Good vs. Evil
The Problem Of Evil: Why Do “Good” People Do Bad Things?
By Lauren Green
One of the interesting things about “The Lucifer Effect” is how a secular psychologist is embracing a theological term like “evil.” The secular world has many psychological and medical terms to describe the various human conditions. But “evil” conjures up images of the supernatural, a throwback to an age of ignorance, where there was a lack of “understanding” about simple psychiatry.
“Evil” is a place with many unopened doors and untraveled, darkened corridors of the mind — something that's out of control. And in a sense, that's what Zimbardo means: the turning of a screw can happen so slowly. The vast distance that one travels, from a place of goodness and safety, to a place of horrors and mayhem, is almost imperceptible.
Perhaps--and I don't know if the average person thinks about who they are, in relation to this, and what they're about... However, when I worked in the group home, we had to think about it constantly; obviously we had dominion over the boys (and that was why). Many of them were mute and had no way to protest something except to act out.
Our group home's goal was to give the kids as many 'life chances' as possible. Thus, whenever we did anything, we had to ask ourselves if we were being unnecessarily controlling, simply for the sake of control.
So much abuse is an overdoing of control. When you ask yourself about your own motives everytime you give a direction, abuse is very easily extinguished. However, you have to be aware that it's too easy to fall into over-managing a situation, that your own agenda, problems, and ego can trip you up. You have to learn to put yourself away entirely and consciously think about someone else's best interests.
In that way, it's easy to see evil as something mired in one's narcissism; it is a relentless selfishness.