says he honestly felt nothing when he heard one of his tormentors had died. This isn't because he has no empathy. He's one of the most sensitive people I know. They just tortured him THAT badly.

    I think there's a case to be made kids are overwhelmed with more input than they're capable of managing at younger ages, and this can certain make them scattered and perhaps frustrated. But are they really worse?

    I'm not convinced.

    I mean, let's keep in mind we used to keep people like this wheelchair-bound autistic boy in what were basically petting zoos -- some mental institutes used to have walk-throughs for a fee to come look at "the freaks."

    And it was adults who did that. Not kids.

    Let's keep in mind if we go a little further back than that, watching people hang or get their head cut off in public, sometimes for the most minor or even imaginary offenses, used to be considered afternoon entertainment.

    Now we have serious debates about whether that kind of stuff should even be recorded, much less whether we should do it in the middle of town.

    Hell, we've even stopped most of our animal tormenting "sports" like bear baiting and bull fighting -- we can't even stomach doing it to other animals, let alone actual humans.

    Are we worse?

    I wonder...
    Last edited by SmokeAndMirrors; 09-07-14 at 06:29 PM.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeAndMirrors View Post
    Well... I dunno.

    I think experiencially, although I'm slightly older than the gen we're discussing, you could put me in the same pot as them. I grew up with a super-geek who knew the internet was the future, and I was on it in my early childhood. I was proficient and using forums and chats by the time I was 8 or so maybe? Yeah, not quite as immersive as our modern internet, but I was on it and I was interacting, and I saw the rudeness that some people display when they have anonymity, and I stumbled on the occasional thing that maybe I wish I hadn't. I wasn't unmonitored online, but the tools weren't as good as they are now. So, I grew up on the internet.

    As a mod, perhaps you can also agree that, having not been infracted in over 2 years, I'm a reasonably un-rude poster? Occasionally snarky, but I stick to my point, and believe you me, I'm snarky in person as well, and I'm actually less snarky than, say, my mother, who can barely use a computer.

    Speaking of, do you find that younger posters get in trouble more than older ones? Ehh, gotta say, I don't really see it...

    Most of my peers didn't catch up to my level of internet proficiency until maybe their tweens, or even later. I mean, they were all using the early form of Google and related sites (a heavily filtered educational searching tool at that time, and nothing more). But none of them had as significant interactions online as I did too long before, say, Facebook went age-public. And I was in high school by then.

    People were just as rude online in the early days. And most of them were older -- 30's and up, the geeks with a real interest in technology.

    Did that hurt me? I don't think so. I'd say if anything it fueled my concern about the world around me. But then, I was taught the internet is a tool, not just fun alone -- that the purpose of it was to be a glue for the people to advance and engage, and to make it possible, for the first time really, for the common men and women to write their own history, so that we won't be relying on the half-truths of the rulers to tell our stories later.

    Did that help? I'd reckon so.

    Were kids better back in my childhood before most of them had internet, beyond a simple scholarly search? Well, I have to admit I never got feces dumped on me, but then again, I was an early bloomer who was bigger than most kids until I was 12 or so, and thus wasn't as easy of a target. But I did get literally run down by bullies a couple times. And in middle and high school, there were some pretty serious incidents -- serious beatings, someone having goldfish dumped on them in a toilet, death threats, etc.

    An older friend of mine -- mid-30's now -- got hazed so badly at boarding school that he says he honestly felt nothing when he heard one of his tormentors had died. This isn't because he has no empathy. He's one of the most sensitive people I know. They just tortured him THAT badly.

    I think there's a case to be made kids are overwhelmed with more input than they're capable of managing at younger ages, and this can certain make them scattered and perhaps frustrated. But are they really worse?

    I'm not convinced.

    I mean, let's keep in mind we used to keep people like this wheelchair-bound autistic boy in what were basically petting zoos -- some mental institutes used to have walk-throughs for a fee to come look at "the freaks."

    And it was adults who did that. Not kids.

    Let's keep in mind if we go a little further back than that, watching people hang or get their head cut off in public, sometimes for the most minor or even imaginary offenses, used to be considered afternoon entertainment.

    Now we have serious debates about whether that kind of stuff should even be recorded, much less whether we should do it in the middle of town.

    Hell, we've even stopped most of our animal tormenting "sports" like bear baiting and bull fighting -- we can't even stomach doing it to other animals, let alone actual humans.

