Saturday, May 17, 2008
How to explain the evil fuckers of the world? Over at smokingmirrors there's been talk of a 6% of people as being psychopaths. Apparently there's a book called Ponerology that explains the science of ponerology, which is to say 'evil'. I haven't read it. I've merely read about it. But I have to be honest and say that I have trouble making this concept gel. There's something that's a bit too 'either/or' for mine.
This is my continuum. No one cares for it. Never mind - It's as fine a means of judging behaviour as any I've encountered. And you can't say it ain't elegant.
Human behaviour is very messy and many factors come into play. Determining the rightness of one's actions on this continuum is not simple. The middle ground between the extremes is huge and ambiguous. There are no simplistic do's/don't-do's here. Thought is required. But two aspects of it are simple - they being the extremities.
Any person who can perfectly embrace selflessness is Buddha. They become one with the universe. This does happen but it's a tough gig. It's not made any easier with every aspect of our media devoted solely to making the population as selfish and self-indulgent as possible.
The other end of the continuum is less spectacular and far more common. People at this end are what I call anti-buddhas. For the record I shall state that an anti-buddha is not the Antichrist, whatever that is. Anti-buddhas are merely wicked paragons of selfishness. An anti-buddha has the least regard for others and the most regard for himself. An 'us and them' mindset is necessary. Dig it - 'us and them' is the opposite of 'one with the universe'. Interesting, no? Anyway, given that the above continuum goes to the nth degree, this ultimate selfishness would ideally comprise the enslavement of all living creatures to the benefit of the fewest people possible.
An anti-buddha is a psychopath, same-same. Except it's not that simple. An anti-buddha is not an either/or proposition. There is no either/or on a continuum. Between a baby-killer and a baby-beater and a baby-neglecter and someone who just doesn't like kids very much, there's a linear path travelled. At what point does one cross that threshold and become one of the 6%? And is there truly no turning back? And is this alleged either/or psychopath irredeemable? Is there nothing to be done with a psychopath apart from locking him up forever or killing him?
What then to make of this fellow? Have a read but give equal attention to the Chinese. The Japanese soldiers that the Chinese locked up were precisely anti-buddhas. And somehow the Chinese thought them worthy of redemption, and succeeded at it.
It wasn't easy. It took years of unrelenting psychological pressure. No self-serving bullshit was permitted. Nothing short of completely admitting to the full wickedness of their behaviour was accepted. There was no time limit. Whoever it was, was stuck in jail until they made a full confession that the jailers decided wasn't bullshit. I don't believe any human could defeat this process.
Remember the end of 1984? As the bullet entered his brain, Winston Smith loved Big Brother. Smith's understanding of the rightness of 2+2=4 was broken down and rebuilt until he embraced 2+2=5. What I'm suggesting is the inverse of this process. One would take an anti-buddha and give him the opportunity to abandon his delusion of us-and-them, of 2+2=5. He would then be free to embrace the truth of selflessness. Breaking down a false proposition is easier than building one. Even a six year old can learn that 2+2=4. The replacement for delusion requires no fabrication. It exists already as truth and need merely be seen with a mind unclouded.
I have no time for aliens, lizards, or non-humans with a DNA of 'evil'. I view them as metaphors for people who have utterly embraced selfishness. That they should do this is neither unlikely nor difficult. In fact it's a certainty. Of course there are people like this. As sure as there are Buddhas there are anti-buddhas. This state of being, of delusion, is not irremediable. That's not to say that such a remedy is easy, quite the opposite, it's tremendously difficult. But it can be done. If Pu'yi with his life-long inculcation can be rehabilitated, so too can a Rothschild. Lock a Rothschild up in prison and I guarantee you he could be broken.
Denial and resistance. Nervous breakdown. Reconnection with humanity. And, believe it or not, gratitude. Even for the worst of the worst, redemption is possible.
PS. But just to be on the safe side, our Rothschild would be banned from possessing any money, restricted to a cloistered community and (sorry folks) sterilised. After a multi-generational succession of anti-buddhas, it's better safe than sorry.