The root of all evil

October.7. 2018

The root of all evil is not money or power but egocentricity.

Egocentricity is self over others. You’re only concerned with your needs and wants and not the needs of others.

Every source of evil arises from self-centeredness.

Take for example, a thief who steals from others.

You could say that it’s greed that’s driving the theft.

But greed in itself will not cause someone to steal; it’s the disregard for the other person that will drive the action.

For example, perhaps you see someone’s beautiful brand new bike and you want it for yourself.

But something in you says, wait a minute, how would the other person feel when he finds his bike has been stolen?

This empathy for the other person will in itself cause you to stop your action no matter how much you may covert it (And if it doesn’t, then it’s not true empathy.)

Because you care for the other person and you do not want to inflict pain on him.

Few people are born with total egocentricity and blatant disregard for others, so sometimes they have to rationalize their evil intentions.

The most effective rationale is to dehumanize the other person.

When you diminish a person, you’re relegating him to subhuman status and therefore, in your mind, your ‘compassion’ does not extend to that person.

You can still feel compassion for your neighbors who belong to the same group as you, you can even go to church on Sundays, but because these other people are ‘lesser’ than you, they are not entitled to your compassion.

This is the rationale that has caused one group of people to feel it’s perfectly okay to enslave another group of people.

It’s allowed entire nations to perpetrate genocide on other people (in the not so distant past too).

It’s the same rationale that causes otherwise ‘good’ people to do evil things.

When you somehow rationalize to yourself that your needs have precedence over the needs of others, you have effectively given yourself permission do anything you want with them.

If you read the daily news, every crime story will have as its basis, self gratification and self absorption.

From financial scams to outright theft, to random school shootings, to evil perpetrated in the name of religion, every act of evil comes from this basic precept:

Other people do not matter, my needs come first.

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