Guide POWER and Evil

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To understand this, consider that killing often takes place so that certain ways of life can thrive, not just out of some nihilistic urge. All of this further puts into question the Dostoyevsky paradigm. Out of the shadow emerge mediocre demons, and their desire for normality and positivity.

How does all this relate to her now infamous dictum on the banality of evil? SF: My debt to Hannah Arendt here is obvious.

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She was the first to grasp the complexity of a system of evil, to understand that it does not live only of evil intentions. Thanks to this theoretical shift, Arendt makes available for us a constellation of concepts, even though she did not have the time to arrange into a fully developed philosophical reflection.

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My goal is to pick up where she left off, while addressing the limitations of her important and empirically grounded work. If we talk about normality instead, a whole new field of insights comes to the fore, including that of compliance with a norm. Our present times, in the West, are ruled by a paradoxical kind of normativity, where on the one hand there is a stated commitment to universal claims regarding rights, as if this discourse is now uncontroversial for liberal societies, yet on the other hand the painful reality for many is the experience of unnecessary suffering and hardship.

For example, consider the unnecessary violence represented by the frequent drownings of people fleeing to Europe. The treatment by European leaders and officials of this situation as in a way normal, in the absence of serious political commitments to resolve it, could be usefully spoken about in terms of normative or mediocre evil in the world today. How do we make sense of this?

  1. The Psychological Power of Satan.
  2. Power of Evil;
  3. A Heavenly Name.
  4. I Heart Napoleon.

This is one of the reasons, for example, in the first few years following World War II, the Jewish victims of Auschwitz could not fully tell their story. In the last few decades the situation has completely changed. Not only does the status of victim elicit respect, but it has become the object of some kind of competition.

Who is the true victim? Who is most victimized? Who can boast about being an absolute victim, free from any compromise with power and from any responsibility? The identity of victim can produce political benefits.

But most of all, it allows us to think of ourselves as morally superior and innocent, and therefore holding the right to inflict violence ourselves, but now a violence that is morally legitimate, and hence a nonviolent violence. It is an identity, then, that dulls our perception of abusing our own power, of having become perpetrators. Let us be clear: Victims exist, as perpetrators exist. There are different degrees of responsibility and abuse, because all actors are not equally guilty.

Yet, as Primo Levi teaches us, being a victim in itself does not automatically confer a certificate of innocence.

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Before and after we were victims, we have been and are responsible: for actions and inactions, for wrongs and indifference, for negations and shrugs. In fact, in many ways I would place myself within a philosophical context that embraces at least some readings of his work. The problem I aim to solve is that despite his appeal to think beyond good and evil, Nietzsche himself cannot quite step out of that distinction.

And if people think deeply, they cannot but ask themselves questions, questions not only about the existence of things, but also about the meaning of actions, and the relations that exist between humans living in a shared world. If we believe in the critical function of philosophy, we cannot, and more important, should not stop talking about political evil, precisely because of the expressive and provocative force of the term and the concept.

  1. Sport and Sociology (Frontiers of Sport).
  2. The Midnight Sun;
  3. Between Hope and Despair: Living After A Stroke.
  4. More from Movies?

Researchers have found support for this hypothesis across several papers containing multiple studies, and employing diverse methodologies. BPE predicts such effects as: harsher punishments for crimes e. Follow-up studies corroborate these findings, showing that BPE also predicts the degree to which participants perceive the world to be dangerous and vile, the perceived need for preemptive military aggression to solve conflicts, and reported support for torture.

Regardless of whether the devil actually exists, belief in the power of human evil seems to have significant and important consequences for how we approach solving problems of real-world wrongdoing.

  • The Treasure House of Images.
  • Command the Rapid Force Crew?
  • Cant Take My Eyes Off You (Chorus Only).
  • The strange power of the ‘evil eye’.
  • They cannot be helped, and any attempts to do so would be a waste of time and resources. The longer we cling to strong beliefs about the existence of pure evil, the more aggressive and antisocial we become. That may be the greatest trick the devil has ever pulled. Are you a scientist who specializes in neuroscience, cognitive science, or psychology? And have you read a recent peer-reviewed paper that you would like to write about?

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    Gareth is also the series editor of Best American Infographics , and can be reached at garethideas AT gmail. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options.