When deviant behaviour hurts the most

Except that deceit and betrayal lurks in the makeup of human beings.

By Harveena Herr

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Published: Mon 18 Sep 2017, 8:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 18 Sep 2017, 10:55 PM

A string of incidents recently brought home the fact that our equanimity and peace are quite fragile. When things are going well, we don't stop to say Ha! that was another good day. We take it in our stride - it's a given that life is smooth. No speedbumps to disrupt life in cruise control. We know the sun will rise tomorrow morning. What's so remarkable about that, huh?
Except that deceit and betrayal lurks in the makeup of human beings. There is an unwritten social pact that requires certain norms of behaviour that then, is the grease that allows people to function as a society. The crazy person who veers into your lane at the top of the speed limit and then continues doing staggeringly stupid stunts on the road might leave you frazzled at the wheel. Or you might dismiss him as a nut job. But if he starts targeting you, you  might have to work hard at controlling your temper. There goes equanimity, equilibrium, grace out of the window.
Which it does when siblings turn on each other in the slice-and-dice of fortunes, when a partner cheats on you, when a hand of support to somebody out of luck results in that person trying every method to throw you out of your home.
The definition of betrayal for some is when someone you share a bond with doesn't share the same level of trust with you. The expectation is, that 'my people' should 'get' me. I've got their back. And the dawning realisation, they haven't, after all, got mine.
The vast majority of people prefer to steer clear of trouble if they are being unreasonably provoked. But how do you deal with a deviant? I find that someone who makes me lose my sense of grace is the most hurtful. Bite the hand that feeds, and you end up not only going against your benefactor, but ensuring that that generosity of spirit shrivels up at the edges.
Has enough study been done by scientists to monitor brain impulses, post mortems even, to see what it is that drives a person who has an evil streak? Someone who can wantonly and callously hurt other people. The old tale about pulling out butterfly wings and watching the creatures suffer and die. What is the impulse that drives such behaviour?
If you follow the Freudian line, then the human species has urges that are repressed in the subconscious. But what allows us to function in society is socialisation. Even your dog needs to be socialised! The individual who deviates from the norm has a different construct on morality as well as the laws laid out in society. Beating the system (even the phrase sounds innocuous) then becomes a game.
The trophy hunters who go to Africa and pay trunks full of cash to see some impoverished slaves who will 'scare' a lion perhaps, in their direction so they can stop sipping freshly squeezed orange juice long enough to squeeze the trigger. The same underlings spend the rest of their time feeding and raising the lions and tending to them.
And then they lead them to the slaughter.
harveena@khaleejtimes.com



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