Thursday, May 08, 2003

Group Evil



Most people by now have seen the images of high school senior girls beating and humiliating younger high school girls after a powder puff football game. The rage and abuse exhibited in the video is nothing short of demonic--and I am reminded of M. Scott Peck's book People of the Lie where he devoted several chapters to the subject of "group evil."

Dr. Peck felt that the root cause of why a group suddenly becomes possessed were two fold--laziness and narcissism. Both of these are obviously at odds with any authentic spirituality (regardless of what religious tradition you embrace). He muses in the book about a future where educators will provide children with the tools to avoid being swept up in the tide of violence and destruction that such evil unleashes:

Children will, in my dream, be taught that laziness and narcissism are at the very root of all human evil, and why this is so. They will learn that each individual is of sacred importance. They will come to know that the natural tendency of the individual in a group is to forfeit his or her ethical judgment to the leader, and that this tendency should be resisted. And they will finally see it as each individual’s responsibility to continually examine himself or herself for laziness and narcissism and then to purify themselves accordingly. They will do this in the knowledge that such personal purification is required not only for the salvation of their individual souls but also for the salvation of their world.

Now, if you think I'm bringing this up to pound on the high school where this occurred you are wrong. I bring it up because that high school is very symbolic of what we as a country are becoming. If sloth and pride are the very roots of all human evil--we stand on the precipice of witnessing great acts of evil in our land. For we quickly are becoming a nation of obese lazy and narcissistic individuals. This isn't my opinion but the stuff of what Time and Newsweek are reporting weekly in their profiles of America.

The sacredness of every human must motivate us to take a stand against the evil that seeks domination and destruction before it is too late. There is much to pray about these days.