Demonology, Criminology, the Pathological Perspective, and Sadism

No matter what happens in our lives, our bodies will always be surrounded or involved in numerous acts of deviance. Whether someone acts under the influence of the devil, or if we do something to bring pleasure to ourselves, something will be seen as deviant behavior. Whether it is caused or chosen, deviant behavior is a regular part of life. Every deviant has logic behind his or her behavior. Whether they do it for power, control, hatred, or anger, there is some type of reasoning for their actions. Why demonic deviants seen as evil? Why is sadism silenced? Why is deviance looked at as a bad thing?

Demonic deviance rose in the middle as a way to describe those who were acting against G-d. Those who did not follow word of G-d were seen as sinners who were impacted by the presence of the devil in their souls. Deviants, as Stephen Pfohl says, act deviant either “through temptation or through possession” (Images of Deviance and Social control 22). A tempted deviant is taken over and made weaker “by the multiple forms taken by the devil – sloth, anger, lust, pride, envy, gluttony, greed” (Images of Deviance and Social control 23).

Possession, the second way to deviance, is when a person is possessed by the devil, or legitimately taken over and controlled by the devil. The devil has a part in every act of deviance making the person harm the victim and G-d.

As time moved forward, theorist in the eighteenth century started to rule out demonic deviance, as it was not rational. These theorists were seen as classical theorists. As Pfohl puts is, “Deviance, like any other human act, was viewed as a freely calculated choice to maximize pleasure and minimize pain” (Images of Deviance and Social control 63). The society was connected through a social contract, in which every member gave up a little bit of liberty.

Deviance was seen as acts going against that social contract. This outlook on deviance gave a more rational sense of thinking, which restored some liberty to the people. It connected the citizens by law rather than by spirit.

In the nineteenth century, a new way to look at deviance rose. Pfohl states a simple overview, “Deviance was pictured as a sickness, not sin, and as caused rather than chosen” (Images of Deviance and Social control 104). The deviant’s mind was controlled by a physical or mental sickness, which caused him or her to go against the will of society. Cesare Lombroso had three component of this pathological perspective (Images of Deviance and Social control 104). He saw humans as deterministic. Certain behavior was superior, and other behavior was inferior. All behaviors were caused by the natural law.

His second component was positivism. In order to find out what caused deviance, positivistic science, or observation and experiments, had to be performed. His last component was an organismic infection. Society favored the human body, and if a part of that body were sick, then it would be weakened, which caused deviance.

In today’s society, all three perspectives still exist. The least prevalent is the demonic perspective. Today, “the demonic perspective relies on beliefs that are no longer believed as much as other beliefs” (47). People in today’s world use a naturalistic explanation as opposed to a spiritual explanation, but demonology still exists. Monica Sjöö discusses Dan and Ron Lafferty, who in 1984 committed murder. The two, as Sjöö says, acted deviant because “G-d told them it was ‘his will’ that theses people ‘be removed’” (The Great Cosmic Mother 313).

The Lafferty brothers killed their sister-in-law, and her baby because they were acting against G-d’s will and deserved to “be removed”. This type of deviance, killing someone based on demonology, has been less prevalent because the United States separates its Church and State. The Lafferty brothers were sentenced to life prison for an act that would have been praised several hundred years ago. Demonic deviance exists, but is less prevalent today.

Classical theorizing is starting to become more and more prevalent in today’s society. After Marvin Wolfgang’s research, many see the point of the idea of the three-strike system, only severely punishing criminals after their third felony. California, who was one of the first states to adopt this law, saw their crime rate significantly drop within a decade. Since then many other states have adopted the same system.

The theorists in today’s society are deciding that we should resort to deterrence, and rational punishment as opposed rehabilitation. We are resorting the ideas of James. Q. Wilson, who believes that deviants know that if they’re caught they will be punished. This is Wilson’s “new realism” (Images of Deviance and Social Control 84).

Even more prevalent though, in today’s society is the pathological perspective. A large amount of medical discoveries are being made today to help prevent, or control diseases. People are starting to become more and more comfortable with the idea of the pathological perspective. One of the most recent findings is hyperkinesis. A child who experiences symptoms such as “hyperactivity (excessive motor activity), short attention span, and restless or fidgety behavior” is to be diseased rather than bad (Images of Deviance and Social Control 146). Even cures for small pox and polio have been discovered. Today, more and more research is being funded in order to find the causes to deviance. The pathological perspective is the most accepted theory for deviance today.

Deviance needs to be controlled. In the demonic world, it was a simple idea back in the day. If one were to go against G-d, they would be punished publically and physically. Their soul had to be rid of the devil. The deviant had to be reminded that G-d was almighty. Frau Peller, a woman in the seventeenth century, was arrested for “accomplices in witchcraft” (The Great Cosmic Mother 303). Frau was tortured and was “convicted, and ‘burned alive in a hut of dry straw.’

Her husband…protested the trial and was thrown out of the courtroom” (The Great Cosmic Mother 303). Demonic deviance was not put up with. If one had the devil among them, they would be burned, hung, and sometimes beheaded. There were no exceptions. These methods are now illegal, but they still exist, especially for the Lafferty brothers, whom I mentioned earlier. Today, different methods exist for assessing and handling deviance.

Many are falling back upon those methods of classical criminology, which involves six principles. Every person is a member of a social contract. Legislators pick the laws instead of judges. Every person can choose rationally what to do and what not to do. There are rationally calculated punishments for committing a crime. Deterrence stops a person from committing a future crime.

