‘Sadism’ is a shadowy, glamor filled word in linguafranca. The word cannot escape engagement because it stands unavoidable where a peculiar behaviour attitude of human beings is involved.
Sadism refers to a tendency to derive pleasure, including sexual gratification, by inflicting pain, suffering, or humiliation to others or on the self. ‘Masochism’ is another word that means inflicting pain on self and then the self enjoying pleasure out of inflicting the pain on the self. Sadism or masochism, it is deliberate action meant for inflicting pain and then for deriving pleasure out of the cruelty. Sadism is a common phenomenon which is observable in interferences and interactions of some persons among the society.
Indo-Pakistan enmity is a persistent, unresolved issue ever since the sub-continent was divided and the State of Pakistan was created. Some time back, two Indian army men were captured by Pakistan army and beheaded them. Then the mutilated bodies without their heads were handed over to the Indian army. The event was celebrated by the Pak army while for the people of India and especially for the Indian army it was one of the saddest events which inflicted pain to the conscience of the Nation as a whole. Inflict pain and derive pleasure out of the cruelty is the worst form of enmity!
Willful act aimed at deriving pleasure by causing pain to others is an ingrained human trait. Take the case of festivals: Among all advanced human societies, festivals are a source of pleasure. Festivals in some way or the other also include cruel acts of inflicting pain and distress to others whether humans or animals. For example, sacrifice of animals still continues to be a part of celebrations of temple festivals of some religious communities in India. There is therefore nothing unethical to conclude that even in festivals element of sadism is common. Similar is the case of individuals who enjoy pleasure seeing their opponents being humiliated or beaten up by rivals.
Journalistic sadism is another matter of interest in the context: Journalism has a wider spectrum of joy for some section of the readers. Journalists who are specialists in the profession, process events with distorted reflection of facts in a way meant to cause pain to some section of readers for the sake of entertainment for others.
Fundamental principle of democracy is to elect a political party with majority to rule the State. Political parties with different views and ideologies contest the elections. During the course of electioneering, for defeating their rivals, the contestants turn to painful tantrums to defeat the opponents and to capture the seat. When elected, the trouble makers rejoice the win with pleasure while the defeated undergo pains of disappointment. Does not the scenario present the gloom of sadism!
The well known Swiss psychologist C G Jung (1875-1961) once said that sadism is a symptom of ill health. “The healthy man does not torture others; generally it is the tortured that turn into torturers.” Jung’s statement tallies with the latest findings that sadism is a symptom of ill-health; sadism is a neurological disorder. Sadism continues to be part and parcel of human nature with varying intensities.
Inflicting pain to the partner or to the self during sex-act and thereby to enjoy pleasure in the process is another dark shade of Sadism. The sadistic behaviour is not confined to men alone, but there are women sadists as well. Not only are those, according to some studies, there are animals like gorillas and monkeys which behave like sadists. Although sex-sadism is prevalent in every part of the world, there are no available statistical data to pinpoint the exact number of sadists across the globe and the share of the countries which contribute to the global figure. The reason for the state of affairs is the reluctance on the part of sadists and their victims to report the cases for fear of shame and consequential punishment for the offenses that they commit.
Sadism was recognized as psychiatric disorder by medical profession, long ago. According to psychiatry, sadism is a personality disorder: Biological and environal factors mainly contribute to the disorder. Genetic factors do not play any role in sadistic behaviour. There is a general perception that sadistic personality disorder is more among males as compared to females. Such a perception is basically wrong because female sadists seldom dare to reveal their act.
It is observed that sadism, the sexual or the other, has family based tracts even though it does not confirm hereditary traits: People afflicted by the disorder are often found to have relatives with psychopathic problems.
Major contributing factor for sadism and or masochism is unfavorable experiences during childhood and early period of sexual development. The disorder develops through the process of conditioning by the influence of situations that exist within the reach of sensory experiences of individuals during the period of childhood and sexual development stages.
Sadistic behaviour may be separated into two categories. One of the types represents intentional, calculated nefarious actions aimed at torturing the victim. The motivation for this type of sadism might be aim for extracting what the individual sadist wants to extract from the victim: The intention behind the action may be for dowry in marriages, money and wealth and escapism from wedlock for married couples. The second category is of genuine postulations where psychosomatic reasons are involved:
There are individuals whose central nervous system might be incapacitated to respond to internal and or external stimulations coming from various environs for what is meant for ethical behaviour. In the ensuing confusion, the individual concerned becomes irrational: She or he then becomes the beholder of sadism and sadistic behaviour.
The first category belonging to imitation sadism can be brought back to normalcy with proper treatment at the hands of law enforcement agencies and the police. The second category needs consistent medical and psychiatric treatments to retract the inflicted one to normal behaviour path. Implicit or explicit, imbibed or inbuilt, sadism remains one among several other behaviour disorders designed to desiccate humanity.