Dark Side of Human Consciousness Concept
Authored by Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2006)
“Dark Psychology is both a human consciousness construct and study of the human condition as it relates to the psychological nature of people to prey upon others motivated by psychopathic, deviant or psychopathological criminal drives that lack purpose and general assumptions of instinctual drives, evolutionary biology and social sciences theory. All of humanity has the potentiality to victimize humans and other living creatures. While many restrain or sublimate this tendency, some act upon these impulses. Dark Psychology explores criminal, deviant and cybercriminal minds.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. 
Dark Psychology is the study of the human condition as it relates to the psychological nature of people to prey upon others. All of humanity has this potential to victimize other humans & living creatures. While many restrain or sublimate this tendency, some act upon these impulses. Dark Psychology seeks to understand those thoughts, feelings and perceptions that lead to human predatory behavior. Dark Psychology assumes that this production is purposive and has some rational, goal-oriented motivation 99.99% of the time. The remaining .01%, under Dark Psychology, is the brutal victimization of others without purposive intent or reasonably defined by evolutionary science or religious dogma.
Within the next century, iPredators and their acts of theft, violence and abuse will become a global phenomenon and societal epidemic if not squashed. Segments of iPredators include cyber stalkers, cyberbullies, cyber terrorist, cyber criminals, online sexual predators and political/religious fanatics engaged in cyber warfare. Just as Dark Psychology views all criminal/deviant behavior on a continuum of severity and purposive intent, the theory of iPredator follows the same framework, but involves abuse, assault and online victimization using Information and Communications Technology. The definition of iPredator is as follows:
iPredator: A person, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology [ICT]. iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion or national heritage. iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, coercive, deviant or abusive behaviors using ICT. Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and the violently disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity.
Whether the offender is a cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cybercriminal, online sexual predator, internet troll, cyber terrorist, cyberbully, online child pornography consumer/distributor or engaged in internet defamation or nefarious online deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:
- A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT.
- The usage of ICT to obtain, exchange and deliver harmful information.
- A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely upon the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology [ICT]. These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators habitually deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.
Cyberstealth, a sub-tenet of iPredator, is a covert method by which iPredators attempt to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is iPredator Victim Intuition [IVI], an iPredator’s IVI is their aptitude to sense a target’s ODDOR [Offline Distress Dictates Online Response], online & offline vulnerabilities, psychological weaknesses, technological limitations, increasing their success of a cyber-attack with minimal ramifications.
The Arsonist is a person with an obsessive preoccupation with fire setting. These individuals often have developmental histories filled with sexual and physical abuse. Common among serial arsonists is the proclivity to be loners, have few peers, and absolutely fascinated by fire and fire setting. Serial arsonists are highly ritualistic and tend to exhibit patterned behaviors as to their methodologies for setting fires.
Preoccupied by fire setting, Arsonists often fantasize & fixate upon how to plan their fire setting episodes. Once their target is set ablaze, some arsonists experience sexual arousal and proceed with masturbation while watching. Despite their pathological and ritualistic patterns, the serial arsonist feels pride in his actions.
Thanatophilia, Necrophilia and Necrologies all define the same type of disordered person. These are people, and they do exist, who have a sexual attraction to corpses. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, by the American Psychiatric Association, classifies necrophilia as a paraphilia. A paraphilia is a biomedical term used to describe a person’s sexual arousal and preoccupation with objects, situations or individuals that are not part of normative stimulation and may cause distress or serious problems for the person. Hence, a Necrophile’s paraphilia is sexual arousal by an object, a deceased person.
Experts who have compiled profiles of Necrophiles indicate they have tremendous difficulty experiencing a capacity for being intimate with others. For these people, sexual intimacy with the dead feels safe and secure rather than sexual intimacy with a living human. Necrophiles have divulged in interviews feeling a great sense of control when in the company of a corpse. A sense of connection becomes secondary to the primary need for perceived control.
A serial killer is a true human predator typically defined as someone who murders three or more people over a period of 30 days or greater. Interviews with most serial killers have revealed they experience a cooling off period between each murder. The serial killer’s cooling off period is a perceptual refractory period whereby they are temporarily satiated with their need to cause pain to others.
Criminal Psychology experts have hypothesized their motivation for killing is the pursuit for an experience of psychological gratification only achieved via brutality. After they murder, these individuals feel a sense of release combined with egotistical power. The experience for them brings such gratification that they become wanton to feel the experience of release and gratification once again.
“The term ‘serial killings’ means a series of three or more killings, not less than one of which was committed within the United States, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same actor or actors.” FBI
Sexual assault, rape, humiliation and torture are often involved during the course of their murders. Experts at the Federal Bureau of Investigations have outlined other motivations in addition to anger, rage, attention seeking, thrill seeking and monetary gain. Often, serial killers exhibit similar patterns in their choice of victims, how they murder their targets, and methods for disposal of the body. Criminal experts trained in behavioral analysis concur serial killers have a history of significant emotional, behavioral and social pathology. Although not absolute, serial killers tend to be loners who have trouble engaging in functional relationships.
