Is there such a thing as a "Bad Seed?"

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  1. savvydating profile image88
    savvydatingposted 9 years ago

    Is there such a thing as a "Bad Seed?"

    This term was introduced by novelist William March in his fictional novel, The Bad Seed, written in 1954. It is based upon an 8-year old child sociopath. John Steinbeck also wrote a novel entitled East of Eden, centered around a character named Cathy, who murdered for gain without the slightest compunction. Both characters were highly manipulative, knowing how to create the persona of an individual who is kind, loving and selfless. Both novels seemed to indicate that these women were born bad, and would stay that way. What do you think?

  2. Renee Abbott profile image80
    Renee Abbottposted 9 years ago

    In the past, I would say I do not believe in the bad seed. I don't know anymore. Are people born this way? After meeting and becoming involved with 2 sociopaths, I am not sure. I know they don't have a consciousness. Is it something in their brain? I have so many questions on this now, and will look forward to reading others' opinions.

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Renee Abbott, Nice to hear from you. After having read a PDF about personality disorders, I believe this bad seed type would be categorized as anti-social, rather than the narcissistic label I tagged... and they have zero empathy. So strange.

    2. Renee Abbott profile image80
      Renee Abbottposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      It is strange, yet the best I can say is know those characteristics well. They are who they are, and they excell in manipulation. If intelligent people fall prey, trust me!

    3. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Renee Abbott, without question you are correct. It would be interesting to hear more about your personal story with sociopaths. I would be interested to read about them. By the way, I believe you are a very special person. I just wanted to say that.

    4. Renee Abbott profile image80
      Renee Abbottposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for the compliment, and I feel you are as well. The other, nay to painful, still working through it, but i am healing. thank you Savvy:)

  3. rose-the planner profile image67
    rose-the plannerposted 9 years ago

    You know, many people would argue and say that all babies are born innocent and are ultimately products of their environment.  I will admit that in many cases this is true, however, I do believe that some people are born "bad seeds".  I don't know if it is some kind of chemical imbalance or what, but this is my belief.  Why do I believe that some are born wicked?  Well, I have known of individuals that have always been compelled to be rotten to the core, (not like the evil depicted in the novel, of course, just mean spirited), yet they come from seemingly normal, loving families.  It's a mystery to me!  So, yes, I do believe that their are "bad seeds". On the other hand, I feel inclined to say that if it is some type of chemical imbalance that was never diagnosed, then I believe they can perhaps be helped with medication and/or therapy.  Another great question......take care!  -Rose

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Rose-the-planner, always a pleasure to hear from you. After having read a bit about Ted Bundy, I tend to think he could not be helped at all. Thus, I currently feel those with anti-social personality disorder may be born that way. But, I'm no doctor.

    2. rose-the planner profile image67
      rose-the plannerposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      You're probably right.  -Rose

  4. kaiyan717 profile image83
    kaiyan717posted 9 years ago

    I believe so.  Some people can have great childhoods and just aren't right.  They don't care who they hurt and have no compuncture about what they do.  Little sociopaths grow up to be grown up sociopaths, they don't change.  I hate when murderers blame their childhoods, many kids have horrible childhoods and do not turn out bad.  So I would have to think, bad seeds are born, not made.

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hello kaiyan717. I have to agree. By the way, the interesting thing about Ted Bundy (one example of many) was that he did not blame his childhood. Nevertheless, in watching an interview with him, I believe he remained a manipulator to the very end.

  5. Lisa HW profile image62
    Lisa HWposted 9 years ago

    It's not, I don't think, what anyone (including me) thinks.  It's what science knows.

    A 1954 novelist is not a 2013 scientist.  Scientists now understand even more about the importance, and significance, of the nurturing process that takes place in the first three years of life; and especially in the kind of nurturing that takes place in the first two years, in which the process of attachment (versus inadequate/flawed attachment) takes place.

