While trail running, I started thinking about aggression after I tripped, fell and started bleeding as in the dynamics of sadism and masochism. Sadism means expressing aggression towards others while masochism turns the aggression inward towards self. In his model, aggression, has a genetic process and can be expressed regardless of the many influences in our environmental. The expression of aggression can be seen on a continuum. We can express aggressive behavior verbally toward others as in jokes, humor, sarcasm , hurtful putdowns or physically as in spanking children, spousal abuse, and competitive sports, such as rugby, soccer, boxing or football. On the other extreme, we have wounding, killing or destroying another.
Konrad Lorenz hypothesized that aggression is built on a hydraulic model. It’s not a reaction to outside stimuli, but built-in inner excitation that seeks release and will find expression, regardless of how adequate the outer stimulus is. In other words, it’s the spontaneity of the instinct that makes it so dangerous. In essence, it’s the idea that aggression also has a preservative function related to the idea of the survival of the species. Others, such as Erich Fromm and Henry Murray have a different view as to the origin of aggression or destructiveness. For them, aggression can be the effect or end result of behavior, influenced by child rearing, and other social, political, economic, and environmental factors and can be found in the personality or character development of the individual.
Aggressive and destructive behavior at times seems to dominate the news cycle. It can be related to the behavior of football players, either on or off the field of play. Ray Rice was in the news for knocking out his fiancée in an elevator while Adrian Peterson was reprimanded for spanking his child with a switch. More recently, Michigan’s Blake O’Neill received death threats for his inability to scoop up the football on the last play of the Michigan-Michigan State game. Thinking back, reminded me of Jack Tatum’s violent hit that paralyzed the Patriots wide receiver Daryl Stingley. Incidentally, the Raiders Tatum was called the “Assassin.” Don’t forget the numerous significant injuries resulting in practice or games along with the severity of concussions.
Not to be forgotten is our war against the Middle East terrorists. Our government has a Department of Defense and what’s called the best military in the world. We know how best to kill with all the multitude of weapons at our disposal. To defend and kill against someone shooting at you makes perfect sense. Aggression is also needed when there are threats to political, economic or family protection. Less-than-perfect sense for defensive aggression exists when our country tells us that it’s in our countries best interest or national security to send troops. Maybe they know more than they are telling or maybe the person in charge doesn’t have accurate information?
To Be Continued