Now evil relies, and if I define… perhaps we need to define evil, which we will in a minute, but I will just make a statement first that evil relies on your fear of it in order to control you. Evil relies on your fear of evil to control you. If you were not afraid of evil, it could not control you but for the majority of us, when we consider evil we are terrified. So if we look at the base word, terror, it’s a very interesting word that connotates a lot of things emotionally for us, doesn’t it.Participant: Can we put dishonesty up there.Evil, yes certainly we can have dishonesty. Responses to terror Let’s look at the terror. What does the emotion of terror do? Well it does one of three things generally, depending on its severity. So what are those three things? Do you know? Fear causes you to either fight or flee or freeze. That’s what terror does emotionally to us. Now whenever we conceive evil, whether we’re on the receiving end of it, or on the giving end of it, we are generally involved in one of those three emotions, where we wish to fight, we wish to flee, get away from a situation, or we just go into shock. An example of rabbits’ terror responses Now I’ve told this story before that my father used to shoot rabbits in Australia. Rabbits in Australia are treated as if they are like vermin.
They were brought from the English a couple of hundred years ago to Australia, before then Australia didn’t have rabbits. And so what happened was the rabbits, when they first came, they very, very rapidly multiplied and there were literally billions of them in Australia. Billions of them! And they introduced a number of diseases actually to control them in Australia. Firstly there was a disease called Myxomatosis, I can’t remember the next disease. But these diseases killed billions of the rabbits in their holes, just to get rid of the rabbits. Because what the rabbits were doing was they were eating the bottom of all the trees, which weren’t used to the rabbits doing so, so much so that most of the trees didn’t have hard enough bark and many of the trees died because they got ring barked at the bottom. And a lot of the native flora and fauna that relied on the ecosystem died as a result and so it becomes a big issue. As a result of that, many people in Australia have a deep hatred for any introduced species of animal, including rabbits. And my father is one of those.
He had this hatred for… well he just viewed them as vermin that he could shoot and he used to go out shooting them most weekends. And when I was a child, I used to ride the motorbike and he used to be on the back with his 22 rifle shooting rabbits while I was riding the motorbike. But before I was born he described how there was so many rabbits that what they decided to do was that instead of shooting them… which actually put a hole in their skin, which meant their skin, their pelt, was no longer very valuable and it also put a hole in the flesh, which meant that they couldn’t sell the rabbit for food very easily. They had to cut off that area of flesh. So what they decided to do was to shoot over the top of the head of the rabbit. And the sound barrier crack would freeze the rabbit through terror. It would hear the bullet go past, the sound barrier crack of the bullet, and it would instantly freeze. And you could actually walk up and pick up the rabbit. And then they’d slit the rabbit’s throat and leave it for whatever. Responding to terror with fight, freezing or fleeing causes the evil to grow The terror of just that sound caused the rabbit to go into a complete frozen state. This is how many of us react to evil. We are so terrified of it, that we’re actually frozen in its presence. If we don’t freeze, then we either attempt to do one of these other two things. We either attempt to flee it, to go away, run away from it, or we wish to fight it.
The irony is that if we respond to evil in any one of those three manners, evil will continue. So if you try to flee evil, it will follow you. If you try to fight evil, it will grow. And if you freeze it also grows. Because when you understand the psychology of evil, you start understanding why a person decides to be evil, and it’s always about causing a person to be frightened so much that they either, freeze, flee or want to fight you and you like every one of those things, if you’re evil. So, this is our normal response to evil, and if we respond in any one of these normal ways to evil we are guaranteed evil will grow. And that’s why evil has grown on the planet. Mary? Placating is another way we respond to terror Mary: I feel like there’s a fourth way that I respond to evil sometimes, and that is possibly the worst. Denial? Mary: No, I try to placate the evil by getting approval. I actually join in something that is not loving for me because I’m so frightened I just want to do anything to stop the… Placate people, so you placate or try to pander to it? Mary: Yeah, I try and make it happy, in order to go under the rage. It’s a fear response I feel, but I feel it’s a most damaging response I can have for my own soul because I’m actually in some way joining the damaging thing. Yes, this idea of placating evil is a great way to avoid one of these emotions (AJ points to fear emotions on the whiteboard) or to avoid in fact this emotion (AJ points to terror on the whiteboard). So what we finish up doing with evil on the planet is we justify its existence so much that we pander to it. Can you see how that happens in day-to-day life? If you think of when the terror attacks happened on 9/11, there was evil there. For the first time on United States soil, this concept that a person would die just to harm others was for the first time acted out en masse.
Responding to evil with fear does not overcome it Mind you, it had been happening many other times in the United States if you look at it, because what about the War of Independence? Isn’t it sort of a similar concept? But unfortunately, you know, we’ve taken this event and turned it into something a bit larger than perhaps it is but in the process we learned that, okay, evil exists. Somebody who conceived
of that particular event obviously had a lot of evil within them, whoever it was that conceived the event. And for that reason we then decide that we’re going to do something with it. Now what was America’s choice? To fight! So that was America’s choice. And what is the choice of somewhere like Iraq? What did they choose with that evil? Didn’t they choose to placate it?
Can you see that? Didn’t they choose to support the people who were involved in that, placate it, pander to the people who supported it? What about other counties in the Middle East? They felt the same, didn’t they? At the time, and not only other counties in the Middle East there were other things. What did other countries recommend? So the United Nations before the war actually occurred in Iraq, what did the United Nations recommend? Can you remember? They really recommended this, didn’t they? (AJ points to placate on the whiteboard) Placating it, yes! So what I’m trying to illustrate is that every response that mankind generally has to evil, every response that mankind has to evil, is mostly about either doing these things (AJ points to the fear responses on the whiteboard) and has any of it eradicated evil? No.So that tells me that placating evil does not work. It tells me, that going into a frozen state doesn’t work. It tells me that fleeing it doesn’t work because it just follows you and it tells me that fighting it doesn’t work either because all that happens is the evil grows when you fight it. So what works? Can you see why we believe nothing works and therefore evil is the most powerful thing? Can you see that? Participant: The reason why I mentioned dishonesty is that I think any time we’re dishonest about anything it opens the door for a weakening position, and evil moves in. And it seems like every time honesty is presented, evil runs and hides. Okay, so truth is sort of an antidote…Participant: Truth, yeah there you go
We would call it that. And so we’ll talk about that in this discussion actually in terms of a lesson of love. So can we see that the average way we handle evil does not work? And what I’m going to propose is that there’s only thing that works. It’s that weak thing that we just described. Let’s look at love again. It’s that thing, that’s the only thing that works. The psychology of evil Now to understand how it works we need to understand the psychology of evil, we need to understand how evil thinks. That makes sense, does it not? If we understand how evil thinks, then we can find the appropriate antidote to it and apply that to it and see through experience, through testing it, through experimentation, whether it works or not. So let’s look at how evil thinks or you could call it, the psychology of evil, if you wanted to use longer words. So what is the psychology of evil? What causes a person to become evil?