Emotional Intelligence Home Page


"Because they are evil"

I really want to believe that David Caruso did not actually say this. (reference)

It is a little like someone in Giuliana's family wanting to believe that Giuliana didn't really kill her own mother. (Giuliana is an 18 year old law student in Lima, Peru who stabbed her mother to death on March 5, 2005.)

I'd really rather believe he was just joking. Or that it was only a bad dream, or a nightmare, about the world gone wrong.

As I sit here and think about how serious this actually is, how seriously flawed our educational and religious belief systems are, I hardly know what to say.

But I have to say something. I need to write about this or it will eat me up from the inside.

I almost want to cry now. I ask myself, "How could someone so smart, who has studied psychology in Yale University, actually say this?" When I first posted the story about my conversation with David, I was hoping David might tell me that he was only speaking impulsively that day. I was hoping he would reassure me that he didn't actually believe this. I was hoping he would write me with a more intelligent explanation for why someone would want to instruct a group of people to hijack airplanes and crash them into office buildings in the USA.

But to this date, David still has not offered me any other explanation. He still has not even said he regrets saying what he said. He has said he regrets inviting me to the EI workshop and to his home, but he has not said he regrets anything he said.

This tells me David still has not taken much responsibility for his own actions, his own beliefs, his own feelings. Instead he seems to want to blame me for telling people the truth about what I heard and saw when I was with him and his family.

I feel very certain that David will not deny anything I have written. I also feel fairly sure he does not feel particularly misrepresented. In our correspondence, at least, he has never tried to deny anything nor has he said he feels misrepresented. If he does feel misrepresented then I invite him to let us know in what ways.

David appears to have decided not to write to me anymore, so I suggest he put a statement on his own website if he feels misrepresented or if I have not spoken the truth. This way he doesn't have to be worried that I will post one of his mails without his permission or say something out of context which misrepresents him.

David might also be not writing me because he thinks I have decided to stop emailing him. I did say in one of my journal entries that I did not plan to email him anymore. I said something like "I will just say what I have to say on my site, and if he wants to read it, he can. But I won't send messages, like missiles, into his home. The messages are here on this site waiting for him if he wants to read them; if he wants to learn from them."

I would like to teach David a few things about emotions and emotional understanding. And I would like him to stop marketing and promoting the tests which he has developed which supposedly measure a person's emotional intelligence. I can't control what David does, however. Nor, of course, can he control what I do with my site. But he can write something on his own site if he wants and he can let me know about it so I can read it and put a link to it.

I can't force David to learn from me anymore than I can force someone to learn English when I teach it here in South America. All I can do is offer lessons to the willing. If David is a willing student I would actually feel honored to try to help him learn.

I hope I do not sound arrogant or appear to feel superior to David. I did feel arrogant and I did feel superior when I first started writing about this. But I hope that my words now reflect my changed feelings. (I wrote something about feeling arrogant earlier today -- arr_powr.htm, now in unused files.)

My new feelings are first, a sense of seriousness. I see how serious this problem really is. Second, some combination of fear and sadness. I feel fear that there will be... no, I can't say it is a fear. It is a knowledge. It is a feeling of sureness that there will be much more killing and destruction. Much more needless waste of human life and global resources. The death and destruction will continue until enough people around the world have a better understanding of human emotions and their influence on human behavior.

I also feel sadness when I think of the needless pain which has already occured and which will continue for years. And I feel a sense of impotence knowing there is very little I can do. All I can, it seems to me, is write about this. Try to tell as many people what I know, what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have discovered and what I have felt. And what I still feel.

I put a very high value on my feelings. This is one thing which I hope the world takes from the concept of emotional intelligence: to put a higher value on human feelings.

My feelings motivate me, they drive me, they force me, they obligate me to write.

I don't know what else I can say about this statement of David's right now. But saying this helps me feel a bit less internal pressure. There is more that I want to say but the words are not finding their way to my fingertips.

So I will end this by saying again that I really would like to believe that David did not actually say "Because they are evil." I would feel better if I could convince myself, maybe even trick myself into believing that it was all in my mind and it never really happened. That it was all just a bad dream.

Yet my sadness tells me that David did actually say this. Just as the sadness in Giuliana's family tells them that Giuliana really did kill the person who was a mother to some, a sister to others, an aunt to many, a daughter to two and a wife to one.

There may be another similarity here. I am inclined to say that David can't really understand how serious this is. It might be like Giuliana not wanting to believe that she really killed her mother and not wanting to think about the seriousness of it, either.

If David took some time and thought about how it could have come about that he could have lived in, and studied psychology in, a country which claims to have world-class univesities and still not have a better understanding of emotions, he might feel nearly crushed. At the least, he might feel very insecure and uncomfortable -- feelings which might be too much for him to take, so he might just stop thinking about it, which would, of course, be a natural defense reaction.

And if David took some time and thought about how he could have been raised within one of the world's most powerful and influential relgious beliefs systems, the Catholic religion, and then have studied all those hours so he could convert to Judaism, and still not have learned more about human nature than something as simplistic as attributing causes of human behavior to people being "evil", then it might shake his entire sense of what actually is "right" and "wrong" or "good" and "evil". This also might be too much for him to think about.

And if David took some time and thought about the fact that he is one of the authors of a test which is being used around the world now to measure emotional intelligence, and part of that test is supposed to measure a person's understanding of emotions, yet he himself does not understand emotions as well as he thought he did, then it might embarass him to a degree that is nearly impossible to live with.