Provided above are four examples of offenders and offender groups who commit abusive and/or violent bizarre acts sharing the common bond of having deep psychological deficits with distorted worldviews. These serious psychiatric and/or personality constructs, which may metastasize throughout their being, defies reason. What is it about these human predators, how do they function and socialize in their day-to-day lives? These brief profiles speak volumes about the dark nature of the human condition. In addition to all sharing mild to severe psychopathology, they all are perceptual loners with deep-seated forces governing their decision-making capacities.
The serial arsonist may not assault other people or find gratification from being a human predator as does the serial killer, but he experiences joy and elation from his fire setting. In addition to joy, he feels a sense of accomplishment from the devastation he has caused. His episodes of fire setting are extremely dangerous given he can cause harm to others, but the goal of inflicting pain or bodily harm is not his modus operandi.
For the serial arsonist, the big payoff is his sense of pride and distorted perception of accomplishing a brilliant feat of genius. His perverted sense of achievement, at times, leads him to become sexually aroused and masturbation ensues. The arsonist’s behavior is reprehensible, illegal and dangerous, but typically does not involve premeditated murder. They live within an abyss of infernal obsession.
Although the Necrophile is not causing pain to another person or victimizing others, his actions are extraordinarily bizarre and absent of any sense of logic. The Necrophile’s need for perceived control is so insidious that he develops a sexual attraction to a corpse. Imagine what the experience must be for him. He is sexually aroused by a lifeless body that is expressionless and absent of warmth. Most people yearn for connection during sexual intimacy, but the Necrophile does not require this. He becomes aroused by the experience of a total and complete disconnect. Clearly, his mind has entered a very dark realm.
The serial killer is one of the most despotic characters that manifests from the dark side. In films, court cases and news coverage, the serial killer is frequently a subject of intrigue. The essence of this epitome of deviant evil echoes a part of the human psyche that only the serial killer himself can realistically experience. Just as an alcoholic craves his next drink or an opiate addict yearns for his next fix, the serial killer becomes addicted to murder.
The serial killer speaks of the gratification and elevated sense of release once his murder has come to fruition. Unlike the necrophile or serial arsonist, the serial killer’s sole endeavor is to extinguish life. For many of these assailants, sexual arousal by torturing their victims is a common theme. Although a common theme, there are other equally disturbing drives causing them to torture their victims.
These four examples are illustrations of the extent to which humans will go for the experience of power, pleasure and/or goal attainment. All the criminal profiles described involve assailants feeling a sense of gratification from their abusive and/or heinous actions. The reality is that these examples are merely basic profiles of four segments of the population of men and women who participate in criminal, abusive or deviant acts. The extent to which humans will go for sexual gratification, perceived control or financial gain is quite extensive and elaborate.
Before the advent of scientific advancements and the capacity of society to explain deviant human behavior, monsters and demons were the cause of such chaos. Unable to understand how people could commit such atrocities, metaphysical beings were the only logical explanation. Instead of fearing their neighbors, early civilizations concocted legends and tales of demonic beings. Werewolves, Vampires and Ghouls prowled the night stalking their prey.
Although contemporary society deems itself as advanced in its ability to comprehend the potential for humans to commit violent and heinous acts, learning how to reduce and/or prevent bizarre and deadly actions perpetrated by humans remains elusive. Our species is the only group of living organisms that participate in actions antithetical to our survival.
Dark Psychology is both the study of criminal & deviant behavior and a conceptual framework for deciphering the potential for evil within all human beings. This writer does not claim to have the proverbial “holy grail” of defining deviant human behavior, but rather a framework for inquiry and further investigation.
Many years ago, when this writer first became interested in the study of forensic and criminal psychology, he posited that aberrant deviant behaviors were part of a psychiatric illness not yet determined. With the passing of time and research, intrigue followed from the vast array of theories and explanations for why humans maintain a capacity to prey upon other humans.
The idea of Dark Psychology entered this writer’s theoretical exploration and he began to formalize a set of concepts he believed plausible. The sum of his attempts ended in narrow concepts aimed at trying to explain the psychopath and sexual predator. Four years ago, this writer experienced his first paradigm shift pertinent to his present theory.
“A psychopath, as described by psychologists, is emotionally flat, lacks empathy for the feelings of others and is free of remorse. Psychopaths behave as if the world is to be used for their benefit, and they employ deception and feigned emotion to manipulate others.” Bill Steele, Chronicle Online (2011)
The construct that follows is this writer’s best attempt at defining why humans are predators with the potential to prey on others for reasons that seem to lack purpose and/or understanding. This writer presents Dark Psychology to you.
