Why do humans desire control?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been watching Mindhunter and been absolutely fascinated by the interviews that the FBI had with serial killers in the 1970’s. It’s interesting to find out what their thoughts were before committing the horrific acts that they did. 

I was sitting down at dinner with Arianne and we started having a chat about it, why did people do these things? Why did they get sexual pleasure? What makes someone like this? What was so interesting was that we seemed to boil it down to the human desire to control. 

Control seems to be such an ever-wanting human desire yet so unattainable. It begs the question, does our consciousness open this idea to us? It’s not like animals try to control their environment in the same way… 

Of course I had to look at the dictionary meaning of control which as a verb means: to order, limit, or rule something or someone's actions or behaviour. The noun means: the act of controlling someone or something or the power to do this. 

I know at times when I’m trying to gain control of something, especially in the work context, it can feel like you’re moving against the grain or things aren’t working and I’ve often looked out, externally and blamed the environment for my inability to feel a level of control. What I’ve realised is that there is absolutely NO control and it’s all a complete illusion. The only thing I have any control over is myself. My own actions, my reactions, the way I conduct myself, how I choose to feel, how to choose to engage with other people. That is literally the only thing I can control, me. 

So, then why do people feel that taking another human life gives them this sense of control?  Could it be in fact that they are completely out-of-control, which is ironic and juxtaposing of their intention. It got me thinking about social controls and social norms, the way we are raised in our society and the way we choose to conform or not. In the same vein it got me thinking about social norms and controls that are now out-dated, like patriarchal views or views about gender, sexuality that are limited by black and white thinking. Are these changes so challenging for societies because they challenge the social controls we once held dear? 

Is the root cause of the desire for control fear? Fear and love seem to be the basis for pretty much most human behaviours, choices, feelings, well this is what I’m finding anyway.


My meanderings


T.R.R xx

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