Profiling hatred and cruelty
The Hate and Cruelty Syndrome (HCS) is one of the more perplexing neuropathologies and one seemingly intractable to conventional modalities of intervention. Having a special interest in this condition, I undertook a case study analysis of a sample of HCS sufferers using my own NeuroSurge application.
Common to many HCS-afflicted individuals is a history of significant nurture deprivation, often with elements of abuse. The early narrative emerging from this environment incorporates elements of loneliness, low self-esteem, distrust, the belief that they are born to serve the needs of others as well as anhedonia –the inability to experience personal joy and gratification. This usually impacts negatively on the ability to form personal relationships and predisposes to a hopeless-helpless outlook on life in general. The chemical configuration that parallels this state is one of low dopamine (dopamine is associated with personal gratification, fulfilment and motivation), low serotonin and raised pro-inflammatory cytokines – the mediators of inflammation (which underpins many illnesses including cognitive deterioration and possible degeneration into Altzheimer’s Disease). However it is when the narrative includes an element of ‘why should I be the only one suffering’ that the foundation is laid for schadenfreude hostility. Schadenfreude is defined as deriving personal joy from the suffering of others. Studies have indicated that this individual derives a dopamine boost from schadenfreude thoughts and behavior! Thus the HCS condition is perpetuated chemically. It is in fact this element which makes the HCS so intractable to intervention – they are deriving high levels of dopamine (personal gratification) from schadenfreude behavior.
The second element which contributes to the intractability of intervention in the HCS situation, results from the compromised function of the pre-frontal cortex, the neurological place of reasoning. High levels of deprivation negatively affect cognitive development (in the pre-frontal cortex). High levels of deprivation also result in raised levels of cortisol which again, negatively affects the development (myelination) of the pre-frontal cortex. The overall result is a marked deficiency of cognitive integration required for effective reasoning.
Loneliness and distrust result in low levels of oxytocin. Conversely, becoming part of a group sharing a belief in the same values (hatred, racism, cruelty), boosts levels of oxytocin which also results in raised dopamine levels and collective gratification. Add to this the collective deficiency of reasoning and you get a schadenfreude-driven wrecking machine which feeds on itself. It visits its hatred, terror and cruelty upon a vast spectrum of humans and animals. The terror and cruelty incorporates a need to control and dominate, probably originating from nurture deprivation and self-esteem issues. These traits further contribute to the driving momentum.
There is no current cure for this destructive neuro-degenerative condition other than radical psychosurgery. Ethical and logistical challenges however preclude this modality of intervention becoming a viable consideration at this time. However, the HCS condition is inevitably unstable and self-limiting. If contained and left to its own devices it would ultimately consume itself through its own hatred and cruelty.
Copyright reserved – Ian Weinberg 2016