Of course, our modern day version has to include a gun. Holden with a gun where instead of holing up in a hotel room with a prostitute, he holes up in his BMW with his laptop and plans mass carnage because he can’t get a girl.
An expert I saw on one of the many news channels analyzing this mentioned something about young men and testosterone; the idea that our behavior is driven by our physiology, by our biology, and as much as we may want to completely dissociate ourselves from the fact that we are animals, that we share our DNA, about 90% of it, with our closest primate ancestor, the chimpanzee, I attest that as long as we continue this strange disconnect between our biology and our behavior, as a species, we will never be able to find resolution for our natural violent tendencies.
What if we are just stuck in this condition because of the state of our evolution? What if we fully acknowledge that we are animals, our behavior is driven by many things, including our physiology; that our culture which is based on narcissism, feeds on and into our more ancestral “primitive” behaviors, even encouraging these primitive behavior in order to fuel our economic system which is capitalism—and we now have a new form of capitalism, namely predatory capitalism, that thrives on unbridled/unchecked cultural narcissism and greed? What would happen if we put this all together and acknowledged it as the truth? That our culture rewards and even promotes our most primitive human behaviors (because it does).
I cannot posit on this young man, obviously a psychopath in the making, except that the extreme version of a narcissist is a psychopath. What could counter a psychopath’s desire to carry out his plot? Nothing. Nothing when our culture is also primitive—and in near perfect alignment with primitive human biology. Aptly, when I got online to write this, I had to first observe a Yahoo ad of a white male, dressed in black, of course, pointing a gun at me (an ad Yahoo made money off of—and is now forcing me to look at as the “price” I have to pay for free email service—an ad testifying to our now fully institutionalized culture of gun violence that also drives my country’s economic system).
So let’s do the math: what do you get when you take a species that THINKS it is intelligent and evolved but it is not; it is still driven by primitive biological behaviors + a culture that is equally if not more primitive. Tie this to its economic system that promotes and rewards greed and narcissism=more of the same. More of the same. More of the same.
Our only hope as a species is if our culture, including our economic system which is profoundly based on greed and narcissism, counteracts our primitive biology.
Based on this, it is any wonder I question if Elliot Rodger does in fact symbolize the 21st century version of Holden Caulfield? Will there be more? Yes, until we acknowledge and manage ourselves as the biological animals we are.