Evil is in the eye of the beholder. Victims need to see the perpetrators as evil. Humans have this belief that people are generally good, so when bad shit happens, they call it evil.
Evil is found in the judgements of others. Perpetrators often do not see what they're doing as evil.
Perpetrators are better off if they are not sensitive. Games can take their mind off the guilt. Sensitive perpetrators will suffer from nightmares, anxiety attacks, guilt, gastrointestinal problems, and other signs of stress.
People are commonly victimized by people they know than strangers.
Why isn't there more violence? Self-control. Self-control prevents a lot of acts of evil. Lose it, and you be causing evil everywhere.
Drugs stopped violence. Drugs = money so everyone stopped the violence to start making $$.
Magnitude Gap the difference between the importance of the act to the victim and the perpetrator. Victims are usually traumatized by the fact that someone could do such a thing whereas perpetrators treat the act as a small part of their life.
Egotismthinking well of yourself, regardless of whether those thoughts are justified or not. The good kind is a healthy high self-esteem. The bad kind is being conceited or arrogant.
Violence occurs when egotistical people feel that their favourable views on themselves are being threatened. Violence puts the other person down so you feel higher than them.
Groups are essential for human social life and are necessary to survive, but they also cause this separation between people. If one group feels threatened by another group, they strike back.
Goals are usually never satisfied long-term. So evil cannot be explained by such goals.
Reality of evil is shaped by the image of evil. No one deliberately does evil, but how do so many evil acts get done? How do the performers of evil think and feel about their acts?
Gardener's MentalityA gardener raises plants to make a pretty garden. The weeds have to be removed. Some hate the weeds or think of them as an inconvenience. Both types kill the weeds. The holocaust followed this mentality. The Jews were the weeds and no matter how they felt about them, they had to exterminate them for a better society.
Victim accounts are not reliable. Perpetrators are ordinary humans with their own motives, reasons, and rationalizations. It is important to look at the perpetrator's side, but they often do not say much. People also do not trust what they say. Victims may also be biased so both victims and perpetrators distort reality. Difficult to study perps as crimes are rare.
The Elastic Time FrameVictims have a very long time span whereas the perpetrators "let bygones be bygones." Victims can never forget whereas perpetrators forget very quickly. Relates to the magnitude gap.
People see others' ordinary actions as personal attacks. Abusive husbands will see a simple comment as an attack on their pride so they have to beat their wives to assert dominance. Hypersensitive people are potentially dangerous. They merely respond to attacks.
Perpetrators see themselves as victims. They are provoked by the victim. The victim attacks them in some way and they have the right to retaliate. Prisoners feel more like victims. Their kills were a spur-of-the-moment thing whereas capitalism is premeditated.
Victim status is promising. People tend to want to help them so victims can distort the story and have people trust them. Perpetrators will try to play this victim card to gain sympathy.
Neither side saw itself as evil, but both sides were in a battle against evil.
Do we blame no one? It is a mistake to want to find a single person to blame. Being victimized does not justify a violent response. Victims may need to be blamed, but that does not mean what perpetrators do is okay. We have to be willing to blame both parties. We should blame both sides.
The legal system sucks. The abuser says they were abused as a child so the abusing is not their fault. They gain sympathy from that and are not convicted. We tend to see good guys and bad guys instead of seeing both sides as wrong.
It is rare for an organization to associate their name with evil. Raiders, Pirates, Demons, Hell's Angels, Public Enemy, Black Sabbath, etc. The organization itself is not dedicated to evil. They use such names to strike fear into their opponents. No sports teams call themselves the Child Abusers. People choose "evil" names, but do not see themselves as evil.
The face of evil is no one's face. It's a false image imposed on the opponent. We know it. But at the same tme, we don't know it. How does such an image survive? Things are distorted to fit this image. This image is the myth of pure evil.
