Understanding Evil

Andrew Atkin's picture
Submitted by Andrew Atkin on Sat, 2016-08-27 02:37

Tony Veitch, the former New Zealand TV presenter, kicked his girlfriend in the back and put her in hospital. His assault was of course evil. But what created this evil?

Tony Veitch said that when he assaulted his girlfriend he was "in a dark place". Of course he was right. One person cannot do that to another (except in self defense) without being in a dark place, in their mind. So the real question is - where did that dark place come from?

Those dark places are something that none of us choose. They are a black inheritance handed down to some by a horribly unfair childhood.

When a child grows up treated with gross disrespect and outright abuse, they are traumatised. Trauma changes people, and permanently. True trauma is not actually painful. Because it's so painful that your brain hits the off-switch and blocks the signal - you feel nothing. But that same unfelt pain, now repressed, lives on like a demon within your unconscious and it reconstructs your psychological relationship to the world you live in. Think of the effect as like heavily tinted sunglasses permanently stuck to your face - you see everything differently.

My simple explanation:


The truth is all of us have this kind of pain, especially from infancy (and even earlier) which is where we are most vulnerable to serious trauma. But some of us get so much of it that we end up permanently living in a dark place. A place where it makes sense to us that God should wish for people to burn in hell forever, and that the world is full of people who actually deserve it. A mind loaded with deep rage and hate will tend to see a world full of people deserving no respect.

The evil person does not truly feel evil. In some kind of perverse way they feel comfortable and justified in performing their evil acts. Their ultimate "fuck the world" attitude is where they are at, and with that attitude nothing is really evil - or should I say 'wrong'.

Now is this what we're dealing with, with ISIS and their cooperators? Of course it is. Indeed, the fact that they recruit through prisons should tell us where they're at, and that they know their own kind. Terrorists, like most prison inmates, are broken souls. And it takes a dark mind to accept a dark ideology.

I do not make these point to excuse evil people. Of course social cancer needs to be removed, and as quickly as possible. And the more evil a person is the more important it becomes to incentivise them to not act-out. But in respecting the mechanics of evil from more of a psychiatric position, we can know what the real problem is maybe before anything.

The only long-term security against evil, I believe, will be to focus on basic human rights, and especially the rights of children. As long as we continue to allow children to be born into hell, we will continue to manufacture demons.

The violent quran is a mad-man's fairytale that should horrify any self-respecting person, but the ultimate threat is not so much what it says in that book, but whether or not we're creating people of the type who would want to believe in it.


Andrew Atkin's picture

Boring. But I'll do my best...

Do you really think I would expect anyone (including myself) to take it as conclusive evidence that all soldiers are driven by bloodlust, just because one guy (an insider to that word) sincerely asserted that that is where they're at? Of course not! I meant to include it because it was a possibility, and it was interesting to me that he would make that assertion from a somewhat qualified position. I saw it as something to ponder, and that is how I expected others to receive it as well.

I then made the included (+ using 'lol' so as to express a lighthearted manner to my expression) that maybe we should replace soldiers with robots. Why? Because if it's true that bloodlust is the motive in a good number of soldiers (hey - it could be), then *maybe* it could be a good idea to get impartial robots to do the dirty work.

As for your comments in relation to 'moral or not' Nazi soldiers: Please read my earlier comments. I have already explained myself on all that.

That's just dishonest: you do

PhilipD's picture

That's just dishonest: you do offer it as proof. And your next sentence suggests you believe that proof to be 'broad.'

'Maybe we should just replace the little sweethearts with robots? lol!'

(Although, perhaps the greater sin is an adult using 'lol?')

'Were the German soldiers in WW2 terrorists? I would say they were identical in morality to English soldiers.'

They were? Those fighting the Nazis were morally the same as the Nazis?

So, Andrew, Second World War NZ fighters- terrorists or soldiers?

Anis Amri, terrorist, or soldier?


Andrew Atkin's picture

I am confident that the guy who spoke to me, as a first hand witness, was telling the truth about himself and what he thinks other people's motives were as well.

