Crime-Line – Adventures in the Pseudosciences – August 2010
OPUS – Criminal Behavior Anti-Thinking
OPUS – “Obsessive-Compulsive Postulation in Unconfirmed Subjectivism”, is anti-thinking for your personal subjective validation of issue for which you have strong feelings. Whatever your self-willed purposes, you make your own choices. Not unlike the criminal who gets caught in the miscalculations of their communal ruses, all of us decide between the personal gain and potential loss for the sake of self-gratification. Feelings are allowed to trump logic.
OPUS is based on the fundamental focus of your efforts to ensure that your conjecture is proved correct no matter what the evidence says. Regardless of the issue, whether abortion or immigration, your position is always the affirmative one. This is particularly persuasive if you, for religious reasons, decide to declare war on the U.S. and assume the mask of a “freedom fighter” against the evils of the great satanic empire. No doubt you will find sympathizers.
A particularly severe form of this personal proclivity is found in elected office and academia. Plus, you can’t leave out the vast infotainment network we often call the “news media”. And, another example might be demonstrations where you want to be affirmed so badly you’re willing to say or do anything including starting a riot or destroying public property to assert your pontifications. This is called Magnum OPUS. This is a really extreme case of OPUS, whereby you incite others, by their free will of course, to use your point of view as an excuse to exercise anti-social behaviors.
Take for another example, in the world of the private domain of the academician, especially the non-practitioner, how theory can be quickly exhibited as reality, even though proof is absent. Or, scientific validation is non-existent. Clever, huh? All too often this tendency not to be seen as incorrect in our world view translates into gross fallacies of inference. From there, the speculation gets even more exaggerated. Sometimes, we call these fallacies of inference, “urban legends”. To which we can invite such claims perpetrated by the proselytizers of astrology, purveyors of psychic detective work, UFO’s and a maze of government conspiracies to list a few of the many deceptions that abound in a modern society.
Applying “common sense” to interpersonal actions within a given communal context might be a stretch of the imagination. Because if “common sense” were so common, then everyone should have some, right? Well, there’s no guarantee of that, since so much non-sense passes as fact. On the contrary, maybe we should apply “uncommon sense” in a society that thrives on myth, magic and metaphor. When we are willing to accept things at face value, without question, particularly in the field of criminology, then anything is possible.
To distinguish between pseudoscience and hard science, one must expend personal energies in the pursuit of credible evidence by way of investigative methodology that safeguards valid deductive reasoning. However, to the contrary, so that you conserve your mental energies, many people take dangerous shortcuts. In other words, they guess a lot. And, once outside their special domain of knowledge, they become very inventive. Even those in high and mighty positions of elective office, there’s no safety in thinking they won’t say something stupid or mind your business instead of their own. Make no mistake; people will believe what they want to believe.
How often have your heard the phrase in a detective drama where somebody said the suspect had “motive, means and opportunity”? It’s kind of an OPUS thing. Some fiction writer put together a storytelling concept. But, for a fictional rendition, they don’t have to be technically accurate or tactically effective. In the movies they don’t have to prove their case in a real court of law, or present verifiable evidentiary criteria. Need we ask why? Because television, movies and stage plays are for entertainment, not education, or even for that matter “edutainment”. All they have to do is read the script and try to act with some capability. However, with OPUS in force, seeing is actually believing even if the visual realm is a false one based on facetious assumptions.
In the real world of criminology, or as some of us would point out, the world of the practitioner, intention is critical along with forensic evidence. Who, with malice aforethought and premeditation had the intent to commit the incident in question? Yet, the stopping point is not there. That’s only the beginning toward which the entirety criminality evolves around the criminal act, the criminal mind and the consequent criminality. Motive, means and opportunity invite circular questions around the mystical conceptions of “why”.
Why a person did a certain anti-social act does not assist in proving the case to a lawful degree of certainty. For the “criminal mind”, which is the human mind seduced by willful intentions, culpability and blamefulness depend upon the credibility of the totality of evidence. The same applies to any debate, argument or other investigative inquiry. What are the facts and how do we prove them beyond any doubt to be the truth? If you obsessively postulate the “why” question, then you can easily invite unconfirmed subjective excusableness into the equation. Upon doing that, you can quickly establish an alibi for the accused. From there, you will collude in the myriad excuses the criminal raises to ensure he or she won’t be held accountable or responsible for his or her actions. OPUS is an effective way of deluding criminal responsibility in favor of the criminal. As such, one does not have to think too critically about the hedonistic and egocentric tendencies of the criminal. Keep it simple with generic templates that fit everyone. We forget that, for all intents and purposes, the criminal freely chose his or her particular criminality for personal gain. Instead of moral blameworthiness, you can accept all kinds of mitigations as to “why” he or she tortured, maimed and murdered the victim.
From that perspective, anything is possible in terms of justification, like the usual deceptions about crime causation: rough childhood, poverty, absentee parents, overbearing parents, lack of social opportunity, peers, loss of job, poor grades in school, and so on. The inventiveness of the pretexts for rationalizations is endless.
What is it about the irrational point of view that seems nearly believable? Again, we want it to be that way. In so doing, here’s how we play out our explanations regarding the cause and effect in absolving ourselves of critical thinking:
1. quick and easy self-gratification 2. simple trouble-free explanations 3. feelings and emotions have meaning 4. constant need for validation 5. repetition signifies validity