Lastly, if they perform an act against the social, no matter who they are, they will be punished. The best example of the classical style of punishment being instilled was the French Penal Code of 1791 (Images of Deviance and Social Control 76). In this code, the judges were only allowed to determine if a person was guilty or not guilty. The crimes were listed in order of seriousness, and were determined by the legislators. If a person was guilty, he or she was punished. The legislators did not care who committed the crime, child or adult.

The United States mixes this classical perspective with the pathological perspective in the sense of control. Older methods of control involved mental hospitals, which were places where the deviants could rehabilitate themselves. The most current ways to control pathological deviance are medications, and even brain surgery. In 1978, female workers “in a Sungai Way electronics plant appeared to be ‘possessed’ by visions and voices unheard by their supervisors” (Images of Deviance and Social Control 101). These women were not crazy, but instead sick. They were deemed “‘mentally ill’, suffering from ‘epidemic hysteria’” (Images of Deviance and Social Control 102). In order to control this mental illness doctors prescribed medication, specifically Valium. There was a treatment for every type of deviance.

Although there was much control for all three perspectives, it was not always fair or even. There were racial, sexual, and economic discrimination, which led to hierarchies. In demonic deviance, African Americans did not benefit as they ended up dead or enslaved for being impacted by the devil. In classical deviance, race affected Tawana Bradley, who in 1987 “was found in a vacant lot, clothed only in a shirt and a plastic garbage bag into which she had apparently crawled” (The Alchemy of Race and Rights 169).

Tawana had been, having had the terms “‘KKK and ‘nigger’…inscribed on her torso” (The Alchemy of Race and Rights 169). Due to her race, Tawana was not believed. Pathologically, a person may not be treated or could be said to be sick based on race.

Homosexual persons find themselves, accused of being infected by them demon, in similar situations to Tawana, and not treated, as homosexuality was seen as a disease. Lastly, those who had money ruled and made the laws for demonic and classical deviance. Those who have money can pay for medicalized treatment. All of these discriminations created hierarchies allowing those of the favored race, sexuality, and with money to benefit.

All of these deviant acts have to do with power. In pornography, a man feels a need to have power over a woman because she is a threat to him because she “evokes the self-knowledge a man tries to forget” (Pornography and Silence 19). He is the sadist, and he takes control of her making her vulnerable and exposed. The rituals of taking control include acts of violence, using degrading words, and even forms of torture. The ritual of torture resembles the ritual of demonic deviance in which Christ was crucified (Pornography and Silence 68).

The man, like the demonic deviant, is possessed, but this time it is by his own mind and want of the woman. He wants her, and he also wants to maximize his pleasure. The act of sadism is a classical deviant ritual in itself. One takes advantage of woman and force himself upon her in order to please himself because resisting causes to much pain. Many men choose to be possessed, but mainly these acts are caused. Just as some woman at the Sungai Way electronics plant could not help but see things, or cry, these men are caused to rape, and control. It is in the nature.

Why is it in their nature? Why do men feel possessed, or that sadism maximizes pleasure, or why are they caused to do such things? While cause to their deviance may remain unknown in some instances, the ways “others” act towards them certainly is not. Similar to demonic theorizing, Susan Griffin states that, “trying to escape his own natural desire, and his own nature, he creates a fantasy which replaces nature” (Pornography and Silence 43).

Human is naturally sinned, and fallen, and must get out of the fallen state by following G-d’s will. The theories of demonic deviance, of naturally being sinned and infected by the devil, are very similar to those of sadism. A man does not fall under the hedonistic theory. In actuality, he cannot choose whether he does or does not control a woman.

It is part of the natural law. A man’s natural state causes him to act in a deviant way towards a woman. This is the theory of determinism. The theories of demonic and pathological deviance best relate to and describe sadism. A man cannot control his sexual desires. He wants the woman. He is possessed by his own self-knowledge and by his own mind. He is caused to do what he does out of a disease. The disease is that his mind is infected with a want for woman. A woman makes him sick because she makes a man go insane.

A man who is sick with sadism is seen as different, as an outcast. The deviants of these acts like deviants of demonic acts may not be burned, but they will be self- degraded. Their disease for woman might become so sever that they might have to be put into rehabilitation. To help deal with a man’s sexual desire he could go talk to a psychiatrist. The control methods for sadism are very similar to those of pathological controls because sadism can be considered a disease.

How do you fix sadism? How do you make it so that sadism is no longer a disease? Sadism should be dealt with by a combination of both the pathological and the classical ideas. Some people can choose to act deviant, and some cannot due to a legitimate disease. This should be taken into consideration when concerning punishment. The actor should be looked at, but only to determine if a mental sickness is present. If there is no mental sickness, any adult performing a violent act of sadism should be punished.

Children should be punished, but not to the extent of an adult. This idea would have the characteristics of the United States Government, with the exception that money would play no role. There would be no bail. There would be a judge to determine the mental state and the age, and after that, appropriate punishment would be given. This would involve a rational system of punishment accepting those who legitimately could not control themselves.

The way I see it, deviance is like eating food, you want it all, but some you must eat in modification, some you can eat a lot of, and some you really should not eat any of. Deviance is similar. In the world, there are acts you can perform a lot of, there are some you can do sometimes, and there are those deviant acts in which you should never perform. In a perfect world this is how the human mind functions.

The reality is, you will splurge, and you will do what you are not supposed to do. The idea is that you learn and accept. If you did something bad, expect a punishment, whether it is administered by a government of some source or by yourself in the form of guilt. Deviance is unavoidable and there is no real social control to it. The key is accepting it, dealing with it, and trying to realize that there are still good things in the world.