We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Monday, July 21. 2008
Dr. Helen mentioned a new book, Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother's Boyfriend. Cute titles sell books.
There are indeed evil, destructive, and unimaginably self-interested people out there in the world who behave with "shocking disregard for the people around" them. It's important to be aware, because they look just like ordinary people, and act like them until the chips are down. They only show their true exploitative colors at calculated moments.
The first review of the book at the Amazon link above gives a good sense of what the book is about. I am not recommending the book, just noting that it is an interesting topic.
These usually pleasant - if not charming and seductive - folks build careers and lives by preying on the innocent, the naive, and the gullible. They cannot help it, because they are deranged in a certain sort of inhuman way (which often works effectively in this world). They talk a good game, plenty of them go to church, do good deeds, and get by by wearing a "mask of sanity."
These folks cannot be truthful to themselves or to others, do not give a damn about anybody except themselves, and inhabit a guilt-free zone. Even their intimate confessions are calculated.
Only God can help them. We shrinks do not have the power.
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"Plenty of them go to church, and do good deeds."
Yeah? So do serial killers, rapists, cheaters, perverts, pedophiles, and used-car salesmen. Do you mean to imply here that simply going to church makes one 'good'? How asinine can you get?
HRC Lydia, you beat me to the punch, with the church line. Be gentle with Dr Joy, she just described all of the United States Congress. Most lawyers, all of Wall St. , all Investment bankers, corporate big wigs, Ben BerNutty and the Fed. No wonder we as a society are in so much trouble, we're being led by a bunch of wolves in sheep's clothing. I should know I was a shepard once.
That's the point...or part of it. I think you missed the point.
Didn't miss the point at all, Dr. Bliss. Your choosing church as your only example missed the point. These oleaginous characters are everywhere; though for sure church is their pulpit.
This sinner goes to church with all the other assembled sinners for good.
It's called reasonable service and yes, it is good.
Now, now, Lydia ... you're almost as cranky as I am. Dr. Bliss is pointing out an important fact. If one wants the elbow room to pull off some really skanky tricks, one needs to be perceived as "good" by the people one plans to trick. Therefore, one goes to church, makes ostentatious donations to various charities, smiles a lot, and generally is unctuously pleasant to one and all, as one is cleverly picking pockets.
Marianne, I don't see you as cranky at all. Eloquent, and sophistocated, for you. I betcha you looked pretty dam good in a bathing suit in your day too, just like Dr Joy.
Jappy, You are entranced by bathing suits. What do you look like in a nice Speedo, you shepherd, you. :)
Meta. Oops, I mean Lydia. Your're the best! I mean your're very interesting, and it is a pleasure to know you. I was worried that you were gone forever. I'll sleep well tonight knowing you're not. I hope your children realize how lucky they are to have you. I'm too modest to wear a Speedo, you know us shepherd's are kinda shy, and, bashful. : )
I'm sure you are much too hirsute to wear a Speedo. Aren't dagoes bedecked in curly black hair from toe-top to noggin? Who is 'Meta'? You may imbue me with the essence of meta as it increases my HRC. That stands for Her Royal Concupiscence. Just think of what doubling that will be like. May I send you a Speedo and a camera? Or, perhaps, I'll wear the Speedo and send you a photo? .... ah, don't meta me, now. You're making me sweat.
Gotta love how blissfully Dr. Bliss edited this post after the original "And they go to church." PERIOD. It's much better now, thank you.
Hannah Arendt meant by the banality of evil that it's built on simple decencies, like love of country, concern for one's neighbors, and so forth.
Herman Goering was head of the Tierschutzverein, the humane society.