    Are we worse?

    I wonder...


    Some good points.... though I was looking at trends over the past 15-25 years, not way back in the days when they locked up autistic children to hide the family shame. Been quite a while since that was common practice.


    Perhaps we're looking at some kind of dichotomy. Perhaps we are as a society becoming more empathetic in total.... but in some areas we're showing LESS empathy.


    And btw, no I don't think the ease/safety of anonymous online bullying is limited to young folks... older people do it to. I think because we don't get the non-verbal social signals we're accustomed to in FTF, it is too easy for ALL of us to forget we're talking to REAL people sometimes. Some people are worse about this than others, obviously.

    But then again, teenagers have ALWAYS been more prone, as a class of persons, towards bullying and harsh pranks. It is a feature of the age it seems, spoken of as far back as ancient Greece.


    I see prank videos on YouTube and wonder how in the hell people get away with some of that stuff without someone getting beat bloody or shot dead, honestly...


    But its an interesting line of discussion, as to the effect of Internet disassociation on general rudeness and social bad behavior.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    I don't think this should be handled as a hate crime. Not really down with the hate crime legislation to begin with. Deal with it in the public. Hell, go Ferguson on it. Post pictures of these asshats everywhere and talk, talk, talk about what is up with these lower life forms. There shouldn't be anywhere in the world these morons can go where folks won't know their faces and what they did.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    some kind of dichotomy

    more empathetic in total.... but in some areas we're showing LESS empathy

    But then again, teenagers have ALWAYS been more prone, as a class of persons, towards bullying and harsh pranks.
    This!

    Wow, this is spookiness close to our perception of right and wrong on a geopolitical scale.
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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by Goshin View Post
    Some good points.... though I was looking at trends over the past 15-25 years, not way back in the days when they locked up autistic children to hide the family shame. Been quite a while since that was common practice.


    Perhaps we're looking at some kind of dichotomy. Perhaps we are as a society becoming more empathetic in total.... but in some areas we're showing LESS empathy.


    And btw, no I don't think the ease/safety of anonymous online bullying is limited to young folks... older people do it to. I think because we don't get the non-verbal social signals we're accustomed to in FTF, it is too easy for ALL of us to forget we're talking to REAL people sometimes. Some people are worse about this than others, obviously.

    But then again, teenagers have ALWAYS been more prone, as a class of persons, towards bullying and harsh pranks. It is a feature of the age it seems, spoken of as far back as ancient Greece.


    I see prank videos on YouTube and wonder how in the hell people get away with some of that stuff without someone getting beat bloody or shot dead, honestly...


    But its an interesting line of discussion, as to the effect of Internet disassociation on general rudeness and social bad behavior.
    Well, not really. A lot of those old-school asylums were still running into the 50's and 60's, and there were still a couple even up until the 80's. They'd stopped having open petting zoo hours by then, but they were still places you went to be tortured and die, basically.

    I think you could be right that the standard for politeness is falling for what would have ordinarily been the more polite classes (middle and up). But I think that also has benefits as well as drawbacks.

    I don't think we're losing anything by dropping the judgmentality of, say, WASP culture, as it intermingles with "lower" social standards.

    "Polite society" isn't without its drawbacks. It fosters an inflexibility and a culture of rejection I think we could do without. Being a little more "down to earth" has its benefits.

    There's an argument to be made that there's a convergence of the standards of public interaction towards the center of the spectrum -- lowering some standards, and raising others.

    But that's not some kind of terror of terrors. At that point, what we should do is try to take the good and lose the bad. It's a totally workable place to be, as a society.

    I guess overall, I just don't think it's time to say the social framework is falling apart as some posters here have been arguing. I still see it on an overall upward trajectory.

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    Re: Human Cruelty Re-Defined

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinKohler View Post
    That's really sad.

    Honestly, I think you could successfully diagnose most younger kids as sociopathic. It seems like it's taking them longer, they are getting older and older, before developing any empathy.
    I have read that its the father that is best in helping children develop a sense of empathy-part of the reason there are so many thugs in jail who never had fathers around. If thats true, it would correlate with this apparent lack of empathy amongst kids.

    For the record, im 33 and as a kid using the term "retarded" (not necessarily autistic kids) was very common. It was used a lot-but even at that age I could never have done something like this.

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