The People of the Lie

I am currently rereading M. Scott Peck’s The People of the Lie, and here are some thoughts that make an impact and apply to the current situation:

There is another reaction that the evil frequently engender in us: confusion. Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was “as if I’d suddenly lost my ability to think”. Once again, this reaction is quite appropriate. Lies confuse. The evil are the ‘people of the lie’, deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception. (p. 74)

If evil people cannot be defined by the illegality of their deeds or the magnitude of their sins, the how are we to define them? The answer is by the consistency of their sins. While usually subtle, their destructiveness is remarkably consistent. This is because those who have ‘crossed over the line’ are characterized by their absolute refusal to tolerate the sense of their own sinfulness. (p.79)

A predominant characteristic, however, of the behaviour of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection…..

Scapegoating works through a mechanism psychiatrists call projection. Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world.

Evil, then, is most often committed in order to scapegoat, and the people I label as evil are chronic scapegoaters..In other words, the evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. (p. 82)

Some things to think about. When I finish reading the book, I might post an entry on how the thoughts expressed by Scott Peck apply to the situation we are in now. Here are some ideas:

  • Some episodes of those epistolary battles (what MLQ3 calls the battle of the epistles) are pure scapegoating.
  • Gloria Arroyo is projecting her faults at her critics and detractors.
  • Some of those who chose to be apathetic or be in the sidelines are confused; they cannot separate the truth from the lies. Which, for me, is evil in itself. I might elaborate on this if my brain gets some exercise.