Tuesday, September 13
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
There's an obvious reason for the reluctance to understand "evildoers" or to love one's enemy: understanding evil might tempt a person to empathize with the evildoer, making it harder for the group to expel or kill the threat (and making it harder for the group to deny its own projections, the seeds of evil within itself). But that need for solidarity against evildoers can also disable comprehension. We need to recognize that while in the short term solidarity against "evildoers" may be necessary, in the long term we need to understand and maybe even learn to love our enemy.
Anyone who acknowledges evil in himself and wants to understand it in others is often accused of making excuses for evil, of undermining the solidarity of the group to expel a pathogen. That may promote temporary security in the group, but it's also a great way to surround the issue with taboo and secrecy and prevent solutions from forming. The best way to prevent solutions from EVER being found is to make sure that anyone who wants to see an issue clearly is kicked out of the group, and we've been dealing with that for a few thousand years now. Jesus died for it. Scapegoats are routinely formed and expelled. Evildoers are always found so that the group doesn't have to integrate its projections. That amounts to a kind of mass psychic hemorrhaging that may lead to world wars.
Ours is one of the first cultures with the ability to see human nature clearly, and we're still resistant to self-knowledge when it makes us uncomfortable. We should recognize that and take advantage of the window of opportunity. There will be more nuclear nations governed by tyrants (some with religious beliefs disabling the pragmatism that makes mutually assured destruction work) if we don't deal with the issue of evil, and we won't solve that problem merely by eliminating "evildoers". We have to see the underlying mass behavior that makes tyranny possible, and correct that behavior in ourselves while working to make it easier for groups in general to get the kind of feedback that is normally locked out when the group finds an enemy.