Dark Psychology Defined
Dark Psychology is the study of the human condition as it relates to the psychological nature of people to prey upon other people motivated by criminal and/or deviant drives that lack purpose and general assumptions of instinctual drives and social science theory. All of humanity has this potential to victimize other humans and living creatures. While many restrain or sublimate this tendency, some act upon these impulses.
Dark Psychology seeks to understand those thoughts, feelings, perceptions and subjective processing systems that lead to predatory behavior that is antithetical to contemporary understandings of human behavior. Dark Psychology assumes that criminal, deviant and abusive behaviors are purposive and have some rational, goal- oriented motivation 99.99% of the time. It is the remaining .01%, Dark Psychology parts from Adlerian theory and Teleology. Dark Psychology postulates there is a region within the human psyche that enables some people to commit atrocious acts without purpose. In this theory, it has been coined the Dark Singularity.
Dark Psychology posits that all humanity has a reservoir of malevolent intent towards others ranging from minimally obtrusive and fleeting thoughts to pure psychopathic deviant behaviors without any cohesive rationality. This is called the Dark Continuum. Mitigating factors acting as accelerants and/or attractants to approaching the Dark Singularity, and where a person’s heinous actions fall on the Dark Continuum, is what Dark Psychology calls Dark Factor. Brief introductions to these concepts are illustrated below. Dark Psychology is a concept this writer has grappled with for fifteen years. It has only recently been that he has finally conceptualized the definition, philosophy and psychology of this aspect of the human condition.
“Dark Psychology is not just the dark side of our moon, but dark side of all moons combined.”
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Dark Psychology encompasses all that makes us who we are in relationship to our dark side. All cultures, all faiths and all humanity have this proverbial cancer. From the moment we are born to the time of death, there is a side lurking within us all that some have called evil and others have defined as criminal, deviant, and pathological. Dark Psychology introduces a third philosophical construct that views these behaviors different from religious dogmas and contemporary social science theories.
“It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.“ Alfred Adler
Dark Psychology posits there are people who commit these same acts and do so not for power, money, sex, retribution or any other known purpose. They commit these horrid acts without a goal. Simplified, their ends do not justify their means. There are people who violate and injure others for the sake of doing so. Within all of us is this potential. The potential to harm others without cause, explanation, or purpose is the area this writer explores. Dark Psychology assumes this dark potential is incredibly complex and even more difficult to define.
Dark Psychology assumes we all have the potential for predator behaviors and this potential has access to our thoughts, feelings and perceptions. As you will read throughout this manuscript, we all have this potential, but only a few of us acts upon them. All of us have had thoughts and feelings, at one time or another, of wanting to behave in a brutal manner. We all have had thoughts of wanting to hurt others severely without mercy. If you are honest with yourself, you will have to agree you have had thoughts and feeling of wanting to commit heinous acts.
Given the fact, we consider ourselves a benevolent species; one would like to believe we think these thoughts and feelings would be non-existent. Unfortunately, we all have these thoughts, and luckily, never act upon them. Dark Psychology poses there are people who have these same thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, but act upon them in either premeditated or impulsive ways. The obvious difference is they act upon them while others simply have fleeting thoughts and feelings of doing so.
Dark Psychology posits that this predator style is purposive and has some rational, goal-oriented motivation. Religion, philosophy, psychology, and other dogmas have attempted cogently to define Dark Psychology. It is true most human behavior, related to evil actions, is purposive and goal oriented, but Dark Psychology assumes there is an area where purposive behavior and goal-oriented motivation becomes nebulous. There is a continuum of Dark Psychology victimization ranging from thoughts to pure psychopathic deviance without any apparent rationality or purpose. This continuum, Dark Continuum, helps to conceptualize the philosophy of Dark Psychology.
Dark Psychology addresses that part of the human psyche or universal human condition that allows for and may even impel predatory behavior. Some characteristics of this behavioral tendency are, in many cases, its lack of obvious rational motivation, its universality and its lack of predictability. Dark Psychology assumes this universal human condition is different or an extension of evolution. Let us look at some very basic tenets of evolution. First, consider we evolved from other animals and we presently are the paragon of all animal life. Our frontal lobe has allowed us to become the apex creature. Now let us assume that being apex creatures does not make us completely removed from our animal instincts and predatory nature.
“The greater the feeling of inferiority that has been experienced, the more powerful is the urge to conquest and the more violent the emotional agitation.” Alfred Adler
Assuming this is true if you subscribe to evolution, then you believe that all behavior relates to three primary instincts. Sex, aggression, and the instinctual drive to self-sustain are the three primary human drives. Evolution follows the tenets of survival of the fittest and replication of the species. We and all other life forms behave in a manner to procreate and survive. Aggression occurs for the purposes of marking our territory, protecting our territory and ultimately winning the right to procreate. It sounds rational, but it is no longer part of the human condition in the purest sense.
