You learn about the nature of evil by studying psychology. In psychology, you learn that the essence of low self-esteem is lack of confidence in one’s reasoning mind. Objectivity is how we cope and survive. If you lack the skills to think critically and objectively — on your own, without always needing validation from others — then you’re kind of like a car without an engine. Nothing ignites.
Without the ability to use one’s mind to grasp things objectively, one is left psychologically adrift. This contributes to conditions such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and all the rest you read about. When you don’t know how to use your mind rationally and objectively, you’re paralyzed.
It’s not a genetic problem. It’s an intellectual one. It’s a psychological one.
Most of it starts not with bad parenting, but with bad schooling.
You don’t know why you feel this way, and if you’re like most people, you’ll blame yourself (internally) and develop neurotic habits or even highly destructive ones such as substance abuse. These are all ways of attempting to cope with the fact you don’t know how to use your mind, and you fear there must be something wrong with you. There is something wrong, in a sense — but you have no name for the cause.
Psychological disorder does not make evil inevitable, but it sets the stage. Evil enters the picture when you adopt bad ideas, and you rely on the group or the mob — your peers, your particular peer or geographic community, your family, your Internet/social media community, the world at large — to do your thinking for you.
When the ideas are bad or irrational, the situation is generally like this: These people you’re relying on to explain what’s wrong have no more clue than you as to what’s true. Like you, they started out with little or no self-esteem. Yet they are the ones from whom you get your “truth”.
That’s how cults form. Cults are often only self-destructive, or destructive of the members who belong to the cult. But in some cases the cult can turn into a gang, who will prey on the members of a particular society, community or nation. Think obvious gangs like a group of mobsters, an inner city gang, or a bunch of thugs. Think less obvious gangs too, like the politicians who now almost entirely dominate our nation’s capital. They are criminals, sociopaths, by almost every known definition of those terms. We all know it and sense it. It’s tempting to side with a party, because the alternative seems too horrendous to face: “If they’re all bad, what then?” But deep inside we know both sides are, at the core, just plain rotten.
That’s why so many of us support President Trump. Whatever he is, he’s not one of them. And he’s not trying to install a dictatorship. In these times, those two things are precious things to hold onto. Sadly, they’re all we have left.
In the worst imaginable case, you get low self-esteem PLUS the resulting group-think PLUS an irrational ideology like Nazism, Communism or some equivalent. It’s always collectivism of some kind. Individualism is the Kryptonite of dictators. They hate it with a passion. Individualism and rationality — they realize — will put YOU in charge of your life; not them. There’s nothing worse, from a control freak’s perspective. Why does every dictatorship insist on a monopoly on schools?
Remember, it always starts with low self-esteem. While most people lacking confidence in their minds turn to substances or become neurotic, some will turn to the group. If the group advocates something destructive, they’ll eventually find they can dominate and even take over a society filled with people who, while trying to be good human beings, essentially feel, “Who am I to think? Who am I to judge? Who am I to know?”
Low self-confident people who mean no harm PLUS low self-confident people who DO mean harm … It’s a toxic brew and ultimately, when the conditions are right, can lead to catastrophe, the kind we saw with the various Communist takeovers and, of course, the infamous Nazi takeover of Germany in the last century.
The most common way evil people take over is to exploit the fears of those who — because of their poor self-esteem — feel helpless over a situation they can’t control.
That’s how we got Nazi Germany.
The economy floundered and Hitler moved in for the kill. In America right now, the economy is fairly strong. In some respects it’s booming, but our debt, fueled mainly by Social Security and Medicare, is simply unsustainable, and nobody will face it.
But, despite low unemployment and increasing wages, you can see how rotten and evil people are gaining ground in our national discussions as never before. I’m NOT talking about Trump. He’s celebrating what America used to be, and he hopes still is. I’m talking about the hard-core leftists, the collectivists on the rise on the left. They know what they’re doing, and how to do it. They exploit the fears and weaknesses of people who look to others to define their “truth” for them.
I can’t tell you what will ultimately happen in America. I can only tell you the psychological conditions seem ripe for dictatorship. That’s why we’ve reached a point where one of our political parties now is not merely dysfunctional, but over the cliff, and we could be just a single election or two away from a dictatorship.
It all starts with people who lack confidence in themselves, because they lack confidence in their minds. Most are not evil, and never will be. But they’re all too ready to be exploited by those who are.
America, while a special and unique place for all of human history, is not immune to any of this. No society is.
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