Obviously it should not be considered a broad proof. I just included it because I thought it was of interest.

So, it's true that all those

PhilipD's picture

So, it's true that all those in the armed forces are there because they want to kill people?

Not because they seek adventure, a career, money, travel or, comradeship, but to kill people.

And you know this for sure because you spoke to a bloke...

Robots is not a silly idea.

Richard Wiig's picture

Robots is not a silly idea.


Andrew Atkin's picture

Many years ago I spoke with a guy who was in the army - a friendly guy, but a bit impulsive and reckless.

I ask him why he was into the army. He told me, very directly and without reservation, that "I wanted to kill people". He then further told me "That's why they all do it, they all know it, but no one says anything and they know they'll be kicked out immediately if they do".

I had no reason to disbelieve him, going by the way he expressed himself. He was just so 'innocently' plain, honest, and on the table with the way he spoke.

Maybe we should just replace the little sweethearts with robots? lol!

Good vs. Evil

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Soldiers and police need to be taught something on Day One of their training: It makes all the difference in the world whether or not you're defending liberty or tyranny. They need to be told at every single opportunity: "Do not uphold the law or fight for your country. Uphold freedom and justice, no matter what, and fight for freedom and justice, no matter what."

I'm inclined to agree with Andrew

VSD's picture

It's not the soldiers who are doing this 'great deal of thought', it's their 'leaders' who weasel-word it any way they can to justify it and send out their army on their 'holy cause' - so if one is fighting for liberty democracy, the other is fighting for tyranny paradise, they are both fighting for ideology - or simply fighting because they enjoy fighting and killing ...
Basically though it's a 'false choice': as long as one man still believes he can get a free ride, impose his ideals on others, or just likes to 'excercise his muscles instead of his brain' we'll have violence spreading from that single nucleus: the one violent man needs to be contained > short of 'lobotomizing' him or singing OM, he has to be contained by force > this 'counterforce' needs to be governed > those governing respond to threat or ideology which way they should govern > those not being heeded influencing that governing 'force' feel threatened and build another force to 'defend' against that governing, countering, forcing ... voila your next little war.
Two natural principles at work here:
- a force will generate an almost exact counterforce to balance itself out
- homo sapiens has evolved by force to dominate his surroundings instead of adapting to them
Soldiers are just the pawns of these two basic principles and contrary to e.g. warriors, not to mention 'holy warriors' or even (horror of horrors for some) 'peace loving beatniks', they don't even get to decide what / who they fight for (except in that short moment of enlisting - if they're not drafted).
I understand why so many people defend our brave soldiers defending our country, our way of life, however I cannot find much admiration or gratitude for the pawns of false choices ... violence still breeds violence ... and in this case the 'perpetrators' of this violence don't even get to chose and cannot be held personally accountable as long as they 'follow orders' to wield that force.
Again (before the shitstorm rises): I'm not knocking the soldiers, I'm knocking the basic principles that make soldiers possible, for some even necessary. Solve those and soldiers will become a 'non-question'.

That is true, but it doesn't

Richard Wiig's picture

That is true, but it doesn't take a great deal of thought to understand the difference between fighting for liberty and fighting to impose tyranny. Soldiers are not all in the same boat.


Andrew Atkin's picture

If they believe what they're doing is right. And they don't think, on a serious independant level. They are morally the same. They're then both shooting blind bullets - on faith.

You were claiming they're

Richard Wiig's picture

You were claiming they're identical in morality to soldiers fighting for liberty. Although a soldiers act to defend the group, regardless of what they think, they don't render themselves incapable of thinking, of making a choices, or analysing what they're fighting for.


Andrew Atkin's picture

You aren't responding to the original meaning of the point that I made.

Motives - not actions.

The jihadists are not

Richard Wiig's picture

The jihadists are not soldiers. There's a vast difference between defending liberty, as a soldier, and imposing tyranny as a brutal thug.

Not knocking them

Andrew Atkin's picture

...just making a point.

