WASHINGTON—According to a new study published Tuesday in The Journal Of American Psychology, a large majority of the U.S. populace devotes nearly all of their conscious lives to plotting revenge against those they believe have wronged them.
Conducted over a three-year period by observing individuals who have been aggrieved or taken advantage of in a wide range of ways—from being the victim of a breakup to having a DVD borrowed for much longer than initially anticipated—the study confirmed that, on average, one spends 14 hours per day trying to figure out how to “take sweet revenge” on countless friends, family members, celebrities, public figures, and utter strangers.
The researchers confirmed that the vast majority of people devise revenge plans while mentally referring to others as “rat bastards” who “should never have crossed [them].”
“Our data indicate that individuals devote most of their waking days to sitting silently with a demented expression on their faces and going through a laundry list of people who have hurt them and must be held accountable for their transgressions,” said lead researcher Dr. Carl Burke, adding that individuals will then typically go online and try to determine where their revenge victims work, what route they take home, and how many family members they have. “In fact, in a given hour, the typical person is plotting revenge against approximately 56 different people, all of whom, according to those planning their demise, will get exactly what’s coming to them.”
“In all cases, one will angrily whisper, ‘I will have my vengeance,’ at some point during the planning,” she added.
According to the study, even in moments where individuals appear to be focused on something else, such as eating or watching television, the vast majority of their thoughts remain focused on getting back at an ex-spouse, making a subway employee pay dearly for making them late to work, taking down an entire Fortune 500 company from the inside, or getting Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel fired for pulling Roy Hibbert in the fourth quarter of Game 1 against the Miami Heat.
Almost all individuals, the report noted, believe the actions they take in the pursuit of revenge are entirely rational, viewing themselves as agents of justice.
“I think what struck us is how elaborate some of the revenge plots actually are,” said Dr. Burke, adding that many individuals want to settle the score by orchestrating a complex scenario in which their adversary is not only humiliated, but is then laughed at by over 100 people including that person’s parents. “Many have fully formed plans to get into excellent physical shape, attend a class reunion—sometimes three or four years away—and make sure to rub their improved appearances in the faces of a very specific list of former classmates whom the individual researched and found out were no longer in good physical condition.”
“Other plans were more simple and just involved kicking someone or slitting a coworker’s throat at their desk,” he added.
According to the report, revenge is so prevalent that the first three thoughts that go through the human mind upon meeting another person are “Who is this person?” “How will he or she wrong me?” and “How will I get revenge?”
However, while revenge schemes number in the hundreds of billions and are often more intricate and better thought-out than one’s financial and professional future, researchers confirmed that the number of revenge plots actually carried out remains zero.
“One hundred percent of people end up sitting and brooding to themselves,” said University of Kansas sociologist Dr. Edwin Botnik. “They sit and seethe and think about how they have been wronged. And they realize that people, especially that motherfucker Dr. Carl Burke—if you can even fucking call him a doctor—somehow became the lead author on a study even though he knows damn well I did most of the work.”