I am going to focus on 3 main points that the article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/18/20-psychological-studies-_n_4098779.html) commented on:
1. We all have some capacity for evil.
2. We can experience deeply conflicting moral impulses.
3. We’re easily corrupted by power.
I believe these 3 characteristics are all connected to each other. These are all characteristics that none of us want to acknowledge could be true yet we see examples of it every day around the world and I am sure even on a personal level on some aspect.
I remember watching a video on the Milgram Experiment (1st in HS, then college, then again during my Doctorate program, and then again not to long ago). I think what strikes me most about viewing it is how my perspective has changed. In HS I remember feeling disgust that any human being could harm another and that any person that did that was flawed or even evil. In college, I wanted to know more about what made a person do what they did. In this case, why did harm another person. In addition I felt that it was a horrible act. In my doctorate program I wanted to know the deeper reasons why someone would act in this way. What were all the variables that added up to allow a person to do this or to say ‘no’? I still felt there was an inherent darkness to those people.
Now I have a different opinion on it. I guess a more compassionate and understanding one. In no way do I condone hurting another person, nor do I wish to live my life hurting another. I realized through my work experiences, education, research, watching the world work, and from personal experiences that anyone of us is capable of doing horrific things. That being human you have both sides of the coin. Light vs Dark, Love vs Hate, Hope vs Fear, Right vs Wrong.. but more importantly at times things aren’t always one way or the other way. A lot of times things are a mixture of both, at the same time. This might seem like a contradiction to most, but I do see life as a paradox.. a contradiction.. in many different ways. Look at the people in life that have had some of the greatest positive impact in our lives over the years. When you look at their amazing accomplishments, you will also see a person that has been corrupted in some way. That is battling their own “demons”. Whether its with power, sex, infidelity, drugs, alcohol etc.. usually the people that are here to help the most also have major issues that they must contend with. Which obviously extends to everyone else. None of us are perfect and I am sure we have all done something we regret or knows hurt another person either accidently or on purpose Power can corrupt a person, even if they start off with the best intentions, they must realize their limits when it comes to having power. Even some of those that many would consider holy or highly spiritual (Dalai Lama for example) have talked about the concept of hate and how they are not immune to it. They have found another way to deal and cope with that emotion or other negative emotions.
In today’s world (especially with the media) we see things as only one way or the other (usually in a dark way considering the headlines in media) which I think paints humanity in an unfair light. We are looked at as either good or bad. Even those that have committed heinous acts, most have done positive things are various times in their lives. Their are very, very few people that have lived a life of manipulation, lies, deceit, power, and giving pain to others. Even some of the people that we deem most evil (Hitler for example) has had some capacity for love (by most historical accounts he was in love with Eva Braun and showed love to her). So why are we so afraid to admit to ourselves that we (and humanity) can do both evil and good? That we are capable of love and hate. And sometimes virtually at the same time. Why are we so afraid to understand and better treat/help those with mental illness or horrible upbringings which can contribute to a person’s immoral acts of evil, power, or corruption? We live in a world (and in particular the US) where everything has become polarized yet that is not how real life or humanity works. We embrace that polarity and we are quick to find reasons and point fingers when bad things happen yet we neglect to look at the true reasons why things happen or what things a person has done as a whole. Humans are severely complex beings and we should acknowledge that fact, even if it means having to acknowledge things about ourselves that are most painful to see.
Much love and light,