“Hell is other people” once said the famous existentialist philosopher and misanthrope, Jean-Paul Sartre.
Many times we have heard phrases like “The more I know people, the more I love my dog”, but have you ever stopped to think, why do some people say this?
In fact, in recent years, there has been an exponential growth of movements with noble causes that defend the environment and animals in society.
However, also among these are mixed dangerous movements that describe humanity as the “cancer” of the world, which invites one to wonder if it is not mere misanthropy.
We invite you to learn a little more about this topic, in the following article.
What is a misanthrope?
Misanthropy is hatred, aversion, mistrust, or contempt for the human species, human behavior, or human nature.
So a misanthrope is someone who dislikes and distrusts people and it may be that even though he opens up to some people and forms relationships, he still isn’t entirely comfortable with people in general.
Misanthrope comes from the Greek misos: hate and anthropos: man. However, it should not be confused with sociopathy.
Therefore, we can say that a misanthrope is a person who dislikes or distrusts humanity as a general rule.
Characteristics of a misanthrope
Although misanthropes express a disgust for humanity in general, they tend to have normal relationships with other people, so it should not be confused with a psychopathy such as sociopathy.
Misanthropy can be motivated by social isolation or alienation, negative experiences, or simply disregard for the prevailing characteristics of humanity.
Misanthropy is commonly misinterpreted as a generalized and individualized hatred of humans, and therefore many associate it with psychopathy.
Misanthropes can have normal, intimate relationships with other people, but often there will be very few of them.
In general, they tend to be very selective with whom they choose to associate, since they have an absolute contempt for the common human foibles in others and, sometimes, in themselves.
In this sense, there are several characteristics that misanthropes share that we will analyze below.
feel superior to the rest
Misanthropes often think they are better than most of the people around them.
They consider themselves more intelligent and even more sensitive than other people. They tend to think that they are morally superior to other people and that the world would be a better place if there were more people like them.
enjoy the solitude
Misanthropes are introverts by nature. While it’s true that not all people who prefer to spend time alone and are introverts are misanthropes, this is one of the signs to watch out for.
If you’d rather stay home and read a book or do something else alone than go to a party or participate in any other social activity, you may be a misanthrope.
belittles the rules
Since misanthropes do not tolerate other people, they also do not tolerate the rules and regulations created and imposed by other people. Misanthropes have a strong sense of freedom about themselves.
It is difficult for a misanthrope to accept orders from a boss, a parent, a peer, or even the government of the day. Although misanthropes despise and loathe rules, they don’t usually break them.
A study published in the American Psychological Association, associated misanthropy with Machiavellian behavior that raises the ethical dilemma that “the end justifies the means.”
On the other hand, a study published in Frontiers in Psychology analyzed the dimensionality of the Machiavellian construct, based on cynicism and misanthropy, and specified that both are related.
Has its own belief system and values
Misanthropes have their own ideas about the world, as they have their own belief system and values.
This, in large part, is due to the fact that they believe that they are morally superior to others and that is why they abide by their own rules, based on how they see the world.
Enjoy causing pain in others
It’s no coincidence that misanthropic people enjoy horror movies. Misanthropes like violence since from the “moral” perspective of these people there is no reason not to do it.
He is indolent before the misfortunes of others
Misanthropes are unsympathetic, which means they instinctively dislike other people.
This translates into two things, on the one hand they have no desire to get along with other humans or even meet or interact with them. And on the other hand, they also have difficulty functioning in the social sphere.
This makes misanthropes avoid parties and places full of people like a mall, or classes full of people.
Express your emotions alone
As we have previously mentioned, misanthropes are introverts by nature.
One thing to note about introverts in general is that there’s a good reason introverts feel overwhelmed when they’re around people, and it has to do with a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
Dopamine allows us to notice rewards, giving us energy to move towards them.
However, socializing is energy-consuming and exhausting, especially for extroverts who have a more active dopamine reward system, according to DeYoung in his studies of the dopamine response in introverts.
