Social And Asocial Violence
Adapted From the
Upcoming Book "7"
By Rory Miller
violence can be broken down into two very broad categories:
social and asocial.
violence is what, in the natural world, would be the types of
violence common within a single species. This intra-species
violence does not follow the dynamic or use the same tactics as
violence against other species. The dominance
game of snakes wrestling or bears pushing and mouthing is not
like the way the same species hunt prey.
So social violence includes ritualized jockeying for territory or status.
It also includes acts to prove or increase group solidarity (a
powerful side effect of hunting as a team) and violence to
enforce the rules and mores of the group.
While it can escalate out of
control, the goal of social violence is to adjust unacceptable
behaviors. Killing or injuring is not the primary goal
Asocial violence does not see the victim as a person, but as a
resource. Asocial violence is the domain of
the predator and the humanity of his victim does not enter into
nearly unique in the animal world. We are social creatures and
so we have subconscious rules for social violence. We are also
hunters and we know very well how to efficiently kill prey. We
are primates, and do not rely on fang and claw, but on tools.
We can juggle symbols and think of new possibilities.
We can use the tools and tactics that we developed to kill
prey, tools and tactics designed to kill outside our species;
and can use them to kill other humans.
A male lion will kill another male’s cubs- but he won’t hunt them.
Leopards are quite capable of stalking and murdering competing
leopards, but they don’t.If a big horn ram really wanted the
herd of females he could just blindside the other males from the
side, crushing their ribs and knocking them off cliffs.
But they don’t.
Hunting our own is apparently a primate thing.
Not all humans can do this, and lots of research and writing
has been done on the emotional cost to soldiers and cops when
they take a human life.
You must understand when
dealing with a true predator you aren't dealing with something
that is fighting you. You are dealing with something
that is hunting you
is from “7”.What follows is an expansion for Conflict
clearly divides the lines between social and asocial violence
and gives one of the most important clues to what you might be
facing: if there is no audience, assume a predator.
A predator will use more violence for less cause than a normal
ability to use asocial violence on another human being is
dictated by ‘othering. ’ To hunt and butcher a human being is an
entirely different order of violence than to argue, fight or
kill in combat. It is a qualitative, not a quantitative
difference. The perpetrator has othered the victim
to the extent that the constraints, both social and genetic, on
in-group violence are gone.
means that the killing will have less emotional trauma
for the perpetrator than a social violence killing.
cases, othering is a skill. The anti-social personality
disorder already others people top a large degree. The depth of
the disorder could be seen as equivalent to how completely the
rest of humanity is othered. A true sociopath has othered
people to the extent that he or she does not see other people as
real, much less human.
The ability to other dictates
how much force you can use -- RM
person with the tendency to be violent matures and grows in self
esteem, other people seem even more different, lesser, and
easier to harm. An officer or soldier, a
“force professional” learns, as a skill, to other by behavior:
this behavior or uniform allows this level of force.
professionals are primates, however. They can develop
psychological trauma because the othering is almost never
complete. Recruits, especially in war, are
given propaganda and told stories to make the enemy seem
different and inhuman, and thus easier to kill.
Predators, even sociopaths are also primates as well. In their case it
doesn’t lead to psychological trauma but many will take an
instance of asocial violence and milk it for social gains. It
is not enough to callously kill a fifteen-year-old for her
purse, the predator might also get bragging rights by telling
his criminal friends. This is why ‘hooks’ are
so often a part of the interview pre-assault phase.
War is an
interesting case. It is extremely social violence in that it is
fought by groups and for the good of the group.
Yet it requires overcoming internal resistances to killing
It is an
attempt to engage in social violence asocially. Training
soldiers requires intense bonding. Performance in combat relies
on the limbic system overpowering logical thought and, to a
certain extent, survival instinct. The soldier must be more
afraid of letting his buddies down and/or being labeled a coward
than of dying. Those are social motivations.
A problem with the taboo-ization
of violence is people are unable to differentiate between social
and asocial violence. Not only are they not taught how to tell
the difference (and conduct themselves), but they don't even know
the distinction exists. --MM
social violence within a group is rare. The scripts for social
conflict are for the good of the group. Only
in very extreme cases are the group’s needs fulfilled by
lowering membership through killing.
Establishing a hierarchy is endangered by fear of death. It
destabilizes the structure. Enforcing the identity or rules of
the group are rarely served by killing: dead people don’t learn nothin’.
universally, extreme social violence within a group comes from
one of three sources. Either a leader (or leader wannabe) is so
insecure in his role that he feels a need to establish dominance
through extreme fear. It is a reflection of the leader’s fear.
It is the same dynamic as a young punk trying to establish a
reputation for being ‘hard’ or crazy.
source is the desire for group solidarity. There is nothing
quite like breaking a major social rule (like killing) with a
feeling of extreme risk in a small group to promote a group
identity. It may seem cold or blasphemous, but
gangbangers and wilding groups are using the same bonding
dynamic in their crimes that tactical teams and combat units.
source of extreme social violence is betrayal. Adultery leading
to murder is almost a cliché. In workplace shootings… almost
always, if the perpetrator survives, he will speak of being
betrayed, of promises not kept, things earned but not received.
Many of the most brutal Group Monkey Dances are not committed on
an outsider, but on a member of the group who has been labeled a
That sense of betrayal comes up in other places—it is often a
critical element in who will develop Post-traumatic Stress