Breaking Bad Syndrome: When a Normal Person Becomes Heisenberg

Many acts of violence are the result of the desire to “do good” as explained by anthropologists in his provocative book titledvirtuous violence“. “Acts of violence may seem unacceptable to most of society, but they make sense and are necessary for those who put them into practice. These people think they should make someone pay for their wickedness, teach a lesson, or instill obedience.“Their authors are arguing.

The book has its origins in an investigation of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Lead by Alan Page Fiske and Tage Shakti Rai. The two investigators claim that most of the criminals and those who comment on acts of violence follow the same pattern of behavior as the protagonist of the famous television series. “Breaking Bad”, And perform violent acts motivated by the desire to do good. In other words, that is to say it is quite common to use violence against others to think it is a moral cause.

Breaking Down the Bad Syndrome: The Influence of Personal Beliefs and Violence

In the television series that inspired them, the protagonist Walter white he becomes a drug dealer after learning that he has cancer. In his reflection, his duty as a father brings him into the world of drug trafficking because he feels obligated to leave a good financial legacy for his family and to obtain the necessary money to pay for his treatment.

“Self-morality is not only about being kind, polite and peaceful, but it also includes the feeling that in some cases there is an obligation to do something regardless of the practical consequences,” he explains. he in an interview with BBC World Alan Page Fiske, School of Anthropology, UCLA.

Research data

According to BBC article, Fiske and Rai’s conclusions are a consequence analysis of hundreds of studies on violence carried out in different parts of the world. These, in turn, consisted of thousands of interviews with criminals. After reviewing all the data they have, they found moral motives even behind suicide, war and rape, Although they admit that there are exceptions that prove the rule. “With the exception of a few psychopaths, hardly anyone hurts another with the intention of being bad,” says Fiske. The researcher specifies that “his study does not justify those who commit acts of violence, but exposes the reasons for which they commit them”.

In their book, Fiske and Rai give the example of people who abuse their children or partners. Although from society’s point of view they are wrong, they are convinced that they are doing the right thing. The perception that their victims must obey is the fruit of their beliefs.

An example of the influence of beliefs on acts of violence: the Nazis

Before becoming Chancellor of Germany, Adolf Hitler he was obsessed with ideas about race. In his speeches and writings, Hitler contaminated his belief in the superiority of the “Aryan race” over German society.

  • And, in fact, it was during the Third Reich that some of the most atrocious animals occurred “in the name of science.” You can find out by reading the article “Experiments with humans during Nazism”.

When Hitler came to power, these beliefs have become ideology of the government and they have spread through posters, radio, movies, classrooms and newspapers. The Nazis began to put their ideology into practice with the support of German scientists who believed that the human race could be improved by limiting the reproduction of those people they considered inferior. The truth is that the events of the Nazi Holocaust, they were produced by normal people who were not particularly bad citizens. Hitler, with his anti-Semitic campaign, led the German people to believe that the superior races had not only the right but the obligation to exterminate the inferior. For them, the struggle of the races was in accordance with the laws of nature.

So this shows that much of human violence has its roots in the beliefs. If the key to eradicating violent behavior is to change beliefs, by changing them we will also change the perception of what is right and wrong.

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