Were the German soldiers in WW2 terrorists? I would say they were identical in morality to English soldiers. Both thought they were fighting for the right side. ISIS, no doubt, believes they're on the right side too (though they take stupidity to a whole new level, but my point still stands).

And note I said 'common' soldier. No doubt many military people do some homework to check that they're on the right side, and don't just swallow whatever their authority figures tell them, on faith.

What's the difference between

Richard Wiig's picture

What's the difference between a common soldier and a soldier? There's certainly a difference between a soldier and a terrorist. The liberty you do have is thanks to the soldier, so I don't think it's right to knock them.

A thought...

Andrew Atkin's picture

What is the difference between a terrorist and a common soldier? Nothing much.

Both are taking orders from what they believe to be a higher credible authority. Both are externalising responsibility for their actions to their higher authority. Both are sheep - violent sheep.

So what is the true root of wartime evil? Picking the wrong team, or not thinking for yourself?


Andrew Atkin's picture

People use and abuse the word loosely.

Trauma is the stuff that hurts so much it doesn't hurt at all.

If I cut your leg off you wouldn't feel it. If you did you would die from the pain alone.

You can see the link in the article - I recommend it.

What exactly do you mean by

Richard Wiig's picture

What exactly do you mean by trauma, Andrew? Trauma to varying degrees is an inescapable part of life I think. Trauma, even great trauma, needn't necessarily lead to a fear of liberty. Personally, I think that any possible widespread fear of liberty comes down to the philosophical ideas that predominate and shape peoples minds rather than to any experienced trauma.

Kyrel, take away the trauma

Andrew Atkin's picture

Kyrel, take away the trauma and the neurosis (all of it) and you would indeed have a world that today we literally can't imagine.

In my opinion, we are still living in a deeply authoritarian age and as far as we can see always have done. If we didn't then schooling as we know it, for example, could not exist.

Most people don't know what real freedom even feels like, I believe. I'm suspicious that they're even afraid of it....because authoritarianism at its core is rooted in fear and a lack of trust.

As for reasoning, I will say that pathology is rooted in what people feel, not what they think. The thinking (or non-thinking) follows the feeling.


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Andrew -- I think mankind is currently experiencing a philosophical, cultural, and lifestyle Dark Age. We committed treason against most of the 1700s Enlightenment long ago. Our guiding ideologies today are so irrational and self-sacrificial, and we have with such a tyrannical gov't always attacking us, that it's a wonder people nowadays are as rational, healthy, and happy as we are. I would truly like to see what a fully rational world and culture looks like! I bet people act differently there, in ways we today can't imagine or even speculate upon.

Richard, I won't deny that

Andrew Atkin's picture

Richard, I won't deny that the masses are f--d up more than we typically realise, or want to believe. And almost certainly far more so in the past than today.

But try stating that most parents are incapable of loving their children in a real way (a way that can stop their children from sinking into a dissociated state, which is what produces that 'borg' effect...they're ultimately living in a kind of dream world) and see how it goes down.

Yes, that picture of yours is a "super cult". Except keep in mind that if you don't play along in the Muslim world they'll kill you, in places, for apostasy?

Seems to be normal and common

Richard Wiig's picture

Seems to be normal and common enough to have led to countless mass movements committing the massacres and genocides of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of millions over the centuries, Andrew.

Every Muslim is supposed to do this at least once in his life.

Some of them will directly be murderers. The rest will just support it and go along for the ride. All of them are selfless Borg.


Andrew Atkin's picture

With respect to the members who can keep themselves away from killing people first-hand, I would accept that.

But the kind of mind that wants to lose itself to a violent cult--and can do so--is far from normal.

They don't just recruit in

Richard Wiig's picture

They don't just recruit in the prisons but also, to a very great extent, in the mosques. Whatever each individual motivation is, at heart it is probably not so much to do with anger, but more a desire to have a purpose greater than the self. It is altruism and a running away from the responsibility of having to stand on their own two feet. No thought is required. Just submission.

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