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. They never think of themselves as evil; on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others.
… The evil attack others instead of acing the own failures.
… Evil people are often destructive because they are attempting to destroy evil. The problem is that they misplace the locus of the evil. Instead of destroying others they should be destroying the sickness within themselves. As life often threatens their self-image of perfection, they are often busily engaged in hating and destroying that life - usually in the name of righteousness.
P.82-83 People of the Lie, Scott Peck
(All animals kill, and not necessarily just for food or self-defence. Our two well-fed cats, for instance, routinely horrify us by bringing into the house the shattered corpses of chipmunks they have murdered for the joy of the hunt. But there is something unique about human killing. Human killing is not instinctual.) One manifestation of the non-instinctual nature of human beings is the extraordinary variability of their behaviour. Some are hawks and some are doves. In regard to a form of killing, some love to hunt and others abhor hunting, while still others are indifferent on the matter. Not so with cats. All cats will hunt chipmunks, given the opportunity.
The almost total lack of instincts - elaborate, pre-determined, stereotypic behaviours patterns - is the most significant aspect of human nature. It is our lack of instincts that is responsible of the extraordinary variability and mutability of our nature and our behaviour. What replaces species-wide instincts in human beings is learned individual choice. Each of us is ultimately free to choose how we are going to behave. We are even free to reject what we have been taught and what is normal for our society. We may even reject the few instincts we have, as do those who rationally choose celibacy or submit themselves to death by martyrdom. Free will is the ultimate human reality.
P.280-281 People of the Lie, Scott Peck
The effects which follow too constant and intense a concentration upon evil are always disastrous. Those who crusade not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however, excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself.
No man can concentrate his attention upon evil, or even upon the idea of evil, and remain unaffected. To be more against the devil than for God is exceedingly dangerous. Every crusader is apt to go mad. He is haunted by the wickedness which he attributes to his enemies; it becomes in some sort of a part of him.
P.301 People of the Lie, Scott Peck...Continua
This is an incredible book. . . a very important book for understanding human evil. I very very highly recommend it for anyone in ministry.
Dr. Peck writes from a combined perspective of psychiatry and Christianity, a very nontraditional perspective.
I feel like I gained so much insight from this book. . ....Continua