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"Because They Are Evil"
This is what David Caruso told me about a month after Sept 11 when I asked him why he thought a person would instruct someone to crash an airplane into an office building. He said, "Because they are evil."
David has a PhD in Psychology from Case Western University. He is also a "postgraduate fellow" in the psychology department at Yale University. He is also co-author of the MSCEIT test of emotional intelligence. David is also a member of the "EI Consortium." And he helps puts on workshops on emotional intelligence which he and his partner charge around $2,000 per participant to go to. (See www.cjwolfe.com)
We were walking along the sidewalk in his town in New England. Then I asked him where he thinks evil comes from and he said something like "I don't know, but we have to stop it any way we can."
Later he told me it might be a good idea to use tactical nuclear bombs to blow up the caves in Afghanistan where Bin Laden might have been hiding.
David is called an "expert" on emotional intelligence and is trained in psychology, yet he actually told me that people do things "because they are evil."
I don't want to criticize David personally so much as I want to criticize the larger systems that have shaped David and so many others. By the larger systems I mean the religious, educational and cultural systems. I assume that when David was young he was taught that some people are "evil." Evidently enough people around him throughout his life reinforced this teaching so he still believes it to this day, even with all his intellectual intelligence.
It is hard to blame someone like David for using the word "evil" anymore than we could blame someone from France for using the word "merci." Yet at the same time, I ask myself why someone as smart as David wouldn't have sought out new ways of thinking, just like a person in France could seek out and learn new languages.
Perhaps one reason is because he was never encouraged to do so. Perhaps he was not rewarded often enough when he questioned what he was told and taught. He may have even been punished or disapproved of when he did.
All of this is understandable, but if we are going to progress in our attempts to prevent future loss of life, we absolutely must go beyond such a simplistic explanation for why people do what they do in our world.
See also the war march question from the MSCEIT test
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