Our power of thought and perception has made us both the apex of species and the apex of practicing brutality. If you have ever watched a nature documentary, this writer is sure you cringe and feel sorrow for the antelope ripped to shreds by a pride of lions. Although brutal and unfortunate, the purpose for the violence fits the evolutionary model of self- preservation. The lions kill for food, which is required for survival. Male animals fight to the death, at times, for the rite of territory or the will to power. All these acts, violent and brutal, explain evolution.
“Defiant individuals will always persecute others yet will always consider themselves persecuted.” Alfred Adler
When animals hunt, they often stalk and kill the youngest, weakest, or females of the group. Although this reality sounds psychopathic, the reason for their chosen prey is to reduce their own probability for injury or death. All animal life acts and behaves in this manner. All their brutal, violent and bloody actions relate to the theory of evolution, natural selection and instinct for survival and reproduction. As you will learn after reading this manuscript, there are no Dark Psychology applications when it comes to the rest of life on our planet. We humans are the ones to possess what Dark Psychology attempts to explore.
Theories of evolution, natural selection and animal instincts, and their theoretical tenets, seem to dissolve when we look at the human condition. We are the only creatures on the face of the earth that preys on each other without the reason of procreation for the survival of the species. Humans are the only creatures that prey upon others for inexplicable motivations. Dark Psychology addresses that part of the human psyche or universal human condition that allows for and may even impel predatory behavior. Dark Psychology assumes there is something intrapsychic that influences our actions and is anti-evolutionary. We are the only species that will murder one another for reasons other than survival, food, territory or procreation.
Philosophers and ecclesiastical writers over the centuries have attempted to explain this phenomenon. We will delve into some of these historical interpretations of malicious human behavior. Only we humans can harm others with a complete lack of obvious rational motivation. Dark Psychology assumes there is a part of us because we are human, which fuels dark and vicious behaviors.
As you will read, this place or realm within all our beings is universal. There is no group of people walking the face of the earth now, before, or in the future who do not possess this dark side. Dark Psychology believes this facet of the human condition lacks reason and logical rationality. It is part of all of us and there is no known explanation.
Dark Psychology assumes this dark side is also unpredictable. Unpredictable in the understanding of who acts upon these dangerous impulses, and even more unpredictable of the lengths some will go with their sense of mercy completely negated. There are people who rape, murder, torture, and violate without cause or purpose. Dark Psychology speaks to these actions of acting as a predator seeking out human prey without clearly defined purposes. As humans, we are incredibly dangerous to ourselves and every other living creature. The reasons are many and Dark Psychology attempts to explore those dangerous elements.
It is this writers aim to examine the nature of Dark Psychology and to understand the origin and development of psychological phenomena motivating human beings to exhibit predatory behavior in the absence of any apparent rational motivator. This writer realizes his endeavor to succeed at this is next to impossible, but he hopes Dark Psychology will foster an interest in further exploration.
As mentioned above, there have been a plethora of philosophers, great thinkers, religious figures, and scientists who have attempted to conceptualize Dark Psychology in a cogent way. For this writer, Dark Psychology encapsulates all previous theories and explanations for human brutality.
It is this writer’s assertion that Dark Psychology exists universally throughout the human species and manifests itself as predatory behavior (inclinations) without apparent rational motivation. He suggests that examination of Dark Psychology and its evolutionary foundation is vital. He does not suggest Dark Psychology is part of our evolutionary heritage, but he does believe it is vital to investigate the evolutionary foundation of Dark Psychology.
To be exact, this writer means the basis or rudimentary constructs we all possess. Throughout this manuscript, you will read how redundant this writer is when it comes to reinforcing the basic tenets of Dark Psychology. He does this not only for the reader, but also for himself in order to remain focused on the core constructs. Remember, Dark Psychology is like a spider’s web attempting to capture all previous theories of human victimization and communicate them to others inspiring awareness and encouraging self-awareness.
The more readers can visualize Dark Psychology, the better prepared they become to reduce their chances of victimization by human predators. Before proceeding, it is important to have at least a minimal comprehension of Dark Psychology. As you proceed through future manuscripts expanding this construct, this writer will go into detail about the most important concepts. The following are six tenets necessary to fully grasp Dark Psychology as follows:
1. Dark Psychology is a universal part of the human condition. This construct has exerted influence throughout history. All cultures, societies and the people who reside in them maintain this facet of the human condition. The most benevolent people known have this realm of evil, but never act upon it and have lower rates of violent thoughts and feelings.
2. Dark Psychology is the study of the human condition as it relates to people’s thoughts, feelings, and perceptions related to this innate potential to prey upon others devoid of clear definable reasons. Given that all behavior is purposive, goal oriented, and conceptualized via modus operandi, Dark Psychology puts forth the notion that the nearer a person draws to the “black hole” of pristine evil, the less likely he/she has a purpose in motivations. Although this writer assumes pristine evil is never reached, since it is infinite, Dark Psychology assumes there are some who come close.
