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Why are people evil? Why do they evade?

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Gabriel
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Reading Ayn Rand, I found many psychological notions, such as self-esteem, that I think are not treated widely enough in those books.

Let's take for example the issue of the existence of evil.

Simplistically put, all evil can be back-traced to the decision to escape reality, turn away, and ignore the feedback. My question is, why would someone do that?

I agree that it's 100% volitional choice, but all choices have causes. I do not think that there are any random choices. All of our choices are motivated by either bad or good premises/principles.

To give a personal example, bad experiences in my childhood led me to conclude that all women are evil bitches that I should avoid. Luckly, I saw the error in that, and addresses it, but at the time, with my knowledge of the world, it seemed right. It was my contact with the philosophy of Ayn Rand that determined me to reevalute my stance on the issue (I came to a contradiction).

What are the principles that teach one to avoid/evade reality? How should we tackle these evil principles?

Is there a book out there that explores, in-depth, the Objectivist psychology? How about a book discussing the classics (Freud, Adler, Jung, Skinner) from a Objectivist perspective.

I'm not so much interested on the fact that these people are wong, but WHY and WHERE they are wrong. (for a related discussion, see my topic on irrationality vs wrong premisses/principles)

Can bad people be helped/saved by pointing out particular contradictions they hold? What is the natre of evil, and how do bad people reform themselves. (as I understand, many Objectivists held different view before meeting Objectivism. Why did they change?)

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Simplistically put, all evil can be back-traced to the decision to escape reality, turn away, and ignore the feedback. My question is, why would someone do that?

I agree that it's 100% volitional choice, but all choices have causes. I do not think that there are any random choices. All of our choices are motivated by either bad or good premises/principles.

Have you read Atlas Shrugged? If so, read it again. The fundamental principle behind wilfully choosing to evade reality is the premise that a wish can make A into non-A.

It [irrationality] is the act of unfocusing your mind and inducing an inner fog to escape the responsibility of judgment--on the unstated premise that a thing will not exist if only you refuse to identify it, that A will not be A so long as you do not pronounce the verdict, "It is." John Galt in Atlas Shrugged

I believe that this premise, that a wish can make A into non-A, is based on the primacy of consciousness mentality. For more on the primacy of consciousness mentality vs. the primacy of existence mentality I refer you too Chapter 1 of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff.

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That strikes me as a rather childish and pointless principle/mentality. I sincerly can't imagine people that dumb!

Of course, we might disagree on the nature of "A", but noone will have the audacity to formulate and uphold this "principle" rationally.

I always thought that the characters in Atlas Shrugged are exgerated for artistic purposes. I didn't thought that their evil has any corespondence, at that scale, to reality.

I'll try to dig into some documents I have about different schools of thought related to personality (Freud, Adler, Allport, etc) to see is this conceps comes up, and if it's an indetified defense mechanism... I'll do a post here, if I find anything relevant.

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Most people do not conceptually identify that as their attitude on life. Very few people actually know that what they are doing is wishing that an A will become a non-A somehow. If you really look at things, the attitude is quite prevalent. The only people who come even close to conceptually identifying that A is non-A are philosophers, specifically, of the Hegelian/Kantian variety. (In fact, Hegel was the one who came up with a "new" system of logic, called "dialectic" logic, which is based on the notion that existence is full of numerous contradictions, and A is non-A.)

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