This explains not only why introverts prefer to spend time alone, but especially why they prefer to express their emotions alone.
We could say that the term “humanity” exceeds individuals, since it encompasses the idea of something that extends in time, of a legacy and of history.
For this reason, in the political sphere, the misanthrope expresses a generic rejection, since he lacks two fundamental aspects for himself: The notion of himself (individualism) and the notion of the rules imposed by a state or boss on duty that they may not align with your personal interests.
Hate drama and incompetence
One of the most common reasons misanthropes avoid other people is because they hate drama or getting involved in other people’s conflicts that are nothing more than a waste of time for them.
Misanthropes are quite Machiavellian by nature, and as such, they understand that most problems could easily be avoided, so they avoid getting involved in them, especially gossip and rumors.
Does not like social gatherings
For the same reasons that they avoid drama, they also avoid social gatherings.
Especially if they are meetings with many guests, such as parties, an outing to a bar or a nightclub or mall. They do not distinguish between a bar and a bad, but all the inhabitants as a whole.
feel attached to animals
Do you remember the famous saying “The more I know about men, the more I love my dog”? This famous phrase is from none other than the famous British poet and writer, Lord Byron, whom many scholars suspect may have been a misanthrope.
Do you like real or imagined violence?
Misanthropes aren’t known for their love of romantic movies and happy endings…they enjoy violence both real and imagined.
From practicing violent sports like Muay Thai, to playing bloody and violent video games and imagining violent situations.
Recent research by Dr. Nathan DeWall, a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Kentucky, has focused on the psychology of violence.
Conventionally, it is understood that violence is often driven by negative emotions, such as anger or fear. For example, a person may become aggressive because she got mad at another person or out of fear of being hurt.
However, it has been found that positive emotions actually play a huge role in aggressive behavior as well.
In this sense, it was concluded that aggression can also feel good and can be associated with something called “hedonic reward”, a powerful motivating force.
In other words, aggressive behavior can be reinforced by negative feelings such as anger and fear as well as positive feelings of power and dominance.
Causes of misanthropy
There are many reasons why a person can become misanthropic. It is important to emphasize that this is not a neural condition, nor a disease nor a psychological condition. Rather, the scientific literature suggests that it is a life decision.
However, there are few studies that show correlations between misanthropy and psychopathy or sociopathy. In fact, they are few and small, so there is still a lack of research to know for sure.
In the same way, some of the reasons why misanthropes exist are known, and below, we will tell you about some of them.
Abuse and mistreatment
Although there is no cause that still explains why a person can adopt misanthropic ideas, the causes that can lead each person to develop this position are quite different from each other.
Some misanthropes were abused or mistreated when they were young or in early childhood, when a person forms a large part of their personality and world view. This explains why they can develop hatred and mistrust towards others.
Although it sounds irrational, from a psychological point of view, this is due to a pure survival mechanism. For example, Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Nazi Germany, was a renowned misanthrope who suffered multiple abuses as a child and was a mistreated child.
Some misanthropes who were abused or ostracized as children or suffered bullying learn to hate others, again, as a subconscious method of protection.
This makes them extremely sensitive, and they interpret every action as if it were against them, they feel sorry for themselves. So it is normal that many of them are always on the defensive.
Tired of dealing with others
Another very common cause is that the person has tired of dealing with other people. This is because these people are often abused and used to obtain favors in return.
This can cause the person to generate an aversion towards others, thinking that they only want them to get something in return.
This explains why it occurs so often among people who are highly intelligent and capable, wealthy or famous, rational or talented, and with introvert tendencies.
Strong political or religious convictions
People with very strong convictions in political or religious doctrines can also come to develop contempt for those who do not share their views on the world.
This explains why there are dangerous sects or terrorist associations of religious extremists that attempt the lives of hundreds of people and generate mass murders.
Especially in the realm of politics and religion, it is common for there to be misanthropic people in such extremist movements.
This explains why leaders of the extreme right like Hitler, and of the extreme left like Stalin or Lenin have hated humanity so much to the point of causing millions of deaths.