    Not only are different parts of the brain developing in those first three years of life, but in the first two years of life the attachment process has to take place.  In fact, it is known that the process of attachment doesn't just impact the child, but also impacts changes in the mother.  It is said (see video below) that "genes don't stop at birth", and in the first year of the child's life "programming" related to genes is "going on".

    Although I haven't looked more into this particular thing, I know of at least one case in which a man believed to be a sociopath had a brain scan that revealed lack of normal development of the part of the brain associated with conscience.  It was a murder case, and there was the question of whether higher levels of testosterone when his mother was expecting him (and got in a car accident) may have played a role.  Even if that were the case, though, that would have amounted to something beyond "bad seed" (and at the time, there was no conclusion and a lot of argument against that defense theory).

    Scientists (at least the well respected ones) make it clear that regardless of any "leanings" someone's genetic make-up may involve, genes, alone, don't determine who/what anyone becomes.  Anyone who believes there's such a thing as "a bad seed" could learn more about brain development, the attachment process, and things that harm the attachment/development process; as well as learning more about the kinds of things that seriously damage children in general.

    This article points out that genes, alone, aren't enough. … ury-trauma

    More importantly, this is a great video that points out how "genes don't stop at birth":

  6. Faith Centre Int profile image60
    Faith Centre Intposted 9 years ago

    We label people to suite society these days and its a very rational way thats been taught to deal with issues, before a murderer is formed they are surely possessed with an evil spirit and if the person is wiser they would go for deliverance or some counseling to deal with the demons vexing their lives, a low self esteem is sin, we cant even blame that on God or our bringing up, we have to decide to see ourselves the way God sees us and apply faith to overcome our circumstances, theres so much we can put into this topic...Basically theres no one who could be regarded as a mistake or wasted seed...

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Faith Centre, History abounds re: individuals whose lives have been changed by God. However, the word bad is different from the words mistake or wasted. In this context the bad question refers to pre-birth.

  7. quildon profile image79
    quildonposted 9 years ago

    This is a difficult question. On the one hand scientists have found that children who suffer from conduct disorder, antisocial disorder (I don't think it's narcissistic) have different brain cells from other "normal" children. However, even these scientists point out that these children can be helped with therapy and medication. But what happens to the child who never gets help? Will they turn out to be a Ted Bundy or a Charles Manson? I know someone who is getting the best of help yet he occasionally does bad things and shows no remorse afterward. Is he a bad seed? Maybe. However, I think a bad seed is a person who can control his actions, but chooses not to.

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Hi quildon. I agree that this is a case of anti-social disorder. I mentioned this to Rose-the-planner. You bring up an important point about the brain cells being different, and this makes sense. By chance, do you know of a respected site I can view?

    2. Gail Meyers profile image68
      Gail Meyersposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      By "different brain cells" do you differences in the neurotransmitters functioning between the cells like in ADHD?  The Malignant Narcissist is a good hub re malignant narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

    3. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      I'll look for the hub you mentioned, Gail Meyers. Thank you.

  8. Gail Meyers profile image68
    Gail Meyersposted 9 years ago

    I am not familiar enough with either of those novels to know for certain whether they are just products of someone's imagination or if either one had any basis in the reality of an actual person.  Novels are just that, stories.

    I think each one of us have free will.  I think there can obviously be environmental factors, but it is the person who determines how they will handle the cards they are dealt.  You see some people who had what most would consider great childhoods with loving parents who end up choosing a bad path.  Then you see children who had horrible childhoods who end up being good people.  Then there is everything in between those two extremes.

    It seems to me that someone such as a malignant narcissist makes many free will choices along the way before arriving at such a mental and spiritual state of being.  So I do not believe such a person is born that way.

    1. savvydating profile image88
      savvydatingposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you, Gail Meyers. I appreciate hearing different perspectives. I am beginning to wonder, however, if some of these "bad seeds" have a brain glitch. I still haven't looked this up in the NEJM, but I will.


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