Evil at the Movies: People like to see villains. Chaos is a common theme. Fear is created. Innocent families are invaded by an evil power they cannot understand. Human villains created a new genre. Movie villains usually hurt just because they enjoyed it. Drug dealers.
Religion and the Devil: Religion provides explicit explanations of evil. Evil doesn't exist by itself, it is the opposite of good.
Christians: God either chose to create evil (he shares the blame) or God could not prevent evil(he's not all-powerful). Both views unacceptable.
Other religions: Satan is the equal of God.
In our time: Are people inherently good or is there a side that's inherently bad? People tend to identify themselves with a group and see other groups as rival. Your group is the good group and everyone else is evil.
There are many theories about evil figures. The main point is that they have all been proud. Their pride, arrogance, and confidence are key to their evilness.
Bad Guys for Kids: Children's cartoons. Common theme: villains have no reason for their attacks. They are evil for evil's sake. They have little motive. They are foreign. They lose emotional control which causes slip-ups.
The New War: Weapon technology. Self-control vs. the lack of it.
Crime and Evil in the News: The media portrays acts of crime differently. They leave out details that would make the crime seem less surprising. If a random person attacks someone for no reason, it makes people fear it. Random crime conforms to the myth of pure evil and that's what interests people. Black rioters beat a white man, but it was black people who found him and took him to the hospital (this part was left out as it did not fit the myth of pure evil). The media prefers interracial crimes even though whites kill whites and blacks kill blacks.
Increased recognition of differences between groups has led more often to conflict and violence than to peaceful cooperation and sharing.
Drugs and Alcohol: The Chemical Demons: The media portrays drug-dealing as the cause of violence, but this is not the case. Money is more appealing than violence, so violence has gone down since drugs appeared. The news needs to attract an audience so they may leave out details. They tell the people what they want to hear. Why do people prefer that drugs are the source of violence? Because it supports the myth of pure evil. Drugs are alien, they cause unpredictability in humans. It gives an easy answer to everything - blame the drugs. It's the modern version of being possessed by demons. Alcohol is used to explain violent behaviour because it reduces inner restraints, although it does not cause impulses. Alcohol only increases aggression, it does not cause it. Blaming drugs and alcohol gives a simpler explanation to why things happen. The abused love their abuser, so they must find a reason to stay with them. They blame the alcohol.
The Hated Face: Enemies in War: "War is inconceivable without a clearly defined image of the enemy." An evil enemy gives the right to hate and destroy him. It justifies one's own actions if they see the enemy as pure evil. It takes away the guilt.
Innocent Victims: People don't want the truth, they just want a conclusion. People rely on the myth to make themselves feel better - it's the easy route to an explanation. People look for explanations to their suffering and they often look outside of themselves. Freeing the blame from themselves is very appealing because it does not bring down their self-esteem.
Reciprocal Violence: Both sides see themselves as innocent people.
The myth of pure evil encourages people to believe that they are good and will remain good no matter what, even if they harm their opponents. It allows evil to masquerade as good. It gives people a moral immunity.
SadismGetting enjoyment or pleasure from hurting others, as well as the desire for the pleasure.
A lot of people get PTSD after killing someone. They cry while shooting people. They can't bring themselves to do it. Serial killers find their first kills disappointing and upsetting. They don't find the satisfaction they expect. It gets easier as they kill more.
Laughter is emphasized because it matches the myth of pure evil. But the laughter may not mean pleasure from hurting someone. It could be from embarrassment, nervousness/uncertainty, from pleasure of doing a good job, or humiliation of another person.
Soldiers would make games out of killing, but that does not mean that the killing was pleasant. It reduces sensitivity.
People want to see violence. People do enjoy watching people get hurt.
Children harm or kill other creatures out of curiosity. When they develop a sense of empathy, their cruelty disappears. Empathy takes a long time to grow, so there is a wide range. Psychopaths lack empathy. They get amusement from the sufferings of their victims, but that's not the driving force.
