Inspiration for Evil

20 February 2014

David Livingstone Smith presents on the philosophical topic of dehumanization and sheds light as to why humans are capable of horrific atrocities that have occurred throughout history. While we usually think of people such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King when posed with the topic of great leaders, Dr. Smith discusses leaders who use powerful methods to provoke others to remove their inhibitions on treating people as subhuman creatures, causing them to perform evil acts such as wars and genocides.

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Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Friday, February 21, 2014 -- 4:00 PM

I .listened to Dr.(?)

I .listened to Dr.(?) Livingston's presentation on evil for about seven minutes. That was long enough for me to say to myself: oh, this is not new. And: oh, this is not philosophical. Not so much anyway. But, the lines of symmetry between philosophy and the newer red-headed stepchild, psychology, appear to be blurred. Perhaps we must have it both ways---perhaps we MUST recognize, as Wilber has often said: the isness or suchness of it all. But, must we? Ernst Becker wrote of an Escape From Evil, and, The Denial of Death. There was another tome from Herr Becker I enjoyed---the title escapes me now. There have been dozens of theorists who have tried to explain the evil that men do. I am still working on that---and still believe it has to do with my own notion of historionicity: we get what we deserve; or, in a more modern vernacular: if you always do what you have always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
Finally, the quintessential rock band said: You can't always get what you want... and I said, thirty years later: you don't always want what you get. IF we are lucky enough to get what we need, well, that's just gravy.