But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
– 2 Timothy 3:13
They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
– Psalm 1: 4
Many years ago I read a book entitled “People of the Lie” written by Scott Peck, an American psychiatrist. It was a fascinating analytic study of malignant narcissism and deceit. I came away from the book with an understanding that a very significant percentage, if not the majority, of people in the world are not decent.
Other conceptualizations presented by Peck in “People of the Lie” included disguise as a main motive of evil, along with descriptions of people assessed as such to being self-deluded, as projecting their own actions onto others, as utilizing the pretense of love to actually hate, and as possessing an inherent intolerance to withstand criticism. The author further identified evil as the opposition to life; even acknowledging the word “evil” as “live” spelled backwards. Dr. Peck also claimed evil could be measured by its consistency and conceded that decent individuals have difficulty in cognitively processing the concept:
[Erich] Fromm saw the genesis of human evil as a developmental process; we are not created evil or forced to be evil, but we become evil slowly over time through a long series of choices.
When confronted by evil, the wisest and most secure adult will usually experience confusion.
– Peck, Scott. (1983, 1988). “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”; Century Hutchinson.
Peck also illustrated evil as more than the mere absence of good but, instead, as being overtly hateful and destructive. In other words, evil can manifest either by contingent circumstance or design. More often than not, however, it is the latter; evil happens on purpose. Furthermore, although the banality of evil is evident throughout history, it often materializes in the cult ofpersonality; or, stated another way, institutionalized by way of The Collective.
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