Authorities have been trying unsuccessfully to come up with a motive to explain the massacre carried out by a lone gunman in Las Vegas this week. The killer didn’t appear to be motivated by political, social, or religious views.
The principles of depth psychology reveal a possible motive. This motive, however, would have been unconscious to the killer. He wouldn’t have had any notion of it.
To discover this motive, an analysis of the killer’s psyche is required. Information is needed about his everyday personality, quirks, traits, and behaviors. Some of that information can be found in a report in The New York Times, titled “Stephen Paddock Chased Gambling’s Payouts and Perks,” published four days after the massacre.
For the purposes of psychological analysis, the newspaper’s profile of the 64-year-old killer, Stephen Paddock, is sketchy and incomplete. But the article does provide enough clues for me to make an analysis.
Paddock’s primary motivation, unbeknownst to himself, was to shift or displace his self-hatred, a result of intensifying inner conflict, onto others. Paddock’s evil aggression was facilitated by an accumulation of self-aggression that had built up in his psyche. He was likely being assailed with pure self-rejection and self-hatred that emanated from his inner critic or superego. In his psyche, he was unable to protect himself from this onslaught because of his own passive nature.
This passivity in his psyche, a psychological disconnect from his better self, accounted in large part for why he became an unevolved, degraded person, in the form of a compulsive gambler who spent many hours at a time, over many years, planted in front of a video poker machine in a cold, calculating, almost trance-like state. [Read more…]