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It is a very basic weakness, and it it the cause of all the difficulties we've been talking about. It's the major cause of your bad marriage. It's the cause of y "Evil can be conquered only by love. It's the cause of your symptoms, your obsessions and compulsions. Whenever the going gets a little bit rough, you sell out. When you're faced with the realization that your're going to die one of these days, you run away from it.

Democracy in America, Part II. by Alexis de Tocqueville

You don't think about it, because it's 'morbid. Instead of facing it and doing something about it, you don't think about that either. And then because your've run away from these things that are really inescapable, they come to haunt you in these form of your symptoms, your obsessions, and compulsions These symptoms could be your salvation, You could say, "These symptoms mean that I'm haunted. I better find out what these ghosts are, and clean them out of my house.

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So you try to run away from your symptoms, too. Instead of facing them and what they mean, you try to get rid of them. And when they're not so easy to get rid of, you go running to anything that will give you relief no matter how wicked or evil or destructive. You plead you shouldn't be accountable Of course it was [done] under duress.


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Why else would one do that, except to rid oneself of some kind of suffering? The question is not duress. The question is how people deal with duress. Some withstand it and overcome it, ennobled. Some break and sell out. You sell out, and I must say, you do it rather easily.

An encyclopedia of philosophy articles written by professional philosophers.

That's a key word for you, George. You like to think of yourself as easygoing. Joe Cool. And I suppose you are easygoing, but I don't know where you're going easy, except into hell. You're always looking for the easy way out, George. Not the right way. The easy way. Where you're faced with a choice between the right way and the easy way, you'll take the easy way every time. The painless way. In fact, you'll do anything to find the easy way out, even it if means selling your soul. As I said, I'm glad you're feeling guilty. If you didn't feel bad about taking the easy way out, no matter what, then I wouldn't be able to help you If you're willing to face the painful realities of your life--your terrorful childhood, your miserable marriage, your mortality, your own cowardice--I can be of some assistance.

And I am sure that we will succeed. But if all you want is the easiest possible relief form pain, then I expect you are the devil's man, and I don't see any way to help you. The feeling of revulsion may be almost instant if the evil encountered is blatant. If the evil is more subtle, the revulsion may develop only gradually as the relationship with the evil one slowly deepens. The feeling of revulsion can be extremely useful to the therapist. It can be a diagnostic tool par excellence. It can signify more truly and rapidly than anything else that the therapist is in the presence of an evil human being.

Evil is revolting because it is dangerous. It will contaminate or otherwise destroy a person who remains too long in its presence. Unless you know very well what you are doing, the best thing you can do when faced with evil is to run the other way. The revulsion counter-transference is an instinctive or if you will, a God-given and saving early-warning radar system.

Describing an encounter with an evil person, one woman wrote, it was "as if I'd suddenly lost my ability to think.

Lies confuse. The evil are "people of the lie" deceiving others as they also build layer upon layer of self-deception. This is because the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it. While they seem to lack any motivation to BE good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their "goodness" is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are, the "people of the lie.

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They cannot or will not tolerate the pain of self-reproach Because they are such experts at disguise, it is seldom possible to pinpoint the maliciousness of the evil. The disguise is usually impenetrable. But if not incomprehensible, it is characteristically inscrutable. The evil always hide their motives with lies.

The best place to look, then, is among the parents of emotionally disturbed children or adolescents.

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I do not mean to imply that all emotionally disturbed children are victims of evil or that all such parents are malignant persons. The configuration of evil is present only in a minority of these cases. It is, however, a substantial minority. And the symptoms of family disorder--depression, suicide, failing grades, --were attributed to the leadership. The suffering of the children was a symptom of the sickness of the parents. Many but certainly not all of the parents of schizophrenic children seem to be ambulatory schizophrenics or evil or both.


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  • View 1 comment. Mar 08, Shawn rated it it was amazing. After hearing Dr. Howard speak about this book I ordered it and was in the process of tossing it on the pile of my anticipated reading list when I decided to read the introduction. I never stopped reading and three days later I had finished this book, which for me proved to be a spell binding page-turner, in which Dr. Peck relates certain of his experiences as a psychiatrist, particularly in psychotherapy with evil people.

    Perhaps the most mesmerizing thing about the book is Dr. As I read these characterizations, at least half dozen different people that I know came to mind, including myself on more than one occasion. Peck also speaks a good bit about Satan in the book. Peck believes that one can call the devil into existence or out of existence. Peck insists that Satan emerges in narcissism and has no power except in a human body. Peck says that Satan must use human beings to do its deviltry.

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    Satan cannot murder except with human hands. The only power Satan has is through human belief in its lies and its principal weapon is establishing fear.

    And Peck speaks of Hell in the book. Peck believes that those in hell are there by their own choice and that they could walk right out of hell if they would relinquish their pride and ask for forgiveness, but they are so caught up in hate that they actually despise goodness. Peck believes Hell dwellers are not in heaven because they personally despise heaven, as they openly despise all altruism and philanthropy. They relish in taking from others and giving little or nothing. For Peck, Hell is a state of being that people fashion for themselves, a state of separateness from God.