Here I am again, talking about one of my favorite subjects: murder!
To me, there are two states of mind in which one can commit the act of murder. I’m not talking about emotion or motivation here, merely the state of mind one is in, the way one looks at the world and the intended victim. This gives us two categories in which I feel every act of taking a life fits.
The first category I call Object-Minded. Based on circumstantial evidence, I would say this is the most common type of murder. The perpetrator objectifies the victim in such a way that the victim is no longer perceived as a fellow human being, thus circumventing some of the base instincts that generally keep people from killing. An example would be the stereotypical serial killer who goes after a particular kind of victim (young children, red-headed women, prostitutes, black men, etc, etc.); the killer does not murder a particular individual, but an archetype. The victim is an object, its personal identity has become subordinate to one particular characteristic of it.
Another perhaps less obvious example of this is a soldier in a wartime situation. The other side is enemy, and its other characteristics are subordinate to its “enemy-ness”. This allows a certain rationalization of the act of murder, highly necessary given that often those who serve in a country’s army aren’t the type of people who would kill in another context.
Most murders in the context of other criminal activities fall in this category as well. Robbers shooting someone during a heist, a drug addict stabbing someone for his wallet, etc… In cases like this, the individual is reduced to its potential influence on the perpetrator. Again, the person is no longer an individual, but a means to an end.
I think the most basic feature of Object-Minded Murder is that the killer is not truly murdering individuals. Their individuality does not exist to him; even in cases where he has monitored his intended victim for a long time and is aware of his/her personal life, this does not influence his appreciation of him/her as an object.
Then, there is Subject-Minded Murder. In this case, the killer is very aware of the individuality of the intended victim; sometimes it is even this individuality that allows for the murder to take place. It’s a bit of a tricky category. By example, take a woman who murders her cheating husband. Is this Subject-Minded? She did kill her husband, specifically him. Yet if she objectified her husband at the time of the murder by reducing him to merely his cheating behavior, it would fall under Object-Minded Murder. Cases in which the victim and killer know each other can be mistakenly read as Subject-Minded, while they are not.
To me, truly Subject-Minded Murder is the act of murdering an individual, while fully conscious of its individuality. It is killing with the intent to destroy a person, the intent to extinguish a unique life from this earth and cause a ripple in the social network of the world by deliberately cutting out one of the nodes. To do this so that it is truly Subject-Minded (if you randomly kill a “representative of humankind”, you are once again objectifying), you would have to get to know your victim. Get to know their parents, their partner(s), their children. Learn about what they like, what they hate, how they think about things. Their past, their dreams, their fears. Everything. You would basically have to become their friend. And then you would have to kill them, fully conscious of the person you are erasing from existence with your act, but without the least hesitation.
There must be no justification. No reason whatsoever.
To me, Subject-Minded Murder is the most beautiful way of killing. In one act, you can achieve complete dominance over all people. They will no longer have any effect on you. They will become as insignificant as ants, toys to play with, meaningless objects. Achieving Subject-Minded Murder is the ultimate objectification of humankind. This does mean that you will have placed yourself forever out of reach of any positive emotion that includes an individual other than yourself. It seems… sad, and lonely perhaps, for those who are not enlightened in such a manner. But I think that the moment one becomes capable of Subject-Minded Murder, they already need no one other than themselves anymore. And in a society where we are constantly looking for validation and affection from others, isn’t that true power?
As always, my musings are just that, musings. I have no education in psychology, just a lot of strange thoughts and urges.
Glad to see you’re still doing your thing, little QP. 😉
I’ll post more in depth on your musings on a bit…just wanted to say hello
Hello there! I’m glad to see that you’re still around as well! ^_^
I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on this…
I managed to make it home safe and mostly whole haha
my thoughts on the subject matter….you are correct regarding dehumanizing and objectifying people to help soldiers kill the enemy. They use operant conditioning to train people to litterally shut off their forebrain while they fight so that they cannot see the enemy as people. A few ‘odd’ people dont buy into the btain washing process…turns out a few of us just dont care haha…but for the most part, humans aren’t genetically programmed to be willing to kill each other; from what i understand it has something to do with species continuity. There was a great study done by a Colonel after WWII regarding it (I’ll try to find it for you). Those that don’t need the brainwahing were ‘bent’ in the first place, but that makes them useful for the more…specialized…work. And sometimes, even killing for a reason can be a very personal thing…depending on the circumstances.
as far as the subject reasoning, I agree that by being capable of killing someone in those parameters indicates that you are free of caring what society cares, and certainly capable of exerting power over humanity as a whole, I don’t know if it is actually capable to kill someone with no motivation or justification of any kind…your reason is to destory something simply to destroy it. Isn’t that a justification?
As always, I find your musings unique and thought inspiring…most people will never admit to a darker side within their soul…let alone talk about it. To me, that sense of self acknowledgment shows more power than mearly objectifying mankind. It matters little what the world thinks of you…alone in the dark, the only one who can free you is yourself.
You might be on to something there. Even the mere intention to kill could be considered a form of reason/motivation, so indeed it would be impossible to truly kill without reason.
I don’t think it equals justification though. Justification to me is a form of excuse for the deed made to oneself. Whether it is valid or not, rationally/legally/ethically/etc speaking, doesn’t matter. It is a personal thing. Whether you say “It was only a … (insert object characteristic)”, or “I had no choice” or “It was an enemy” or “I am stronger than them” or “the world is better off now” or… it doesn’t matter. All of those are justifications.
I think Subject-Minded Murder places one in an arbitrary society where there are no ties or boundaries whatsoever that protect one’s safety from others. It is the law of the strongest. To have no justification is accepting that there is nothing that rules or binds you other than yourself.
I am really quite interested in this study you mentioned! The human instinct concerning murder is something that truly fascinates me. I think it is one of the main factors that worked to create civilization as we know it…
It is hard to free oneself. I don’t think I can even imagine what freedom truly feels like. To not care one bit for any other being than yourself. No pressure. No need for validation. No self-esteem issues. No loneliness or sadness. I cannot even picture it.
Sometimes I think humans aren’t meant to be free. In the end, we are just randomly evolved heaps of carbon compounds that happen to have a rather successful way of monopolizing resources and producing quasi-copies of ourselves. These things I try to fight, these emotional and mental ties that bind my mind and behavior… they are part of what makes the human species successful, evolutionary speaking. They are what has brought on societal structure, law and order, family formation, etc, etc…
Maybe aiming for freedom… is aiming to escape one’s very nature? Is that even possible?
Would not killing someone to prove to yourself that the only one with any power over you, in itself, be a justification of your deed? Or do you see that as a motivation instead?
As for evolutionary programming and longing to be free…I’m not sure that anyone is truly capable of it, at least not with any true success…we are all wrapped up together…life connecting us like a twisted spider web. And if we ever did break free, and found that lack of loneliness and sadness, that lack of need for others…would it be what we thought we wanted? Or would we find no appreciation for the good without the bad?
Tricky. Depending on how you look at it, it could be either. “I kill to prove I am free” is motivation, “I am free so I can/should/am allowed to kill” is a justification.
Sometimes I think the true strength as well as the downfall of humanity lies in our imagination. We are capable of picturing things we are biologically incapable of. We are no less bound by our genetics than ants or apes or amoebae, but we are capable of looking past those boundaries (to a certain extent). Being able to envision something beyond the frame you are in makes that frame a cage.
Maybe freedom really is some kind of illusion?