With eyes trapped open, he is flooded with disturbing images for long periods of time. The opposing political party raises ethical issues claiming Alex is being denied his God-given right to freewill and if he ceases to be a wrongdoer he also ceases to be a creature capable of moral choice.
Due to environmental influences Alex doesn’t know nor care about right and wrong and is oblivious to what is moral choice making. Without the benefit of normal talk therapy the lost youth becomes a symbolic pawn in a political game. Shortly after being declared, “cured” he attempts suicide.
An apologetic administration then introduces another form of operant conditioning extinguishing the violence-nausea paring returning him to his normal maladjusted stat
The Psychology of Antisocial Personality Disorder
A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess) is a story about Alex, a lost, lonely, disillusioned teen, who internalizes the violence of being ignored by his parents and society and retaliates by lashing out through random acts of ultra-violence.
Through years of invisibility, Alex's lashing out exhibits symptoms of antisocial personality disorder. His pattern of committing criminal acts such as robbery, rape and the infliction of great bodily harm on innocent victims as a form of entertainment with no feeling of guilt or remorse describes both psychopathic and sociopathic behavior
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?"
- Anthony Burgess, Writer
Alex’s contempt for authority continues from behind bars. An opportunity to gain early release triggers his need to manipulate the system. Alex uses his charms on prison authorities convincing them to accept him into a special experimental program under the guise of rehabilitation.
The political experiment involves behavioral modification using operant conditioning designed to change a response to a stimulus which in this case its extreme excitement when engaging in acts of ultra violence.
The experiment is deemed a cure for all of societal crime which will change the face of society forever. Unbeknownst to Alex, a chemical aversion tactic is used to insure its success.
A drug is injected which induces nausea when he is exposed to videos of ultra-violence.
Problem is the memories of his before and after states create an identify crisis for Alex. Questions of a person’s emotional state arise. Can Alex and any other delinquents of his age who suffer disillusionment that manifests in criminal behavior be blamed for their actions if they have no control? Are repeated eyewitness accounts of war and societal violence on TV a form of systematic desensitization to the consequences of crimes?
His trademark “evil eye” defines the ultra-violent persona he dawns when lashing out at the adult world he rejects. He uses the defense mechanism of denial to protect himself from depressive emotions associated associated with his low self-esteem. His evil persona gives him an elevated sense of importance fueled by acting out his criminal ambitions while degrading his own like minded gang of “droogs”.
Or are they products of absent parents, broken homes or are there genetic components at play?
If free will exists does the violence of repeated exposure trigger a divided mind where self-hatred emerges as a form of violence turned inward fueling the need to lash out against the world?
In the end all people have a free will, a chance to think about the consequences of their actions. Disillusioned teens need someone in their lives to teach them right and wrong. A healthy decision making process incorporating free will with contrasting examples enable the decision making process to occur.
With no healthy role models this sense of abandonment doesn’t leave any young person with many options when seeking a healthy identity. Rejection fuels further rejection leading to a cycle of violence against themselves and society.