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.