by Philip Zimbardo, Creator of the landmark Stanford Prison Experiment.
Go to Rwanda. Live in a tent.
May all beings be happy.
Someone (Mike's wife) just referred me to this free netflix film (I havent watched it) http://movies.netflix.com/Movie/National-Geographic-Science-of-Evil...
Kate - thanks for this link. Just watched the film which confirms my experience as a juvy public defender - that each participant in the current blame-shame "justice" construct suffers her own humanity by being in a role which perpetuates the crime against our basic goodness - the one which blames others rather than being an accountable part of the whole. It does take each person who witnesses an injustice to sit with herself and feel the dysfunction, and then speak the truth to power. We have a long way to go with institutionalized dysfunction. I don't call it evil but rather simply dysfunction - we have come out of alignment with our basic goodness which is always there and never leaves us - but we must feel the dysfunction in order to work with it before it destroys our ability to feel and we go numb to that which we witness. To me, evil is just another construct - human is the name for the conflict, and resolution of the dysfunction the goal. To label separates when what we need to align is our break, our separation from our true nature. Thanks for this great discussion.
Excuse me for commenting without having read this book....It is hard to say that people actually turn evil. People become confused, lost, unhappy and distressed for a number of reasons. Some of us are or have been just plain ignorant or stupid in what we think, say and do. Others lack a wise mentor or a positive, healthy and happy upbringing.....Maybe some of us never learn how to be loving. Is it because of our mind/mental state or something deeper? The Dharma gives us something to learn, work to and build our life, energy, time and daily experiences around.....It gives many of us the option that we needed. I think that it has the potential to heal any who make a sincere effort to study and practice it....
It's been quite a while since I read it...
Good and evil are relative. How cruel does one have to be to qualify as "evil"? Some people can be quite cruel. Anyway, it doesn't matter, it sounds to me like you doing what really matters, which is looking inward. Now, if only some of these other folks could do that... a world without violence... that would be so nice. We'd all sit and meditate... listen to teachings and laugh...
Onegaishimasu, there is a Japanese proverb that states: "Even monkeys fall out of trees"''
Good and evil can be accidents, can't they?
With all respect,
I used to beat my girlfriend. I conned $5,000 out of some people. I stole CDs, books, and movies from my place of business. I left someone permanently paralyzed and in physical pain for the rest of his life. I tried to kill a friend of mine, literally. I slept with my fiancee's best-friend (in front of my fiancee, without her consent).
What I did, in each of those circumstances, was evil. I can give you excuses or explanations for my actions in each case; but my intention was selfish and self-centered and hateful, and the outcome of my actions was harmful and painful for those involved and others. Now, none of this means that I wasn't "confused, deluded, in pain or distressed" myself. None of that was a very good time in my life. But that doesn't mean I didn't do evil things and it doesn't excuse those evil things.
In fact, becoming willing to admit that I did wrongful, evil things was necessary for me to "recover" and "rehabilitate." I needed to see and know the harm that I had caused to others and I needed to see and know that the capacity to do what I did was a part of my nature as a human being. I had to know that I could do evil things, what circumstances (self-initiated or not) would lead to that, and the actions that I could or should do to prevent that happening.