The Coefficient of Fear

The Coefficient of Fear

In the complex equation of human desperation, the coefficient of fear is always a prime variable. The calculus of emotion can be used to predict the area of containment which is mediated by the mechanisms of personal restraint. Unfortunately these calculations are devoid of meaning in terms of behavioral prediction, because we have no valid and reliable measures of explosive potential in the absence of moderating spiritual influences. In other words, when self-control evaporates in the crucible of pain, suffering, shame and trauma, the pins of personal restraint which have been held in place by an individual’s spiritual reality lose their effectiveness and ability to modulate any impending personal meltdown & behavioral decompensation. Social scientists and behavioral mathematicians employ a spectrum of statistical measures and inferential algorithms in the hope of deriving useful behavioral predictors. While their sophisticated analytical designs can identify and embrace a range of constituent behaviors and emotions which are evident in those experiencing meltdown behaviors; what they cannot predict reliably are those individuals who will manifest rage-induced behaviors that result in brutal massacres across the country. At best they can generate a list of potential candidates which is rife with false positives.

But what is the unique chemistry or individual physics of behavior which leads to irremediable breakdowns on an intrapersonal basis? Once that tipping point has been crossed, we observe the consequences of personal decompensation and the resultant tragedies. What unique variable are at work in the psyche of those who commit heinous acts of violence against those who are usually unknown to them. As a clinical psychologist I have often pondered these unidentified processes as I read of the personal histories and series of events which have interacted to produce violent acts of human desperation. As a student of human behavior I have noticed one common denominator in the aftermath of these catastrophic encounters. Almost universally the perpetrators have become loners in lifestyle, communication and behaviors. Rather than seeking release from the influence of their personal demons, they move into a psychological place where they embrace their pain, shame and losses. That results in a moving apart from others even close family members. It is not yet clear to me what the mechanism of exclusion is, self, other or an insidious combination of both. What is clear, is the fact that once this exclusionary practice has been fully embraced, they have moved into a prodromal phase of emotional devolvement in which their pains, perceived sufferings and the hopelessness of their personal situation intensifies, but their ability to distinguish the value of others lives diminishes markedly. My hypothesis is that this is a purely interior process whose magnitude is rarely clearly observed by others. Thus they pass a point of no-return in which the glue of individual spirituality is supplanted by a demonically induced compulsion to restore a type of emotional homeostasis by randomly inflicting pain on unknown others at the level of pain they perceive themselves to be experiencing. This pain exchange mechanism is the final step in a response governed by internal rage and manifest evil. Once the decision has been undertaken to utilize a pain exchange mechanism, I believe that the ability to defuse the situation though communication has been irredeemably lost. The basis for discussion is logic and reason. These are elements of personality which have no further ability to mediate behavioral responses. Until they act on their pain exchange plan, they live in a world stained red with their anger. The emotional tint colors all aspects of their functioning until accommodating events line up to vent their fury. That is why these incidents ALWAYS seem to be like a lightning bolt out of the blue. A careful deconstruction of the individual’s unique history and contributing events will reveal that the various factors have been smoldering for a long time. How could we live in such close proximity to others who would randomly take our lives and have no awareness of the pending danger? Conversely how could someone slip through this chain of events and not trigger the warmth of a moment’s communication or concern for their welfare?

There must be unidentified cofactors at work in this complex life equation. Since science ignores the implications of manifest evil, their efforts to understand these phenomena are doomed to failure. They can only assign behavioral labels which contain no portent or shield against future encounters with those struggling with impaired personal restraints. Not being personally bound by the confines of “science” I am free to examine the relationship between festering woundedness and the assimilation of evil influences in the context of emergent violent and rageful behavioral excesses. Plugging the concept of evil into the individual personal equation brings a degree of power which advances our knowledge of human behavior and its development in terms of body, mind and spirit. For those who embrace science as the sole arbiter of truth this proposition may produce ill-considered dismissals of evil as an influence in the realm of human behavior and encourage an attitude of patent denial pertaining to the hypothesized process of cognitive and emotional deconstruction that precedes incidents of behavioral chaos.

Can a clinical or social researcher operating in the safety and sterility of a disaffected environment conceptualize the fury of an individual meltdown in progress? Can they produce a disintegration model which correctly identifies pivotal points at which the consequences can be altered or thwarted? Can they begin to grasp the significance of a process which takes the raw materials of pain, shame, grief as they are fused into a reactionary core that produces behavioral permeate-ability? Out flows the concept of personhood, spiritual influences, integrity and the last indications of personal behavioral restraints. In flows a confluence of confirmatory information, subtle misinterpretations and demonic stimuli which crystallizes the exclusionary processes. The trigger has been set, awaiting the final countdown. The entire process has taken place internally beyond the direct observation of others. No streams of communication or recognizable data have informed the awareness of others. In a moment of total desperation and despair the individual sheds any remaining links which are suggestive of personhood and relationship and goes into a state characterized by a relentless drive in furtherance of their plan of action. The safety has been shut off and viable communication alternatives cease to exist. The individual is now out of touch with the reality of life as we know it. They continue to glide past us as if on auto-pilot while squarely focused upon the impending detonation point. There are no practical fail safe mechanisms or call back procedures. The behavioral bomb will explode somewhere in our midst.

How does one become so disengaged from life? Have you ever heard the old story …for want of a nail an empire was lost? Let me recount it for you now.

The passion for living is replaced with a passion for destruction. I suspect that the unrecognized catalytic agent is evil in a thousand forms fueling the personal meltdown process. As long as the end result is the needless infliction of pain and suffering, the ends of evil have been satisfied. Therefore if you cannot factor this dimension of evil into the equation of life, then no correct solution set can be achieved and the issue continues to get punted among the many agencies of government charged with public protection. In the meantime each new incident provides an opportunity to call for additional massive funding in the name of enhanced public safety. The tail truly is wagging the dog.

In the case of one with a “normal” anger response pattern and even those who manifest low frustration tolerance, have a response that triggers a reaction or flair up of temper. That response set provides a process for venting those emotions that have been building up. It is my opinion that the psychologically desperate have no such process. They lack the safety net of an internal circuit breaker or reactionary fuse. Invariably their anger continues to build and it is suppressed until they move into the pain exchange phase of their internal firestorm. At that point the power of their anger assumes a shape, a target and a plan. This all happens largely unseen by others. Certainly its intrapersonal mask crystallizes when evil starts to replace reason and compassion. If evil is in fact a primary mover, then they are likely to move deeper into subterfuge as they move toward their final act. At this point, I believe that they make conscious efforts to mask their plans behind a variety of pretenses. Further at this point, I believe that they are least likely to be discovered given the presence of demonic influences. This ceases to be an earthly struggle and now centers upon the universal ongoing battle between good and evil.

This understanding has been birthed through years of engagement in various struggles and conflicts, usually of a legal nature. It has also been fueled by years of practical experience working with offenders (caught and uncaught) in a variety of settings. Most of the individuals with such propensities for personal meltdowns do not come from those who have been identified as lawbreakers or offenders. They live in a narrow margin of society and may produce consternation and fear throughout society that they have been our neighbors, friends or even family members.


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