The psychological need for violent images – Part 2

This blog post follows on from the previous one titled, “The psychological need for violent images.”

In that it was proposed that humans have a natural inbuilt psychological mechanism that allows them to desensitise to offensive and distressing images. Humans will desensitise quite quickly to violent images. If one sees violence a few times then psychologically they cope by desensitising to it which means they can cope better in the future when they see such images. The evolutionary advantages of this are obvious.

On the other hand if one does not see any violent and distressing images then we will hypersensitise to violence. What was once banal and average becomes noticeable and distressing, that’s just the way the human psyche seems to work.

In recent times we have seen this image many times. When I watched this on the television news I was warned by the news presenters that I may find the following pictures distressing and offensive. As I mentioned before this image has no violence in it, not that I can see. It is not a distressing image by any stretch of the imagination.


Then someone explained it to me. They said that whilst the image does not have any violence in it the concept behind the image is violent and that makes it distressing and offensive. So now it made sense to me. We have just moved to a new higher level of our hypersensitization to violence. An image that has no violence in it can now be seen as a violent image if the concept behind it is violent.

What we humans then seem to do, is remove the new violent images slowly from our world. The news media has already embarked on this process. We are warned of offensive violent images that have no violence in them but have a violent concept behind them. What probably will now happen is these images will slowly become less shown in general public viewing and then we will move to the next level of our hypersensitization to violence. What that will be, one will have to wait and see. Perhaps only those images with a good story attached will now be shown and any image with a bad story attached will not be shown. We will know in a few years time.

I remember seeing this on the television news – too much then or too little now? One thing is for sure there is a very big difference.

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