Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Nature of Evil: It's In Us!!

A must-listen talk by the social psychologist Phillip Zimbardo on the nature of evil...

In a nutshell, evil is less within us and more within the structures we live within - normal people who are not sadists, in the wrong circumstances, in a matter of days can become the sadists we see in Abu Graib. It is mindless obedience to hierarchy that kills more people than disobedience to laws. The people at the top of a hierarchy create the system that breeds evil in people who would not otherwise do so. The irony is that Bu$h and Bliar in their war on evil, created a system of evil in the process. (A point John Gray warns us of!)

But there is also message that none of us know what we will do if faced with the same situation - we all have this capacity for evil. Our protection is to ensure that we do not allow the hierarchy systems and/or personality cults that encourage it.

On the plus side heroism is the same - we all have the capacity to do good in such situations...

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