“YOU, AND EVERYTHING YOU HOLD DEAR — SUCKS!”
There. I just prompted an immediate and discordant reaction from you (or maybe not; if you know me (as if anyone could) you’d know I was toying with your emotions).
I could have said this instead:
“That’s nice dear. Maybe you’re just misunderstood.”
We all (even the troglodyte curmudgeons like me) crave some sort of social interaction. What if, because the skills to elicit heartfelt, genuine emotions are difficult to develop (or understand or realize), that, instead, people lash out, not because they want to hurt others, but because they crave interaction. And have worked out no other means of acquiring it.
Now, that’s pretty fucked up, I’ll admit. Beat a puppy until it screams is one way to get a response. But if one has never been taught (or is smart enough to understand) to pet the puppy instead, to get a response… beating it is quick and effective — response wise.
When no one responds, what happens? Nothing good.
Imagine hunting down and approaching an internet troll. You find them walking down the street in a city cram-packed with people. Everyone ignores him (yeah, he’s a he). He’s buffeted and brushed off. He’s wearing dark, rejection clothing. He hunches his shoulders and you can feel the aggression radiating off him like fuck-you-rays jutting out from his aura. Light dies as he walks by.
You work your way in front of him and stop. He nearly runs into you. He looks up with a deep scowl and you see his lip curl. Then you reach out and hand him a Twinkie.
“Here. This is for you. I love Twinkies. The creamy inside. Spongy cake. I don’t care what anybody says. I love Twinkies.”
He takes it automatically. We all would. He looks you in the eye and says “Fuck you! But thanks.” And then he diverts around you and walks off.
Your job is done. He won’t be trolling anyone today. But he will be jones’ing for another Twinkie. Interaction was all he really wanted. And a Twinkie.