Wednesday, 18 April 2007

What is evil and why do we do it?

(Ed: Interesting, but I don't think he's quite got it right.)

[...] We want to believe that we are "good," moral, and self-aware. We want to believe that we're different from "bad" or "evil" people. Thinking so is essential to maintaining a sense of personal dignity and self worth. But the line between good and evil is permeable, like the cell walls of our body that allow movement of chemicals across their boundaries.

Anything that any human being has ever done - anything imaginable - is potentially doable by any of us in the same situation.

This is not to excuse immoral behaviour; the point is simply that understanding how someone could have engaged in wrongdoing, rather than dismissing it as a bad deed done by a bad person, allows us to identify corrosive social forces - the very same forces we need to counteract if we want to avoid going down the same wrong path. Read more

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