Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A.E. van Vogt's "The Violent Male"



Back in the early 1950's the science-fiction writer A.E. van Vogt conceived of what he called "The Violent Male." In essence it was the man who thinks he is always right and can tolerate no dissent. This type of man, although they may think the human race is no better than an animal or insect, always think of themselves as gods.

He mentioned such people as Stalin and Hitler as some of the worst examples. They were capable of such destruction because they gained political power.

Colin Wilson picked up on van Vogt's idea, wrote a novel about it called The Killer, and mentioned the concept in some of his other books.

Both van Vogt and Wilson are correct in what they noticed, yet I would find it odd had these types of men have not been noticed for thousands of years. I believe they have.

As far back as the Old Testament these kinds of men were afflicted with Pride, as in "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Not surprisingly both van Vogt and Wilson noticed these men tended to destroy not only themselves but many others.

The ancient Greeks also noticed the character of these men. They considered them afflicted with Hubris -- the god of arrogance, lack of restraint, insolence and wanton violence, which is followed by Nemesis, the goddess of fate and revenge.

Wilson writes of these men: "Essential here is that the 'Right Man' must always have his way and is afraid of losing face above all ('How dare you talk to me this way?'): anything that might be an indication of his infallibility or erroneous ways, something that he can never admit."

"Losing face" means these men are motivated not by guilt (of which they have little if any) but instead by shame. And shame and humilation, as the psychiatrist James Gilligan has noticed, is what motivates murderers -- as is shown in one of the oldest stories in the West: that of Cain and Abel.

The Violent Man is always a scapegoater: i.e., he always blames his problems on someone else. He projects his own problems on them; they are the cause of his discomfort. And as M. Scott Peck noticed, "Scapegoating is the genesis of human evil."

Every political ideology that I am familiar with is based on splitting things into all-good or all-bad, on scapegoating, on the belief in always being right. Whether it is Marxism or Nazism or Republians and Democrats, it is all based on avoiding shame and humiliation and destroying those who oppose its "rightness."

Not surprisingly, this is one of the reasons why politics will never solves any problems, not when we see yourself as absolutely right and your opponents as evil.

As Gary Gibson writes, "Politics...thrives by amplifying divisions, creating social friction within and war without."

Unfortunately, these days, long after van Vogt wrote his book, we're getting women like this.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, these days, long after van Vogt wrote his book, we're getting women like this."

@Bob: I do not understand what you're getting at with this last statement.

Bob Wallace said...

Feminism, which has infected women who say they are not feminists, is based on women good, men bad. And this does terrible violence men, and to women, although many of the latter can't see it and therefore can't admit it.