3. Because of its potential for misinterpretation as aberrant psychopathy, Dark Psychology may be overlooked in its latent form. History is replete with examples of this latent tendency to reveal itself as active, destructive behaviors. Modern psychiatry and psychology define the psychopath as a predator devoid of remorse for his actions. Dark Psychology posits there is a continuum of severity ranging from thoughts and feelings of violence to severe victimization and violence without a reasonable purpose or motivation.
4. On this continuum, the severity of the Dark Psychology is not deemed less or more heinous by the behavior of victimization but plots out a range of inhumanity. A simple illustration would be comparing Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer. Both were severe psychopaths and heinous in their actions. The difference is Dahmer committed his atrocious murders for his delusional need for companionship while Ted Bundy murdered, and sadistically inflicted pain out of sheer psychopathic evil. Both would be higher on the Dark Continuum, but one, Jeffrey Dahmer, can be better understood via his psychotic desperate need to be loved.
5. Dark Psychology assumes all people have a potential for violence. This potential is innate in all humans and various internal and external factors increase the probability for this potential to manifest into volatile behaviors. These behaviors are predatory in nature, and at times, can function without reason. Dark Psychology assumes the predator-prey dynamic becomes distorted by humans. Dark Psychology is solely a human phenomenon and shared by no other living creature. Violence and mayhem may exist in other living organisms, but humanity is the only species that has the potential to do so without purpose.
6. An understanding of the underlying causes and triggers of Dark Psychology would better enable society to recognize, diagnose and possibly reduce the dangers inherent in its influence. Learning the concepts of Dark Psychology serves a twofold beneficial function. First, by accepting we all have this potential for evil allows those with this knowledge to reduce the probability of it erupting. Secondly, grasping the tenets of Dark Psychology fits our original evolutionary purpose for struggling to survive.
This writer’s goal is to educate others by increasing their self-awareness, creating a paradigm shift of their reality for the better, and inspiring them to educate others to endeavor upon the path of learning to reduce the probability of falling victim to those possessed by the forces explored by Dark Psychology. If you have been a victim of the Dark Psychology guided predator, do not feel humiliated, because we all experience some form of victimization at one time or another in our lives.
We all have a dark side. It is part of the human condition but agreed not to be well understood. An unpleasant reality, Dark Psychology surrounds us waiting patiently to pounce. As this writer has previously mentioned, Dark Psychology encompasses all forms of cruel and violent behaviors. We need only look at the senseless cruelty to animals. Being a dedicated pet lover, animal abuse to this writer is both vicious and psychopathic. As recent studies have suggested, animal abuse correlates with a higher probability of committing violence against humanity.
On the milder side of the Dark Continuum is vandalism of others property or the increasing levels of violence in video games children and teens plead for during the holiday season. Vandalism and a child’s need to play violent video games are mild compared to overt violence but are explicit examples of this universal human feature this writer’s theory illustrates. Most of humanity denies and hides its presence, but still the elements of Dark Psychology quietly lurk beneath the surface in all of us.
It is universal and everywhere throughout society. Some religions define it as an actual entity they call Satan. Some cultures believe in the existence of demons as being the culprits causing malicious actions. The brightest of many cultures have defined Dark Psychology as a psychiatric condition spawned by genetic traits passed down from generation to generation.
This writer attempts to examine Dark Psychology’s origin and nature to understand how the average, well-socialized person can wind up in the news, having committed an atrocity no one could have predicted. At any point during the day and throughout the night, since the beginning of recorded history, atrocities inflicted by one human on another are infinitely occurring. Although macabre, it is amazing how apparently decent people could participate in or allow such horrors to occur.
Thousands of these atrocities are evident throughout history. The holocaust during World War II and ethnic cleansing presently occurring in neighboring countries are a few examples. History, with the remnants of what Dark Psychology has caused, abounds with examples. As described above, Dark Psychology is alive and well and requires a serious inspection. As you continue to explore the tenets and foundation of Dark Psychology, a cognitive framework of understanding will slowly develop.
The Dark Continuum is an essential element to comprehend in your passage through the dark side of humanity. The Dark Continuum is an imaginary conceptual line or concentric circles that all criminal, violent, deviant and sadistic behaviors fall. The Dark Continuum includes thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions experienced and/or committed by humans. The continuum ranges from mild to severe and from purposive to purposeless.
Obviously, physical manifestations of Dark Psychology fall to the right of the Dark Continuum and more severe. Psychological manifestations of Dark Psychology lie to the left of the continuum but can be equally as destructive as physical acts. The Dark Continuum is not a scale of severity, in terms of range from bad to worse, but defines typologies of victimization in the thoughts and actions involved. When this writer further expands his thesis of the Dark Continuum, you will have a conceptual illustrated line depicting all forms of Dark Psychology ranging from mild and purposive to severe and purposeless.
