Sadism is aggressive people watching

Here, I mean “sadism” as in the dark tetrad trait, not the sexual fetish. When something like this is a “personality disorder”, that just means it’s a personality trait that persists even when it ruins your life.

There is a logic behind sadism, in that pain causes people to get to the point without so much screwing around. If a person is fundamentally dishonest, untrustworthy, courageous, racist, religious, etc., they are going to display these fundamental personality traits under duress. Sadism is a personality trait which inclines a person to inflict this duress, and thereby discover who a person really is on the inside. These revelations take the form of general sense impressions which resist simplified description, which is why sadists always want to watch and hear people being hurt (the intuitive truth is in the vision itself, not the secondhand account). This is why sadists also enjoy watching someone else apply duress to a third person- they still get all the empirical details, even if they don’t get to decide which direction the experiments go.

The various manifestations of sadism make sense according to this logic: online trolling, social “needling”, the childhood experimentation on bugs and progressively larger animals, and even predicament bondage in BDSM. A sadist is someone who enjoys watching how people handle duress (I suspect they often fetishize “squirming” motions). By contrast, a psychopath who is not also a sadist will watch how people act under duress out of intellectual curiosity, but will not have the same feeling of immediate gratification (except by association to “Aha” moments).

Back when I was hale and hearty, I read something in what was then called the AFOATS training manual that said (and I paraphrase): “Every training exercise must explicitly serve one of the purposes enumerated in such and such published training program. Putting cadets into a situation to ‘see how they react’ does not fulfill any training purpose.” I remember wondering why they felt the need to put that in there. To me, it was like saying “cholesterol is bad for you, so stop putting cheese on your cereal”. Do people do that? Apparently, the sorts of people who do that will proactively seek out lower management and training positions in order to fulfill this desire.

And a second study revealed that, of the participants who rated high on one of the “dark” personality traits, only sadists chose to intensify blasts of white noise directed at an innocent opponent when they realized the opponent wouldn’t fight back. They were also the only ones willing to expend additional time and energy to be able to blast the innocent opponent with the noise.

So it’s not just your imagination.

About Aeoli Pera

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19 Responses to Sadism is aggressive people watching

  1. Pingback: Humor is the low end of sadism | Aeoli Pera

  2. Heaviside says:

    Since you wrote all of this, I have to admit, I presented TEM with theological arguments which I thought would make him squirm. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t genuinely think they were good arguments, or else I wouldn’t have posted them. It was honest trolling. I did not expect him to take it so well at first, and then to completely blindside me much later with his inexplicable farewell message. Adam would be able to back me up on this if he hadn’t joined the Tunisian military and dropped off the face of the internet.

  3. automatthew 0062 says:

    So as not to clutter up VP comments, responding here.

    M-back is obvious, the crease on the top of your head displays the elongation. You have periorbital receding sockets, which narrows it down to MT or MM. Your eyes appear to be well-shaded despite the lighting, and your brow ridge is not unusually pronounced (which confuses things), which suggests fairly deep sockets (although a side picture would be preferred).

    Final answer: MT.

    I do have discernible, Nordic brow ridges. I’m probably 6/8th Anglo & Scots, with 1/8 German, 1/8 Dutch, but I look mostly like that Dutch great-grandmother. That melon-back sure is obvious in that photo.

    Psychology predictions: A highly self-motivated, problem-solving, ideological warrior. MTs tend to have the highest tested IQs because melonback grants the highest general IQ and thal front grants hyperfocus. The extra mass in the frontal lobe doesn’t hurt a bit, I’m sure, and it’s very common in programmers in contrast with archaic phenotypes with sloped foreheads who tend to be found in the softer sciences (biology, anthropology, archeology etc.). This predicts great talent and fascination for abstract subjects, but this conflicts with the ideological drive so you consciously have to pull yourself away from “interesting” math problems to solve easy, boring “meaningful” problems.

    Ann Morgan stole my IQ. I am excellent at math when forced to do it, but I prefer philosophy and literature. Zero ambition. I am a mediocre programmer, but an excellent software architect/designer. I <3 Velikovsky.

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  10. Jack says:

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