Wisdom from my son

Our little one’s brain has been on fire. So many interesting questions and discussions! I can hardly believe the above exchange transpired between me and this cheery little fellow:

Tyoma

Tyoma also badgered me about “bad people.”  He could not understand the purpose of  “bad people.”   Alas! How to explain to a five-year old what I have trouble grasping myself!

Comments

    • A Quiet Week says:

      That’s a stunner of a question, Mados!

      The answer lies in one’s perspective. A religious person might answer in terms of their faith.

      I view the world from a scientific stand point. I guesss my answer would be “bad people’s purpose would be to make more bad people.”

      A “bad paradigm” will eventually get a bad person overthrown, executed, or imprisoned. Humanity thrives on altruism (blended with self interest!).

      Just thinking. What do you think?

  1. Mados says:

    ‘The purpose of bad people’ and ‘bad people’s purpose’ are 2 different questions…

    ‘The purpose of bad people’ suggests that everything has a purpose/function, so the question isn’t neutral. It is sort of faith-loaded and assumes an overall plan or meaningful pattern. (I didn’t think of that when I asked it)

    ‘Bad people’s purpose’ asks about bad people’s agenda. I don’t think bad people have an intentional agenda, I think they are trigger-based and act mostly out of inertia and bad norms coupled with lack of empathy (doesn’t consider others’ pain relevant), lack of altruism (focus narrowly on selfish gains) and lack of foresight (focus on short term gains) – in combination. So automatic drivers and lack of inhibitions rather than a purpose – that is what I think.

    The question of bad people is extremely interesting and relevant … ‘the psychology of evil’. Real answers could maybe potentially reduce severe social and political risks – from school yard bullying to nuclear war.

    Of course for the discussion to be useful it would require a working definition of ‘bad people’.

    • A Quiet Week says:

      Insightful. Thank you for such interesting comments. You spark my brain! I can see clearly what you mean about “The purpose of bad people’ vs ‘bad people’s purpose’ .

      My son, of course was asking the less existential question. And in many ways I find such questions and answers to be highly soothing. They put order to a world of chaos.

      I have always had an interest in the psychology of evil. I suppose it stems from trying to understand the motives of all people, really. From the earliest age, I can recall thinking, “Well, why would anyone do that?” (say, play with dolls).

      I don’t know if you’ve read any books of the topic, but I’ve read “The Lucifer Principle,”Dark Nature,” “The Killer Next Door,” and just about every true crime/profiling book on evil I could get my hands on. It was a special interest of mine for a while…

      • Mados says:

        From the earliest age, I can recall thinking, “Well, why would anyone do that?” (say, play with dolls).

        Same here… the world is quite a puzzling place. Sometimes it seems like no one at all is normal.

      • Mados says:

        Yes. Actually it is true, no description of normality is so exact and ‘true’ that it is possible to be 100% normal. Those who claim to be normal are really just claiming to be fair approximations!

  2. Mados says:

    I have read below books on the topic and would like to recommend them.

    1) ‘The Psychology of War: comprehending its mystique and its madness’ by Lawrence LeShan… I found it intriguing and relevant. I can relate to war being like participating in an epic good vs evil story, taking part of history and how it can grab people and transform their at other times rational mind. (not that I agree with all their conclusions)

    2) ‘Fly Away Peter’ by David Malouf. A fiction story that illustrates what happens to a good guy’s mind during war time and makes him sign up as voluntary in a war his country is involved in far away from his world (Australia).

    3) ‘The Exception’ by Christian Jungersen. A fiction story about workplace bullying and its relation to the psychology of evil, genocide and wars.

    I think I’ve read more about it, bot those are the books that stand out.

    • A Quiet Week says:

      Thanks for the recommendations! I have heard about the ‘Psychology of War’ before. I’ll definitely pick it up. I’ll check out our local library for the other titles. While I read some fiction, sometimes very worthy books wind up gathering dust!

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