Vicki Hearne: ``The important fact about Goering and you and me is that we are human. Hannah Arendt's essay of 1945, ``Collective Guilt and Universal Responsibility,'' notes that understanding the horror of the Reich is ``not aided by speculations about German history and the so-called German national character. [The murder machine] relies entirely upon the normality of jobholders and family-men.'' This normality consisted in decencies -- care for the security of one's family, compassion for animals...If I want to understand human villainy, one place to look -- not the only place but one place -- is into myself, and not to look there for my hatreds, but rather for my loves and my loyalties.'' Bandit p.106
Levinas on Heidegger's Nazism : ``It is impossible to be stinting in our admiration for the intellectual vigor of Sein und Zeit, particularly in light of the immense output this extraordinary book of 1927 inspired. Its supreme steadfastness will mark it forever. Can we be assured, however, that there was never any echo of Evil in it? The diabolical is not limited to the wickedness popular wisdom ascribes to it and whose malice, based on guile, is familiar and predictable in an adult culture. The diabolical is endowed with intelligence and enters where it will. To reject it, it is first necessary to refute it. Intellectual effort is needed to recognize it. Who can boast of having done so? Say what you will, the diabolical gives food for thought.''
``As If Consenting to Horror,'' Critical Inquiry 15:2, 1989, p.487
Joy Bliss, one of my friends likes to say the devil's best hiding place is among the faithful, so I take your point. I mean, look at the BTK murderer. People were shocked when he was caught because he was a church going man. Plenty of them go to church, and do good deeds? You bet.
I would add the point: why would wolves hide in wolves' clothing? What would be the point of that? Of course they seek out sheep's clothing. A lot of child molesters wear really big crosses.
"Con" is short for "confidence", as we all know and should remind others who may have not yet sadly learned.
They cannot help it, because they are deranged in a certain sort of inhuman way.
There is evil in that statement alone: you as a psychologist, refuse to perceive that wickedness is natural to the human heart; and, to account for human evil, you declare it to be inhuman, a derangement, when it is not. Human evil is not a form of insanity.
(which often works effectively in this world)
Think deeper. You might come to the realization that the present condition of the world is hospitable to wickedness and evil. The wicked thrive because they are in agreement with the current nature of the world. From there you will either descend to Manicheanism; or, you might come to realize that there is a spiritual war going on in he human heart and the world and that mankind and the world are in a captive state. But you will have to resort to something other than psychology -- which is itself part of the world system -- to understand it.
wickedness: that which arrives in our consciousness due to our being dual animal & spirit. Both are hungry and needy, and what it takes to feed the animal starves the spirit, except in the condition of abundance. This is the spiritual case for capitalism, as Pope John Paul II understood. Capital is the promise of future food, or the deliverance from the temptation of sinful taking from others what you need.
The $ is an S with two lines through it -- the dual lines of duality running either up or down depending on your Manichean reduction. The S is the serpent, the symbol and the reality, the shape and sound and movement, and is also the sign of infinity standing up (alive, requiring effort & balance, "needy") as likewise ~ is S at rest, knocked down, or asleep, or dead, and in all, no longer needy, free of finite animal being's constant need to remain standing in the condition of need.
Mirror S, add to it its reflection--consciousness--to get 8, which opens up another mad chain of runic fortune-telling -- which may have elements of truth from way back in the dawn times.
The # is two equal signs at obtuse angles to each other: the desire of humanity to be fully animal and fully god. Yet, in the attempt, the relationships become oblique -- skewed if you will: in its arrogance to seize equality with god, human life becomes distorted. The solution -- the healing -- is only possible when the equalities are resolved so that the life in the world is enclosed within the spiritual: |=|.
Good grief. This is becoming recondite.
By the way, I meant "inhuman" just in the general sense of civil, not in any deeper way. I guess I have to watch my language with you philosophers.
heh -- but it's simple, Dr. B -- the little squiggles abstract our largest possible and least controllable thoughts into the smallest possible and most controllable signs -- the tiny squiggles we form with hand movements whose meanings transcend irony (representation and its degrees--uncertainty--of truth) and as an alphabet "are" the contract among our own people that we are that people, transmitting through a piece of the world from which we sprang (a pen or pencil or keyboard).
i see it -- # can number things and weigh them, but cannot connect them until it is separated from itself, and the two lines of obliqueness dissolve into the time and space where the connection exists.
Yes, you are beginning to see. Yet, you must understand the inherent violence found within the obliqueness: though the godhead does weigh and measure, # also contains the desperation of humanity to # silica.
haw haw -- great one -- desperate to find more sand to pound, we humans forge fearlessly forward into the future --