Monday, 2 June 2008

Laziness and Lies.

A more modern translation of the passage this great cartoon is inspired by, namely Proverbs Chapter Six, Verses 6-19, says:
"Lazy people should learn a lesson from the way ants live. They have no leader, chief, or ruler, but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter. How long is the lazy man going to lie in bed? When is he ever going to get up? "I'll just take a short nap," he says; "I'll fold my hands and rest a while." But while he sleeps, poverty will attack him like an armed robber.
Worthless, wicked people go around telling lies. They wink and make gestures to deceive you, all the while planning evil in their perverted minds, stirring up trouble everywhere. because of this, disaster will strike them without warning, ansd they will be fatally wounded.
There are seven things that the Lord hates and cannot tolerate:
A proud look,
a lying tongue,
hands that kill innocent people,
a mind that thinks up wicked plans,
feet that hurry off to do evil,
a witness who tells one lie after another,
and a man who stirs up trouble among friends

That Hideous Man (he's not really hideous - I've met him) commented yesterday that he'd like more ranting so there was a rant not of my own writing but one of King Solomon's. It's a great rant. And I enjoyed reading and copying it after ten hours in jail today, which certainly adds a certain je ne sais quoi to my understanding of it.

Recently I finished reading "People of The Lie: Hope for Healing Human Evil" by the late Scott Peck an American Christian psychiatrist. It's a really fascinating book, quite chilling and disturbing really, but I found it unputdownable. Scott Peck's not one of those who sees demonic spirits all over the place, attempting to cast the nicotine demon out of smokers and so on. He's scientific and, to a healthy degree, skeptical. His insight as a psychiatrist is fascinating. Sometimes I disagreed with bits of what he said, but don't pretend to be qualified to judge.

What interested me most were two things:

First of all, I suppose when I began reading a book about evil people I expected the examples to be people like Adolf Hitler or The Yorkshire Ripper. However, the examples he uses are, by and large, all people who haven't even broken the law. They are sometimes very successful people. But the evil manifests itself, perhaps, in their emotional neglect of, and emotional cruelty to, their children, or their spouse, for example. Evil people, in Peck's opinion, won't seek help because they are living a lie which they themselves believe, in which they are wholly good and innocent. He sees evil as an illness, which is an idea I've never come across before and find a bit strange still, even after reading the book, but I agree with his idea that mental wellness, in many cases, and especially in the case of evil, is about seeking truth and reality, by rejecting lies.

Secondly, he writes a particularly fascinating chapter about group evil. He goes into the answers to a question we have always probably asked, namely, how it can be that groups can corporately do such appallingly evil things without one or two or three of the people interrupting the action and stopping them in their tracks. His case study is based on the story of Mylai, which was a village in which American soldiers carried out a terrible atrocity during the Vietnam War. It was covered up not just by the army but really, Peck says, in the end by the American people. Given that the book was written twenty years ago, and given what we know now, it is chlling to read “Twenty years from now, when Vietnam has been largely forgotten, how easy it will be, with volunteers, to once again become involved in little foreign adventures. Such adventures will keep our military on its toes, provide it with real-life war games to test its prowess, and need not hurt or involve the average American citizen at all until it is too late.” (Apologies to my American readers. I'm not getting at you in this post! That would be the pot calling the kettle black somewhat.)


Diane Vogel Ferri said...

Scott Peck is a great author - I'm sorry he's gone. My favorite book is The Road Less Traveled.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

It's been a long time since I read People of the Lie. Many years ago, a relative (who shall be unnamed) tried to take control of our lives in a manipulative way and when we stood up for ourselves, said relative tried to get everyone else to kick us out of the family (and failed, thank goodness). Lots of people told us to read this book after it happened, so I did. I remember feeling at the time that it help me clarify the situation.

uphilldowndale said...

You might like to read
'Without Conscience' by Robert D Hare
it focus's on the 'disturbing world of the psychopaths among us'

That Hideous Man said...

OY - who are you calling "Not Hideous!"

Grossly offended, libelled on the www again!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed The Road Less Travelled - I might have to look out for this one, too.

I hate lies. They are so destructive! And manipulative behaviour too, which is also a form of dishonesty.

AnneDroid said...

Thanks y'all. And so sorry Hideous, no offence meant. :)