Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Beauty won't save the world

According to recent studies by scientists at Yale University, many people, when looking at gentle and sweet creatures, experience unconscious desire to cause them pain and suffering. What is it, "cute aggression" or ordinary sadism?

Over a century ago, the great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky said his famous: "Beauty will save the world". Unfortunately, in reality, the situation is somewhat different. It is not even about the fact that, despite the presence of beauty, the world still could not avoid horrific world wars and other troubles.

It turns out, beauty is not an insurance against evil, on the contrary, it often contributes to the manifestation of the darkest parts of human soul. It is more than jealousy or desire to have the same thing as your neighbor. Beautiful creations of nature can also manifest dark instincts. 

After a series of studies, this phenomenon was noticed by scientists at Yale University in the U.S. Often, for example, seeing a pretty baby, even the baby's relatives squeeze their cheeks, clearly mimicking pinches. While no real pain is inflicted, the intent is obvious. A similar reaction may be caused by cute kittens, puppies, etc.

The researchers showed a group of male and female subjects different photos and determined their instinctive reaction by giving them bubbles wrap. The sweeter and cuter the objects on the screen were, the harder the subjects' hands squeezed the bubble wrap. Pictures of adult dogs or men did not cause such an effect.

Psychologists have not yet decided on the name of the social and psychic phenomenon. Some suggest the term "cute aggression."  

At times it seems that interpreting the results of the study, the American scientists are reinventing the wheel. In 1886, German scientist Krafft-Ebing introduced the term that became famous - sadism. Equally famous Marquis de Sade who gave origin to the name died 70 years before that.

Theoretically, sadism is purely a "sexual perversion." No doubt, experiencing sexual pleasure from spanking is a perversion. But this manifestation of the human psyche is clearly not limited with the walls of BDSM clubs, although it is manifested in less open forms.

Take, for example, elementary school kids. Long before the invention of the Internet, with its temptations and pornography, including those of sadistic nature, even Soviet psychologists described this phenomenon as "Inquisitionism." This is when boys (and sometimes girls) at the age of 8 with burning eyes begin reading stories and books about persecution of alleged "witches" by the Inquisition. These stories contain colorful descriptions of all kinds of brutal tortures applied mostly to young and beautiful girls.

In fact, far from compassionate feelings experienced while reading stories of "child heroes" during World War II who fall into the hands of the Gestapo, heroines of Komsomol, etc., are also a type of Inquisitionism.

Not long before puberty boys start manifesting their feelings for girls by pulling their braids. This is not only a way to draw attention, but the first test of the girls' ability to endure pain. 
However, girls don't lag behind, and provoke real "tournaments" among competitors fighting for their hearts. As a result, not always the strongest are selected, but these fights are a good check of physical and mental qualities of potential boyfriends. 

Against this background, the interest of children and adults to the description of tortures is not surprising. The stories cannot be changed, but the stamina, patience, and courage of the main characters of these stories can be admired. If they stayed alive, they would make great husbands and wives, fathers and mothers. In fact, the "initiation", a brutal test of torture for teenagers that provides a "ticket" to adulthood in almost all ancient cultures, is of the same nature.

In adulthood cultural stereotypes win, and open sadism (and related masochism) are pushed to the margins of the subconscious. They do not disappear entirely. For example, if you read medical sites on the types of injuries suffered by very passionate lovers who do not consider themselves "perverts," it is amazing how ingenious "cute aggression may be" - bites, bruises, scratches, and even fractures of private parts.   

Some find pleasure in watching bloody movies," survival games," personal involvement in "adrenaline" sports like mountain climbing or skydiving, for example. In the worst case - constant tyranny of the life partner (sadism) and the inability of the latter to get away from it ("victim complex", classical masochism).

"Kawai" is a Japanese term meaning "beauty", "loveliness" , became famous around the world because of the popularity of Japanese anime and manga comics. This subset of the Japanese pop culture also has a separate BDSM genre, called "hentai". In these cartoons cute girls with perfect figures and huge eyes, usually nude, are subject to wildest torture, executions, brutal rape, become victims of maniacs, monsters, etc. Incidentally, hentai is not considered a perversion in Japan, and is not forbidden for schoolchildren.

The data obtained by the American scientists from Yale merely confirmed long-known pattern: beauty in itself is not ennobling, and beautiful things do not necessarily evoke beautiful feelings in people.

Yuri Nosovsky


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