Mindhunter and punching Nazis: A review

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Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit

The series, which follows two FBI agents, is loosely based on the true crime novel by John Douglas, Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit.

The book follows two FBI agents as they pave a new way of approaching Behavioral Science and interviewing some of the most notorious serial killers in the history of the United States.

Now, whether intended to or not, Mindhunter does bring up a core moral tension within the series and real life. We see many dialogues and scenes, hinting at or outright grappling with the issue of whether interviewing these criminals is a good idea. Many have suggested keeping them locked up far away from psychological reality and completely demonised.

This reflects a looming question over society; do we confront these darker aspects of our world and try to understand them or simply punch them, imprison them, and lock them away where no eyes will divert unless they have to?

Mindhunter seems to have a positive, yet cautious, approach to understanding these individuals. They do end up gleaning information that is incredibly helpful in tracking down more killers. In our everyday lives and with political tensions rising, the understanding, and sometimes even more compassionate approach, seems to work wonders in comparison to the idea that we should simply punch Nazi’s in a morally acceptable violent act.

On a smaller scale, the spirit of compassion and understanding is reflected in the astounding work of Daryl Davis, an African-American who has converted around two hundred ex-members out of the KKK (Klu Klux Klan).This is the closest mirror to the American version of Nazism you’ll find, simply by befriending them.

On a larger scale, in South Africa, there is possibly still much to be done to correct the wrongs of the past, with the country being nowhere near perfect. One can’t help but question what the South Africa of today would look like if Nelson Mandela had not approached building a new nation on the foundations of forgiveness and reconciliation?

As the famous psychoanalyst, Carl Jung, once said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

Dayna Remus
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