The Dark Factor is defined as the realm, place and potential that exist in all of us and is part of the human condition. This concept is one of the more abstract terms of Dark Psychology, because it is so hard to illustrate via written expression. According to an online dictionary, a factor is anything that contributes causally to a result i.e., a number of factors determined the outcome. This writer will attempt to extrapolate for you in a cogent manner how Dark Factor resembles an equation.
The Dark Factor is not a mathematical equation, but a theoretical one. The Dark Factor is a set of events that a person experiences, which increases their probability for engaging in predatory behavior. Although research has suggested that children who grow up in abusive households become abusers themselves, this does not mean all abused children grow to become violent offenders. This is merely only one facet of a multitude of experiences and circumstances that contribute to the Dark Factor.
The number of elements that are involved in the Dark Factor equation is large. It is not the quantity of elements causing Dark Factor to become extreme, but the impact those experiences have on a person’s subjective processing that makes the Dark Factor dangerous. Some of these facets include genetics, family dynamics, emotional intelligence, peer acceptance, subjective processing and developmental milestones and experiences.
The Dark Singularity is a theoretical concept similar to the definition of singularity at the center of a black hole. When this writer attempts to illustrate the concept of the Dark Singularity, he uses astronomy and cosmology as a metaphor to describe this concept. In astrophysics, the singularity is the absolute center of a black hole that is incredibly small, but dense in mass beyond mathematical comprehension. The theory suggests that the singularity is so dense and powerful, modern laws of physics and their mathematical equations become entangled.
A black hole is the huge expanse of space surrounding the singularity and so dense light cannot escape its grasp. At the center of all galaxies as well as ours, the Milky Way, is an all-powerful black hole with an infinitely small singularity at its center chock full of awesome energy. The Dark Singularity, as it applies to Dark Psychology, is the absolute center of the Dark Psychology universe. Simply put, the Dark Singularity is made of pristine evil & unadulterated pure malevolence. Farthest to the right of the Dark Continuum is the Dark Singularity. Also, part of the human condition is the Dark Singularity that no one ever reaches. The person who comes closest to the Dark Singularity is the advanced & severe psychopath who victimizes others with minimal motivation or purpose for his actions.
Because all behavior is purposive, the Dark Singularity is a theoretical destination never reached. The Dark Singularity is approached, but without arrival. The center of Dark Singularity is best explained as “Predators Who Prey Without Purpose.” The closer a person approaches the Dark Singularity, the more heinous and malevolent their behavior becomes. At the same time, their modus operandi becomes less purposeful. As stated, this is an abstract concept that this writer will outline in his later writings.
A psychological and philosophical tenet to comprehend when venturing to visualize cognitively, the Dark Singularity, is that all behavior is purposive. This writer was blessed to have completed his doctoral degree in the mid 1990’s at Adler University in Chicago, Illinois. What he learned in those four years of academic studies was the theories and philosophies of Alfred Adler. Alfred Adler was a turn of the century medical doctor and psychologist who was a contemporary of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and an incredible philosopher as well.
Through this writer’s studies, he grasped hold of many of Adler’s theories. To this day, this writer interprets his world as defined by Alfred Adler, this great medical doctor and psychologist. Adler had many theories of human behavior and this writer integrated many of them during his construction of Dark Psychology. The three most valuable concepts from Adler for developing the theory of are as follows.
Adler believed that all behavior was purposive. From the moment we are born to the day we die, everything we think, feel, and do has a purpose. Nothing we initiate during our life span occurs haphazardly. Although his philosophy may initially sound simplistic, it is quite complex. With this premise in mind, the reason people are benevolent is that it serves that person to be so because they reap the rewards of acceptance by their peers, loved ones and community.
Children taught to be kind, caring, and contributory have greater levels of feeling accepted and being part of a group. For Adler, feeling part of or a strong need for acceptance by others was the purpose for healthy functional behavior. Taking his theory of all behavior being purposive to the opposite end of the spectrum, malevolent behaviors serve a purpose as well.
Adler posited that people who behave in hostile or non-accepting ways were responding to a deep sense of inferiority. When people perceive they are not part of or not accepted by a social group, they move in negative directions. As they move further away from their innate purpose to be part of a social construct, the further away they move from treating others with kindness, respect and dignity. Under this tenet, Dark Psychology assumes that 99.99% of all behavior is purposive. Like Freud and Jung, Adler subscribed to the philosophy of Teleology.
Furthermore, as humans increasingly become discouraged, isolated and his social environment becomes increasingly fragmented, the more they lash out towards others in volatile ways. A prime example and quick illustration would be the narcissistic psychopath. The narcissistic psychopath is incredibly selfish, finds delight in victimizing others and purposely takes advantage of others without remorse. The concept of purposive behavior is paramount to the understanding of Dark Psychology.