So for all of these reasons it is likely that David may not make much time to stop and think about all of this. But while I can't control David, I can try to at least put some pressure on him to give all of this some more thought. And his friends who read this might be able to help him come up with a better response than silence and avoidance.

If I just stop writing about it, he may or may not give it much more thought. But if I keep writing about it, I have some chance of influencing him. Also, I am sure others are learning something important, very important, from my speaking out. And if nothing else, perhaps David will feel sufficiently provoked to try to defend himself some more. To me this would be a healthy step. At least it would move our conflict from what seems to be a stalemate right now. Or maybe he will go on the offensive and try to attack me some more, perhaps he will try again to make me feel guilty for writing the truth.

But I don't feel very guilty. I feel sad that I have to bring pain and embarrassement or humiliation to someone who I once felt admiration for, but I don't really feel guilty. If I were lying about him or misrepresenting him then I would feel guilty, and in fact, I would not even be doing this if that were the case.

But when I think about who is responsible here -- me for writing about it, or David and the people who taught him, and failed to teach him -- then I don't feel guilty. David's deepest pain is not coming from me writing about the truth. It is coming from the truth itself.

At this point I truly want to help David. I want to help him partly because I feel... well, let me just say it is partly for personal reasons and partly for "professional" reasons.

For professional reasons, since David is now fairly well-known and is often or at least at times, a spokesperson for the field of emotional intelligence, then I would like to help him be a better spokesperson. I would like people to have more credibility in him, since he is one of the few people in the field of EI who I would say has a pretty high level of integrity.

And for personal reasons, I would like to get back on speaking terms with him. For this to happen I suspect he is going to have to accept more responsibility for what he said, for his beliefs and for his feelings. Instead of blaming me and feeling regret about inviting me to his house and workshop, I suspect that he will feel less resentful towards me if he looks at things from a different perspective. This helped me when I was feeling resentful once, as I wrote about on my section on resentment. I think it is fair to say we can all still learn something about managing resentment. But let me take that to a deeper level.

When I say resentment I am talking about a feeling or a combination of feelings that are either a) poisoning us or b) trying to teach us something or c) trying to help us or help others. Let me try to explain.

By poisoning I mean negative feelings that are not helping us in any way. They are simply eating us away from the inside. They are causing us to be defensive, hostile, sarcastic, bitter. All of this is physically unhealty for us and toxic for us to spread around. We could even say it is contagious and we are spreading around unhealthy emotions. Or we could say we are spreading emotional pollution. David lives, by the way, in a country which I suspect already has one of the world's highest levels of this "emotional pollution". I have no doubt that it is partly a result of this emotional pollution that David has started feeling regret, resentment and defensiveness. These feelings are all contagious and are widespread in the USA. I think it would be fair to say they are found in epidemic levels, in fact.

But getting back to the three possible effects of resentment...

The second effect of, or we could say, purpose of, resentment may be to teach us something. If I feel resentful about something and I look for a lesson from that experience my resentment will diminish quickly. But let me clarify that. Let me say "If I look for a positive lesson." I say this because David could be telling himself, "I learned not to trust Steve Hein" or "I learned not to invite people I don't know into my home." But I would say that these are not particularly positive or helpful lessons. I suspect that these kinds of lessons will not do much reduce David's feelings of resentment. In fact, they might just add fuel to them. And at the very least, they will stop David from feeling open to learning from me in the future.

This is one of my biggest sources of pain, actually, from this whole situation: the knowledge that David will now be less likely to learn from me, first of all, and second, that he will be less likely to support or endorse my work. But my work is doing alright by itself, so what hurts me more is knowing that I have lost, perhaps, my ability to influence David in a way which I truly believe is a) healthy for him and b) helpful to humanity.

The last of the three effects or purposes of resentment is to help others. For example, when we see injustice and it bothers us and keeps bothering us and we keep seeing it again and again, our feelings turn to resentment. This resentment could drive us to take some action to try to correct the injustice, which would be a positive thing for everyone.

There is something else I want to say about resentment. Resentment itself is a secondary feeling. The first time we feel something which pains us, we don't feel resentful. We feel the original pain. For example, the first time someone insults us, we feel insulted. If that person had never done anything to cause us pain, and if we had never been insulted before, and the person quickly apologizes, we are not going to feel resentful.

Resentment is something which builds up. It is therefore a higher level feeling, and thus more powerful. Resentment can lead to hatred and the hatred can then lead to motivation to kill and destroy. What is needed for this emotional chain of events is repeated feelings of injustice and other forms of pain without any relief or personal self-growth. And this is exactly what has happened in the case of terrorism.

If we learn to manage resentment, we will prevent hatred and its natural consequences: death and destruction. We will, in other words, learn to prevent terrorism and the killing which follows by those who believe they are a fighting a justifiable "war on terrorism."

So I would suggest that when we feel resentful it is a sign that we need to keep studying resentment, and keep studying how to manage it so we can prevent it from building and leading to even more toxic emotions. We also need to study how we can stop creating more of it. I want to emphasize that the best time to study resentment is when we are actually feeling it. As I have written, true understanding requires feeling. We can't just read about resentment. We have to feel it, and while feeling it, look deeper -- look for the underlying feelings, the primary feelings. Then we have a chance to learn from it and become wiser with our new knowledge and understanding. And with this new wisdom we can help ourselves and others, while preventing the resentment from poisoning either us or those around us.

S. Hein
March 17, 2005
Chiclayo, Peru


Primary and secondary feelings