Cruelty is not a value typically believed to be in high esteem. Looking deeper, however, one would find that cruelty is often praised and admired. Cruelty is also a component in humor (#) which most value highly. Cruelty is the opposite of many values such as kindness (#), compassion (#), and sympathy (#) which most people value traditionally.
Cruelty is almost always thought of as a negative trait. Cruelty can be described as indifference toward pain or distress in others. Often cruelty can be gaining pleasure by or enjoying another’s pain. Many don’t realize, however, how much cruelty is valued in our society.
Think about your favorite television show. Cruelty is a vital component. The focus of most reality television, news broadcasts, and sports (such as the widely popular Mixed Martial Arts fighting) relies on cruelty as a vital component.
If it’s comedy you seek, cruelty is extremely prevalent. Most comedy is based in cruelty. Someone has to be the butt of the joke. In each joke there is an element of cruelty that is valued to make people laugh and feel better about themselves. Humor is a value most hold in high regard. Many don’t realize the cruel nature of many jokes. Jokes only become cruel to the listener when they become the target.
Cruelty is often admired in high ranking positions. The ability to lay off hundreds of hard working people whose families depend on their income without sympathy can move a person quickly higher ranking positions. Studies have been performed recently showing a striking comparison between stress responses of serial killers and CEOs. Presidents also make cruel decisions that are often admired. Deciding to drop a bomb on civilians is an act of cruelty. This is an instance, however, where cruelty is actually praised.
Cruelty is often valued in war situations. Being able to be cruel is vital to a soldier’s survival. Without cruelty war would not exist. Most feel that being patriotic and defending one's country is the ultimate sacrifice. In order to make this sacrifice, a soldier must engage in cruel behaviors.
Cruelty can be a way to gain acceptance. This can be illustrated in gang initiation or high school students belittling a weaker classmate. Gang members gain respect often through committing violent crimes. These crimes are considered cruel, however, for the gang member they are of particular value. By taking part in these crimes, the gang member gains respect. High school students often times ridicule fellow classmates. These acts of cruelty can make one student feel superior to another.
Cruelty plays a valuable role in most of our society. Although it is usually situational, cruelty is a value that cannot be forgotten. Being cruel in certain situations can improve one’s career, social status, and emotional state.