As mentioned above, this writer strongly believes all human behavior is 99.99% purposive. The left over .01% is where he differs from Adler. This .01% is the Dark Singularity. Of all Adler’s theories, the assumption of all behavior as purposive is vital to understanding Dark Psychology but varies slightly in the severest form of malevolent human behavior(s).
The second theoretical tenet Adler defined central to Dark Psychology is the concept of subjective processing. We all have thoughts, feelings and actions, in which cognitions and affective states influence behavior. Conversely, a person’s behavior influences his cognitions and emotions. Defined as a system or what Adler called a constellation, the triad or trinity of human experience is comprised as an orbiting system of thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Adler added subjective processing to this system of human experience.
He believed that childhood experiences, birth order positioning, family dynamics, quality of social acceptance and the dynamics of inferiority vs. superiority worked in a manner to create a person’s perceptual experience and trajectory of interacting with his world.
The easiest way to understand subjective processing and the perceptual framework is by visualizing a pair of sunglasses. These shaded glasses filter light and protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Your eyes represent true reality and the sunglasses represent your filtering mechanism distorting the reality of the harsh sunlight. Hence, your “perceptual sunglasses “filter, distort and alter how you interpret information and respond accordingly.
This is how our subjective processing works but applied to the human condition. Reality exists and occurs every moment all around us. Subjective processing filters our reality to both protect and shield us from what we feel may be counter indicated to our purposive goals. If the human develops in an environment where he perceives being part of, belonging to, and accepted, his subjective processing filtering mechanism allows input that is much more accurate. A person socialized in what he perceives as a discouraging environment, their subjective processing becomes distorted and convoluted with selfishness and narcissism.
Regarding Dark Psychology, the goal is to assume that all people filter their world using subjective processing. Those people who are aggressive, violent or abusive are wearing a pair of proverbial sunglasses that are myopic and blurry. These people perceive others are out to harm them and move to assault or manipulate them first. Their subjective processing distorts their common decency, charitable acts and selflessness. Acts of kindness become foreign experiences or used to manipulate their social environment guided by a selfish modus operandi.
The third tenet valuable to understanding Dark Psychology is Adler’s theory of Social Interest. Social Interest, postulated by Adler, is the compilation of perceptions, thoughts, and feelings translated into benevolent behaviors. Simply put, the greater a person feels accepted by others, the more they feel part of, and the higher sense of belonging directly links to a person’s Social Interest. People with high Social Interest are inherently kind, selfless, giving and receptive. All these qualities of Social Interest further solidify their subjective processing to be positive and compassionate. High Social Interest equals low Dark Psychology impact.
Given that, we all have a Dark Factor within us; the person with high Social Interest keeps his Dark Factor subdued. The lower the Social Interest, the higher the probability the Dark Factor manifests. When a person feels discouraged, does not feel part of, does not experience a sense of acceptance and perceives his world as isolating, he is at a higher risk for exhibiting dysfunctional hostile reactions. Related to Alfred Adler & purposive behavior, subjective processing and Social Interest are central to understanding Dark Psychology.
Dark Psychology is a theoretical construct made up of a compilation of the philosophical tenets of Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, this writer’s clinical experience as a psychologist, his academic and professional experiences as a forensic/criminal psychologist, and the many discussions with loved ones and colleagues over the years regarding deviant behavior.
As mentioned earlier in this manuscript, this writer’s goal is to take fifteen years of thoughts and observations and translate them for others to investigate. The second goal, and most important, is this writer’s hope that others will read his work, investigate his postulations and use them to defeat those that walk-through life looking to harm, victimize and brutalize.
Others postulate an entirely different tenet that is not psychiatric but defined as a depletion of conscience. This writer does not spend much time going into clinical studies or academic explanations, given the massive quantities of work compiled by those studying deviant behavior. The approach is to cast a wide net to cover relevant theories that this writer feels are highly valuable to understanding Dark Psychology.
A portion of the information relevant to understanding Dark Psychology is an overview exploring child development, family dynamics and other factors that work to formalize Dark Psychology. Although there is no way to exactly define why and how some people turn to the dark side, there are areas for exploration that help to explain how the “laws of probability” exist in the development of the antisocial personality construct. Other areas discussed include psychiatric illness, personality disorders and alcohol/drug addiction as catalysts to deviant behavior. Psychiatric and alcohol/substance abuse do not explain violent behavior, but this writer concurs these disturbances contribute to the understanding of Dark Psychology.
Contemporary social sciences investigate the areas of psychopathy, narcissism and personality disorders. These profiles are very intriguing and fuel much of the interest in the field of forensic and criminal psychology. Based on this writer’s investigation, there seems to be an intricate combination of these three-character disordered constructs that create truly despotic people. Once this writer has presented Dark Psychology thoroughly, provided will be alternative explanations for violent behavior. Another element of Dark Psychology discussed will include rapists, pedophiles and sadistic sexual offenders.
