January 5, 2014

Struggle Against Nature and Nurture

I started watching The Following on Netflix. 

If you haven't seen it, the show is a portrayal of a serial killer.

This criminal has a near cult like following of people who want to kill, like him, and they do. 

It is a frightening portrayal of people who murder, gruesomely.

They do it almost nonchalantly, like second nature. 

They have no remorse, quite the opposite, they are deeply committed to what they do (e.g. through stabbing, burning, choking, etc.)

And they connect with each other, and the main serial killer, in their brutal acts of murder. 

The show is deeply troubling in that there seems to be so many people out there who savor this, and that the authorities struggle to try to stop them. 

Last year, the Wall Street Journal explored the science behind violent criminals. 

They found in more than 100 studies that "about half of the variance in aggressive and anti-social behavior can be attributed to genetics."

The study of this is called neurocriminology.

When this predisposition of genetics is combined with "early child abuse," an individual is more prone to commit violent acts. 

This is the old, "nature and nurture," where our biological predisposition combined with our specific environmental factors, in a sense, make us who we are. 

Understanding these contributors can help to both predict behavior and recidivism, and very importantly help with early treatment by "making it possible to get ahead of the problem" through therapy, medication, and so on. 

People can be the worst type of animals, killing not only for food or because they are threatened, but actually for the joy of it.

The show is scary, but the reality is even more frightening as we battle heredity and environment. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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