Big Rowan Ackison (greensh) wrote,
Big Rowan Ackison
greensh

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Stupid People and Evil

Two events have come together to cause me to ponder. The first was a Dutch originating NPR radio show on the placement of a plaque for Dutch survivors of German WWII concentration camp. I can't seem to find a web link for it at this time. One of the survivors was asked what she felt towards the German people. Her response (paraphrasing) was "how could they be so stupid to follow their leaders?" Sometimes I feel this way in these modern times. I look at rational, intelligent human beings, and wonder why the heck they follow whom they do, and do the things they do. I was at a point of tears listening to the NPR show.

I was near weeping in retrospection of the evil of man. I know... in other blogs I decry the existence of something called Evil. I am revamping the word here, lowering it to a lower case state, to reflect human-on-human evil. In his book, "People of the Lie", Dr. Peck's definition of evil is the use of power to destroy the spiritual growth of another. Peck further defines evil as “that force residing either inside or outside of human beings that seeks to kill life and liveliness".

I believe that the recognition of evil springs from it's contrasting behavior with other human expressions. There are times when life is ended in order for transformations to occur. The outcome is the differentiation between the evil destruction of life and the transformative destruction of life. Outcome springs from intention. Thus, there is room to say that there are human intentions that are inherently evil, by Peck's definition. The outcome of the Holocaust cannot be seen as transformative. The intentions of the Holocaust are not defendable as good. IMO, there is a natural conclusion that the Holocaust was an evil thing.

So, I've been left in a place that had me doubting the sanity of the world (again). I could not come up with a good "why" for the stupidity of people. Again, this stupidity is not a thing of the past. There are people in my own society that would burn my shamanic loving butt at the stake if they could get away with it. It would be for my own good... to save my soul. I tell myself that people don't get these ideas on their own. They have help from a leadership or group. Where is the sanity here?

A LJ friend had a posting today pointing at the article about Philip Zimbardo, known for his famous Stanford Prison Experiment in the early 70s. Philip states,

"You could put virtually anybody in it and you're going to get this kind of evil behavior," he continued. "The Pentagon and the military say that the Abu Ghraib scandal is the result of a few bad apples in an otherwise good barrel. That's the dispositional analysis. The social psychologist in me, and the consensus among many of my colleagues in experimental social psychology, says that's the wrong analysis. It's not the bad apples, it's the bad barrels that corrupt good people. Understanding the abuses at this Iraqi prison starts with an analysis of both the situational and systematic forces operating on those soldiers working the night shift in that 'little shop of horrors.'"

This puts a perspective on bad leaders, stupid people, and so on. Something to think about as I continue to form my world vision.
Tags: evil, stupidity
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