In the concluding manuscripts to follow, this writer will move into the most important themes defining Dark Psychology. It is within these arenas this writer offers advice on how to insulate oneself from becoming a future target for the human predator. Once you have a grasp of Dark Psychology, you will then have the ability to assess other people’s actions as being potentially dangerous.
Employed in mental health for the last 25 years, working as a psychologist and forensic examiner for 10 years treating patients, evaluating court entangled defendants, and learning as much as he can as a forensic psychologist has given this writer the opportunity to offer those not involved in the pursuit of Dark Psychology, a set of tools for protection.
Remember, Dark Psychology includes all criminal and deviant behaviors committed upon other people. Although many people are intrigued by the discussion of the serial killer and psychopath, the vast majority of predators hunting human prey are not engaged in murder or sexual deviance. If this writer were to make an estimate, he would put the percentage of human predators at roughly 70% of the total pool of people who are out to victimize others, but who are not involved in murder or sexual deviance. 30% have been estimated to include criminal, deviant and violent offenders where physical contact is planned.
At the beginning of this introduction, this writer presented what he believes is a sound theory of the human predator. Dark Psychology assumes what lives within all of us is a potential reservoir of violent malicious energy. All humanity lies somewhere on the Dark Continuum with most being in the category of subtle, mild and with fleeting thoughts and minor shortfalls. The reality though is Dark Psychology is a universal phenomenon, and there is no dispute all of us, at times in our lives, have had at least thoughts of sheer violence and predatory fantasies.
The difference is most of humanity has never acted upon those thoughts. The reason is that we have a low Dark Factor equation compared to the predators. For them, their Dark Factor is elevated; influencing them to move in a direction towards what many define as evil and this writer defines as a trajectory accelerating towards the Dark Singularity.
Carl Jung and Alfred Adler’s theories were a powerful influence in this writer’s creation of Dark Psychology. He strongly adheres to Adler’s philosophy that behavior is purposive. The only slight philosophical divergence from Adler is this writer’s belief that all behavior is 99.99% purposive. He holds the remaining .01% as being within the realm of the black hole of the Dark Singularity. The black hole of the singularity is the area of evil that the predator comes close to, but never reaches.
The Dark Singularity is the potential in all of us to behave as a predator, hunting human prey completely and utterly devoid of purpose. This writer also strongly subscribes to Adler’s theory of subjective processing. Dark Psychology and the human predator have a highly distorted perceptual filtering mechanism. For them, it is no longer about being compassionate and kind. Their subjective processing colors all of their thoughts, emotions and perceptions with blackness and venom.
At some point in the development of the human predator, he/she actuates his thoughts and feelings and starts down the long road of what contemporary criminologist call psychopathy. Within time, their subjective processing filter becomes divorced from experiencing remorse. They come to perceive that the victimization of others is deserved by those who are too naive to protect themselves.
Given that a sizable portion of human development surrounds social acceptance, the predator somehow moves into the arena where his Dark Factor becomes an active force fueling an urge for the destruction of others. Once touched by the realm of psychopathy, he has entered the point of no return. Just as light cannot escape a black hole, the human predator cannot escape the path towards the Dark Singularity. Interviews conducted by forensic profilers and research scientists with convicted notorious psychopaths have proven the theory of accelerated movement towards the Dark Singularity.
Not only have psychopaths divulged a perception of experiencing a sense that their evil acts accelerate in frequency, but also their experience of acting as predator takes on an addictive quality. Using cosmology once again as a metaphor for Dark Psychology, the closer matter approaches a black hole, the faster mass accelerates and can never swing away from the black hole’s awesome gravity. Interviews with psychopaths almost exactly mimic this universal law of astrophysics.
As society moves further into what is defined as the Information Age filled with digital technology and cyberspace, Dark Psychology and its impact on humanity will be tested at greater rates. Given the veil of anonymity cyberspace offers all humanity, the question remains is if the nefarious aspects living within all of us will recognize there is a realm of free reign called the digital universe.
“Dark Psychology is the study of the chasm within us all, which only few enter, and even fewer ever exit. Without a natural predator to cause humans to rally, we prey upon one another.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a NYS licensed psychologist, cyberpsychology researcher and online safety educator. In 2009, Dr. Nuccitelli finalized his dark side of cyberspace concept called iPredator. Since 2010, he has advised those seeking information about cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cybercriminal minds, internet addiction and his Dark Psychology concept. By day Dr. Nuccitelli is a practicing psychologist, clinical supervisor and owner of MN Psychological Services, PLLC. After work and on the weekends, he volunteers helping online users who have been cyber-attacked. Dr. Nuccitelli’s is always available to interested parties and the media at no cost. This website and everything created by Dr. Nuccitelli is educational, free and public domain.