Sunday, July 19, 2015

Film: The Act of Killing

From a reader:

I think this reviewer describes it properly:

The thing I found odd about this movie is that I could easily see myself acting the way the death squad leader did. Especially when I was younger, I had a lot more anger at other humans.

So the deal with "The Act of Kililng" is that they guy has the original gangsters (sociopaths) talking about what they did.

They boast about their deeds and are celebratory.

This is horrifying for normal people. You can see it in one of the clips here, where they have a panel:

The film panel is horrified that the perpetrators talk about this stuff so causally and happily.

I realized - this horror is the "essence" of the experience that sociopaths experience when we're honest with normal people about our subjective experience.

E.g. I was talking with a friend about Himmler's Posen speech -

For example:

"...Whether the other races live in comfort or perish of hunger interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; apart from that it does not interest me. Whether or not 10,000 Russian women collapse from exhaustion while digging a tank ditch interests me only in so far as the tank ditch is completed for Germany. We shall never be rough or heartless where it is not necessary; that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude to animals, will also adopt a decent attitude to these human animals, but it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and to bring them ideals..."

I explained that I liked its honesty and clear priorities. I wish our leaders would reason and talk this clearly. I'd feel a lot safer and happy.

My friend explained that that sort of speech scares and disgusts normal people. I explained that the "normal" speech used to justify such actions like, "we're doing it for freedom" or "God says we should do it", bothers me, because it seems dishonest, illogical and arbitrary. But that's exactly the stuff that makes normal people like you and feel relaxed.

And yet if I'd worked Russian women to death to get the tank ditch built, my feelings (or lack of them) would incline me to boasting about what I'd done. I'd be proud that I'd done the nasty job because I had a clear sense of what was really important, and I'd acted on it, doing a dirty job.

If you watch "The Act of Killing", it seems that in general, gangsters have the sociopathic mindset. E.g. at one point, one killer starts to say that some stories, even true ones shouldn't be told, because they'll make the bad guys (commies) look good. One of the gangsters tells him that the truth is the truth, and there's nothing wrong with telling it. You can bet that that guy would be a Himmler fan too.


  1. Everybody's picking on M.E. Nobody loves her.

  2. Most killers are "normal people". Its said that Heinrich almost fainted with pale face when he visited the deeds he had ordered with his pen. Authority & peer pressure make ordinary folks kill, genocide is not committed by large gangs of sociopaths. More likley the psychopaths are not participating in this, these have fled to the woods instead of doing others dirty-work..

    1. Agreed, but I also must agree with the author of the text, I'll feel much better if our fellow leaders be more rational and realists in their speech.

  3. U seem to have an infatuation with the "pin tail on donkey game" u referenced it numorous times.

  4. Rerun of Sleepy Hollow on telly. I like the final scene when the horseman has found his head, found a bride & just stands there before departure, its something very "Scorpio" about it all. I guess one can see some link to some sort of "hadean descent" or something.

  5. "In this moment we witness the psychopath’s utter inability to conceptualise the suffering he causes others; his utter inability to feel the horror and anguish that psychologically normal people feel. This total inability to conceptualise other people’s pain is at the core of psychopathy, and allows psychopaths to torture and kill human beings with as little emotion as you or I would experience when chopping wood."

    I have witnessed this from my father- a psychopath who has recounted various heinous, violent crimes in the same way that one might describe a walk through the park- and to a lesser extent, from myself.

    I liken the experience to abortion. I had one, as a teenager. I never glossed over the fact that I ordered another human being, as a child, to physically dismember another human being within my own body, so as to preserve my freedom, and suit my convenience. It was wrong, and I knew it- but I did it anyway. I refused to allow myself to experience the emotional repercussions of the act, so I literally vomited them out thereafter. Afterwards, I felt nothing.

    Yet so many women I know excuse the act by appealing to autonomy- just as others will appeal to various "noble" ideals so as to justify gross acts of atrocity - in the name of God... Or of freedom, and democracy.

    "My body, my choice!" is the refrain we hear from distraught, emotional empaths, who feel they must justify their actions in order to be able to live with themselves after committing such an act of violence. Except- from a purely biological and scientific perspective- it is an act that not only implicates their own bodies, is it?

    I am a murderer- but I will never kill another human being again- especially not one in its weakest, most vulnerable state.

    It says something about me that I should have done so, does it not? I was not deluded. I just didn't care.

    Why does the need to maintain an emotional delusion outweigh the scientific fact that to abort a fetus is to kill a baby?

    Does it not say something even graver that such a great number of "empaths" should be so invested in protecting the right to kill what they deem inconvenient, whilst maintaining a veneer of propriety, so as to avoid responsibility and/or emotional hardship, and maintain their cherished independence, without sacrificing their precious self-image?

    If you're going to do something, have the courage to call a spade a spade.

    1. Cogito ero sum. A fetus is not a baby, a fetus is developing into a baby but is still just a fetus. If its not ur womb its not ur business.

    2. What is fundamentally different from killing a amorphic fetus, a barely developed fetus, a semi-developed fetus or a full formed baby? It is not something that we can put a time-scale/developmental-scale line and tell:

      "wait now it is not lots of cells, it became a human now".

      It doesn't make any sense at all, it is a linear process of evolution with no clear cut boundaries. Anywhere you put the line it is fucking arbitrary based on what you believe.

      I'm a male, unfortunately if something happen to go wrong I can't use this last resort to keep my (financial) freedom other than try to persuade my partner. But I would not hesitate to, even use force if I believe it will be effective. Why should someone think that doing that is all that bad?

      Better kill than give a bad life, lacking love, resources, time or whatever that is essential to human development. You should not think what you've done as a killing a human being. Think that as protecting you (and as a consequence: it) from suffering 70+ years.

  6. "I explained that the "normal" speech used to justify such actions like, "we're doing it for freedom" or "God says we should do it", bothers me, because it seems dishonest, illogical and arbitrary. But that's exactly the stuff that makes normal people like you and feel relaxed."


    Bingo. I hate hearing that kind of stuff. Even if it's a cause I'm in favor of, I don't need to tell myself some story about how the War in Iraq is to protect our 'freedoms."

  7. I couldn't agree more with this and I feel nearly the same way. The only difference for me would be I would feel bad if one of the women used in the example was attractive and I would only feel that way because of my selfish human desire for sex.

  8. That is the excellent mindset, is just not help to make every sence whatsoever preaching about that mather. Virtually any method many thanks in addition to i had endeavor to promote your own article in to delicius nevertheless it is apparently a dilemma using your information sites can you please recheck the idea. thanks once more.

  9. It's interesting reading these replies, and the OP of course. It seems like to successfully motivate a mixed audience you'd need both that emotional tug and the honest clarity. I wonder if it's possible to balance those out in one speech.

    It's interesting to bring up Himmler too, I've always found the Holocaust really fascinating in a way other genocides aren't. Maybe it's the scale, or the snappy uniforms or the dispassion of it. I could never really understand why empaths would carry out atrocities of such a size and duration that they're clearly not just acting out of sudden rage or anything.

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