Why is there cruelty in society?

Why does cruelty exist in human society? What are the factors of cruelty in humans?

Cruelty does exist in society and it has many forms. It may bullying, harassment, torture, murder, and many more. The basic thing that is important in deciding whether an action is cruel is the intention.

People define cruelty in many ways; but Kosloff, Greenberg, and Solomon suggest that cruelty is the special case of aggression.

Whether animals are able to do cruel actions?

A lion attacks a deer, it kills and eats the deer to survive. A lizard attacks a fly and kills it to eat and survive. You may have noticed that these are the actions which are not intentionally done, but survival is the basic reason for every basic necessary activity for every animal.

Let's go back to the question that

Whether the animal has the intention to kill for the sake of cruelty?

An adult male chimpanzee was brutally killed by nine male chimpanzees of other troop on border patrol. Its body was full of bites and hand torn wounds, it was badly beaten by them and body was badly distorted. Again, on the next day, the nine other chimpanzees were seen beating the dead body of that chimpanzee.

On this Victor Nell says that he believes animal cruelty should be considered as an extreme form of aggression and not cruelty itself, for the reason that animals definitely cause suffering to others but their intention is absent.

You may have seen your pet puppy killing ants and other creepers with its paw, this act certainly gives pain to little creatures, but the intention of the puppy is probably fun and curiosity and not cruelty.

What are the reasons that cruelty exists in human society?

Human is a complex living organism with the extraordinary quality of coping up with changing situations of the world. Human exists and continuously grows up on earth because of coördination and mutual unity.

Here are the reasons why cruelty exists in society:

  • Social Purpose in Tribes – Cruelty has existed in this society since starting. In the beginning, tribe leaders and members cruelly oppressed people for regulating the society and to keep people under law, making society a safe political place. Cruelty as by-product of activities may be found in the book, “The Creation of Patriarchy”, by Gerda Lerner. She writes that in earlier times when there were tribal groups, women were subordinated by threat and rape. Male slaves were not eligible for subordination as they may escape easily and return as great warriors to take revenge, but women could easily be detained and slaved by establishing a maternal relationship, through birth of children, to tribe. In this way threat, physical power, torture, rape, and emotional relation were used to enslave them. Although, the basic motive was to grow tribe and increase home laborers, but this was physical as well as mental cruelty to women.

  • Curiosity and Fun – It is certain that even after a lot of cultural evolutions for millennia, cruelty still exists in society. You may have seen a very common example of cruelty, children pick legs and body parts of creepers and beautiful butterflies, these acts comes under the act of animal abuse. Herzog and Arluke says that animal cruelty is much more common than it is known, and more than two-third of male undergraduate have participated in animal abuse. While Kraemer says that Curiosity may be the driver of this cruel act which causes dismantling birds, animals' parts to see what they are made up of and breaking the body parts to see what damage it can handle.

  • Cultural Hunting – You may have thought that hunting is a common, though a big example of cruelty. Ralf-Peter Behrendt writes, Cruelty is the by-product of various cultural activities and beliefs. Hunting was used to be seen as bravery and could cause up-ranking in the group's dignity which led hunters to hunt down animals. He furthers writes, although hunting causes a lot of suffering to the prey, but the sole motive not to enjoy the pain of the prey.

  • Entertainment – As a means of entertainment, cruelty resided and grew in human society like bull-fight, and in the Egyptian culture prisoners were put in the front of dangerous bulls who had to leap over them. These were the ways cruelty became entertainment source. I assume, You are familiar with movies which are promoting cruel characters and glorifying them. People watching that type of movies and serials will at some point, somewhat amount, show those qualities. Even today you can find out a lot of people betting over cock-fight, scorpion fight, and snake-mongoose fight. These are the entertainment and economical purposely organized events which include cruelty.

  • Fear – Horrible Holocaust, which Germany faced was one of the result of fear which turned out into cruelty on such a larger scale that none can imagine. Kosloff citing in terror management theory's support states that cruelty stems or grows from fear to save one's cultural heritage and to take part in a victorious act against evil. Ainslie suggests that cruelty becomes a tool of anxiety reduction mechanism in which people triggered by fear may act cruelly. Paul Bloom, a psychologist on, says that the white supremacist slogan towards Jews and Black people shows that they fear from them. They fear from their uplifting speed, they see them as a threat to their social and political power. Cruelty is reason that war were fought. Paul Bloom clarifies that in a research when soldiers of world war were questioned answers that we got were shocking. People believed that it was those soldiers who were brainwashed and hence they were in war, but the soldiers answered that they were at war because of their friends, brothers, and comrades. Cruelty is the reason we are innovating many new technologies. Nietzsche says that if there were no cruelty, there would be many things that we'd never have seen. Cruelty is the reason which made human victorious over other species and thus in growing at today's speed.

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