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See All As Evil

November 20, 2012



The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

Friedrich Nietzsche


     Ran across this quote on Reddit and it reinforced an opinion I’ve held for a while, which is if you go seeking ugly you’ll probably find it.

     The psychology of the investigator is often the most important factor of any evaluation.  This meaning that the frame of mind will often color or even overwhelm the evidence at hand.  Let us be clear.  There is no such thing as an impartial observer, no matter how hard they try.  It’s impossible, inhuman.  We are, every single one of us, shaped by a lifetime of impressions, misunderstandings, misinformation.  We are battered by a constant barrage, often not consciously registered, but invariably imprinted on our mind, of information, opinions, truths and lies and most of us wander confused among all this.  Every bit of this influences the way we look at the world, how we make decisions and what we see.  No one can help this.

     So if I go into a situation with my opinions, as I must, I will probably derive from what I see what I expected to see.  That’s how my brain works.  I’ve tried hard to eliminate this, but cannot.  I don’t think anyone can.  The best you can do is to understand this is how human brains work and try to make allowances.

     I first came to this idea while trying to understand the foul workings of a racist’s brain, the old know your enemy thing.  Best I could come up with is that, if you are indoctrinated for years and years by your family, society, culture that black people are bad, when you see them you will see bad.  The brain has been trained to that view.  Can this be shaken?  Can a real racist ever really change?  I’m afraid I’ve seen little evidence for this but, then, I see evil when I see prejudice and can’t pretend impartiality. 

      The problem is that this conflicts with a notion I picked up from the Existentialists, which is that we decide what sort of people we will be and can change our minds, characters whenever we please.  Just because one’s been a coward 100 times doesn’t mean one can’t be a hero for 101.  I agree with this because it pleases me, but with true believers, as I’ve said, I’ve seen little evidence that they can.  I believe it, but think it takes a sort of strength many just can’t muster.

     I agree with Nietzsche on his statement.  I believe that the base maneuver of a power hungry Church was to convince people that they were foul, evil things condemned to eternal fires and helpless to save themselves without supernatural intervention.  I also believe that this mindset affects the majority, even those who have rejected the church because it has so long been hammered into our psychological and emotional processes that we still feel so even when, intellectually, we know better.

     I also think that if you tell people they’re bad long enough they will believe it.

     We see what we have been told to see.   


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