No, they weren’t. I generally agree with your views on this topic.
Indeed, may peace and sanity prevails.
From: lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <lit-ideas-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> On Behalf
Of adriano paolo shaul gershom palma
Sent: 8. april 2019 11:46
Subject: [lit-ideas] Re: Anders Breivik and Social epidemiology
dear Mashood Sheik, I am unsure whether this is directed at my remarks.
For the sake of clarity I consider neither Wahabi religion, nor the movements
of Talibs to be composed by psychopath, and I suggest to avoid making our
disagreement in politcs a matter of medical intervention.
Best to you, may peace reign in pakistan and elsehwere
palma, a paolo shaul םֹשׁ ְרֵגּ
Er selbst bevorzugte undurchdringlich Klarheit
On Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 12:44 PM Mashhood Sheikh
This is an interesting discussion. I’ve seen some posts on the topic, and I
think this discussion is more related to political sociology, criminal
psychology, and discourses on extremist ideas than social/psychiatric
Having said that, I do not think that Anders Breivik’s actions could be blamed
on his psychopathology. Just like Talibaan’s actions cannot be blamed on their
(members) psychopathology. Both are terrorists and cold-blooded murderers! One
can argue and discuss the reasons behind their terrorism, but that doesn’t
change the fact that they are terrorists.
I have read Anders Breivik’s manifesto, and he killed young members of a
far-left party because he considered them traitors. He chose to kill the
(younger generation of) people who are responsible for immigration, as that
would be more productive than killing a bunch of immigrants (according to
Anders Breivik). Yes, such an extreme ideology is more likely to flourish in
certain personalities more than others, and yes, some people are more prone to
“indoctrination” than others, but that is not a justification for his actions.
Many other humans with exactly same personality traits as Anders Breivik are
amongst our friends and family members, and yet they will never commit the
crimes he committed. Understanding Anders Breivik is useful for preventing such
incidents, but to label everyone with similar personality traits as “mentally
sick” is simply counter-productive.
Regarding the connection between recent New Zealand shooter and Anders Breivik;
yes, like-minded people may discuss similar things, and can encourage each
other for certain acts, but that is simply because they are “like-minded”. New
Zealand shooter may have been encouraged by Anders Breivik’s actions, but this
is not a causal affect. The hatred in New Zealand shooter’s head was not filled
by Anders Breivik’s manifesto alone; many websites, discussion forums,
politicians’ speeches, etc., could have contributed.
I can understand the desire to believe that Talibaan or Anders Breivik are
simply “mental patients”, and if they were “cured”, so many lives could had
been saved; unfortunately, this desire is just wishful thinking. Either this,
or we are unwilling to accept that such extreme ideas can flourish anywhere,
even in a relatively egalitarian society like Norway. The work of famous social
psychologist Stanley Milgram has shown the power of “obedience”, and many
others have assessed this phenomena (and “indoctrination”) in varying settings.
Having my origins from Pakistan, I am well-aware of this phenomenon, and would
not hesitate to call a spade, a spade!
One interesting argument was the attempt to blame “islamists” for their
“warfare” that contributed towards Anders Breivik actions. In general: violence
begets violence, but we all have seen the terrorism by Anders Breivik and
Talibaan; if we are not affected, then Anders Breivik had a choice as well!
Importantly, what’s with the use of term “islamists”? shouldn’t it be Talibaan?
Or we should refer to Anders Breivik’s religion in this discussion? To me, they
are all fairy tales, but one should not generalize 1.8 billion people,
especially discussing Anders Breivik who was a member of only ca 5.1 million
Lastly, what exactly is a non-integrating immigrant? Please explain
Behalf Of Lawrence Helm
Sent: 6. april 2019 20:30
Subject: [lit-ideas] Anders Breivik and Social epidemiology
I belong to a forum on Pentax DSLR cameras and one of its members asked a
series of questions hoping to discover a membership profile. The largest
number are old and retired, for example. One of his questions asked what sort
of work Pentax photographers had done. It seems that a high-percentage are
retired engineers. A relatively new member said he is a retired Social
Never having heard of that specialty and knowing nothing more about it than his
title, I asked him if he worked on the Anders Breivik phenomenon. The
Moderator (whose forum name is the name of a shark) deleted my question and
some messages that followed it. Apparently my question resulted in an argument
which occurred after I had signed off and gone to sleep.
I invited the Social Epidemiologist to log onto Lit-Ideas for whatever happens
with this subject, but I don’t know if he will.
Subsequent to my asking my inflammatory question, I looked up “Psychiatric
Epidemiology” in Wikipedia. This specialty apparently explores “the mechanisms
behind how exposures to risk factors may impact psychological problem and
explore neuroanatomical substrate underlying psychiatric disorders.”
“As an example, in an attempt to measure the prevalence of mental illness in
the United States, Lee Robins<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Robins> and
Darrel A. Regier conducted a study called the Epidemiological Catchment Area
Project which surveyed samples of the general population at five sites across
America. In the study, it was found that about a third of all Americans suffer
from mental illness at some point in their lives. This statistic is often
referred to as lifetime prevalence.” [from Wikipedia]
Apparently specialists work from statistics, that is the identification and
quantification of causes underlying psychiatric problems, but they are not
permitted to introduce stressors that might cause a psychiatric disorder, but
that is what I find most interesting. Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young
Werther, for example, was a stressor in the rash of suicides that occurred
after the book’s publication in 1774.
And so, while I haven’t read anything that describes Anders Breivik’s exploits
as a symptom of a psychiatric epidemic, I did read of an Australian who killed
some people in Christchurch New Zealand. Journalists were attempting to see
Breivik as this fellow’s stressor: “Ranstorp told Swedish radio Friday that the
New Zealand shooter, who killed at least 49 people in two mosques in
Christchurch on Friday, claims to "have been in contact with Breivik's
But whether or not Brenton Tarrant contacted Breivik’s followers isn’t
necessary in order to speculate that Breivik may have been the stressor to
And then also, we might see a stressor, perhaps one that inspired Breivik in
the asymmetrical approach to warfare devised by the Islamists.
Does anyone have a better description of Social or psychiatric epidemiology?
Or a better explanation for the social pathology epitomized by Anders Breivik?