Yes. Some people enjoy hunting. They enjoy killing. Some serial killers do not enjoy killing. They may profess that they do just to defy social standards when they have already been convicted. Some really enjoy hurting and are surprised that others don't understand the feeling. Some get high from shooting people.
Opponent Process TheoryBody in a state of equilibrium. If the homeostasis is disturbed (like running a race), it must be be brought back to normal. The theory is that the restoring process gets stronger over time. Tolerance. Some people may experience something unpleasant and restore from it. Over time, they get used to this and no longer fear it. They may find pleasure in it. Like killing. They may need to dose up the extremity. When someone kills someone, it is unpleasant, but the body finds a way to return to normal.
Why doesn't everyone become a sadist? A lot of people have been forced to kill, they should like it. Guilt. People feel guilty if they hurt someone. Everyone has a sadistic side to them, but guilt keeps that hidden. It's why people can watch violent films, but not commit violent acts. There is no guilt in watching violent films.
Some people find hurting others fun. They seek the excitement. The whole experience is small. Violating rules causes excitement.
Power refers to having an impact on other people. The goal is to produce an effect. Power imposes the will of one on the other. People want to connect with others to change them. They want to cause them to show real human emotion.
The most extreme cruelty makes use of empathy. To be seriously, thoroughly cruel, it is necessary to know what the victim is feeling, in order to maximize the suffering. Maximum cruelty makes use of empathy without sympathy. Knowing exactly how a person feels is the best way to hurt them. Emotional abuse plays on empathy. Emotional abuse gains no help because there are no physical injuries.
There are 4 roots of evil:
The means are evil, not the ends. Although some churches may condemn the ends (greed, lust, etc. being sins), these desires are not evil as they are what motivate people to live. (So don't condemn the ends). Evil being the use of wrong means is way off of the Myth of Pure Evil since the myth says that evil is an end in itself. Purely instrumental violence may gain no pleasure at all because all the want is the end goal.
Why turn to crime?
Evil is not effective in obtaining long-term goals. It can help obtain immediate, temporary goals, but it won't last. Does crime pay? Sometimes, but not very much.
Burglars don't rob a lot, and what they do get, is worth much less to the market than the victim. They rob, go on a spending spree, and then need to rob again. Organized crime gain a lot of money, but the risk of being imprisoned or murdered is high. Political murder does not change politics. Terrorists don't get what they want, instead they are hated by the people. Repressive governments may be successful, but are not a permanent basis of power. Silenced, but not eliminated. Torture may cause an innocent to confess to crimes they did not commit. In war, excessive cruelty can generate power differential, but it causes a lot of hatred. Evil doesn't win the contest, it tells the other that the contest is no longer a contest. I win, or you die. Murderers usually end up in jail. Two patterns of murder: killing someone you know over a dispute OR killing a witness while you're committing some other crime. Murderers are a much bigger deal than non-murderers, so they are more easily caught.
What evil accomplishes: Making someone else suffer. The perpetrator gets what they want for a moment, but the victim loses a lot more for longer.
Violence is used to maintain power. The badass uses the myth of pure evil to his own benefit: hurting innocent people for no reason, wearing evil symbols, chaos, etc..
The violent person only focuses on the immediate situation, and not the future.
Revenge: When one suffers and feels that making them suffer is the only way to make things right again. One must avenge blows to one's pride.
Low Self-esteem: Not linked with violence.
High Self-esteem: linked with violence.
Accepting criticism vs. rejecting criticism.
Envy - they were more deserving than you or they used some kind of unfair advantage.
Status inconsistency - serious contradiction to one's status. High qualifications but poor careers => violent. Low qualificaions but successful career => not violent. THREATENED EGOTISM.
Highs and lows => know the risk of it dropping, so less violent
Most think well of yourself => more vulnerable to losses in self-esteem
Unshakably high self-esteem - immune to ego threats