Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core. If totalitarianism can decay, can it not be transformed? A belief that he or she is unique or “special”. Drones for full physical control or their diabolical stepbrother of electronic and financial means  for full virtual control, un-leveled the local playing field globally again – and the level field has fungus on it. If you find any joy and solace in this labor of love, please consider becoming a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good lunch. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Like? Totalitarian policy is as a case of the government beginning to believe their own propaganda about their narcissist exceptionalism. Our traditional societal heroes are wrong, because they are the exceptions. We don’t yet know. Why? Opportunistic evil passes like unconscious complexes (in a Jungian sense – negative energy) through the world, clustered in supranational institutions and financial concentrations, that take up residence in individuals or cultures from time to time. The role of the IMF in the current EU-crises and  global events has been largely overlooked. Hannah Arendt most memorably employed it in both the subtitle and closing words of Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, her book on the trial of Nazi lieutenant-colonel Adolf Eichmann. You can also become a Spontaneous Supporter with a one-time donation in any amount: Partial to Bitcoin? Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Don’t bother demonizing  terrorists as being inherently evil (as Satan is evil). They organize their life around this. In any event, the fearful imagination has the great advantage to dissolve the sophistic-dialectical interpretations of politics which are all based on the superstition that something good might result from evil. It can give way to a society with some space. Your support really matters. Arendt emphasized repeatedly  that totalitarianism differs essentially from other forms of political oppression known to us such as despotism, tyranny and dictatorship. It was just a mild extrapolation of past totalitarian reality and a abstract picture of today’s totalitarian possibilities. Sure, there are also clear political struggles and psychological motives behind the supranational and unipolar debate: the establishment join in the hope for the blessings of a centralist post-democratic state, because they share belief in the stability of the state as sole power (and on its non accountable priests). Complement it with Dostoyevsky on why there are no bad people and Mary McCarthy — Arendt’s longtime friend and correspondent — on how we decide whether evil is forgivable, then revisit Arendt on lying in politics, the meaning of “refugee,” how tyrants use isolation as a weapon of oppression, and the crucial difference between truth and meaning. A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise. Obviously you can read the banality of evil as a description of the ordinariness of the people involved, or as a statement about the optimisation of work in international institutions like the IMF or others. In George Orwell’s dark vision, the year 1984 would see the triumph of totalitarianism in Europe—an era of Newspeak and Doublethink, of dictatorial cruelty and dehumanizing coercion. ...seen from Christianity, History, Science and Philosophy. They could indulge in hypernationalistic talk even as they prepared to destroy the body politic of their own nation, because tribal nationalism, with its immoderate lust for conquest, was one of the principal powers by which to force open the narrow and modest limits of the nation-state and its sovereignty. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man. The term totalitarian, first used in the late ’20s, was not fully developed until the late ’40s and early ’50s, when a classical literature arose describing a new kind of tyranny created in this century. Banality of heroism. The masses have to be won by propaganda. A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment. He became known for his 1971 Stanford prison experiment and has since authored various introductory psychology books, textbooks for college students, and other notable works, including The Lucifer Effect. This was the revolutionary and, like every revolutionary idea, at the time controversial point that Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975) made in 1962, when The New Yorker commissioned her, a Jew of who had narrowly escaped from Nazi Germany herself, to travel to Jerusalem and report on the trial of Adolf Eichmann — one of the chief architects of the Holocaust. Politically speaking, it is that under conditions of terror most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson of the countries to which the Final Solution was proposed is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. The deeds were monstrous, but the doer—at least, the very effective one now on trial—was quite ordinary, commonplace, and neither monstrous nor demonic. The Human Condition (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958). This moral cynicism, their belief that everything is permitted, rests on the solid conviction that everything is allowed to them. Dante's Divine Comedy - symbolism and archetypes, Isis, Mithras and Jesus: Clash of male and female Archetypes in classical Rome, Anima on the wheel - Female Archetypes of Toni Wolff,…. Note: the first two books are available as free of charge ebooks. The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.In this sense, truth, even if it does not prevail in public, possesses an ineradicable primacy over all falsehoods. Conversely, if total control fails due to today’s interconnected multipolar world, what happens to single-minded direction? It is this form of perceived omnipotence that leads to bullying and manipulating the citizens and the failed Hero acting of the elite: the weak king, the cruel warrior, the wicked magicians, the narcissistic lover. Need to cancel a recurring donation? The complex or the shadow took over. It is “thought-defying,” as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. Here's an example. “If you’re dumped as a leader, it might help you to feel special – to think, well, their loss. It’s a cliché to say that most politicians become arrogant if they are in office for more than about six or seven years,  and become quite disconnected from reality. Summary. It bases itself on loneliness, on the experience of not belonging oneself, which is among the most radical and desperate experiences of man. Arendt, who was born into a secular family of German Jews present-day Hanover and grew up in Königsberg (now Kaliningrad). The truth about evil that needs attention now is its shallow, deadly, fungus quality. The globalization, democratization and efficiency  of the instruments of destruction and control  mean a quantum leap in the delivery systems of evil. It takes me hundreds of hours a month to research and compose, and thousands of dollars to sustain. Human evil occurs as a result of conscious intentions and decisions made by humans. If sheer ruthless vigilance could destroy any center of opposition, even any island of independent thought, then — aside from external conquest, with humanitarian  pretext — totalitarian rule could never be reversed. The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil. Subscribe to this free midweek pick-me-up for heart, mind, and spirit below — it is separate from the standard Sunday digest of new pieces: “Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it,” the great French philosopher and activist Simone Weil wrote in 1933 as she contemplated how to be a complete human being amid a world that seemed to be falling apart. In 1963, her writings about the trial were published as Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (public library) — a sobering reflection on “the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us — the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil… To Arendt’s mind, Eichmann willingly did his part to organize the Holocaust — and an instrumental part it was — out of neither anti-semitism nor pure malice, but out of a non-ideological, entirely more opportunistic combination of careerism and obedience. Cummings on Art, Life, and Being Unafraid to Feel, The Writing of “Silent Spring”: Rachel Carson and the Culture-Shifting Courage to Speak Inconvenient Truth to Power, Timeless Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers, A Rap on Race: Margaret Mead and James Baldwin’s Rare Conversation on Forgiveness and the Difference Between Guilt and Responsibility, The Science of Stress and How Our Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease, Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Her Moving Elegy for Her Soul Mate, Rebecca Solnit on Hope in Dark Times, Resisting the Defeatism of Easy Despair, and What Victory Really Means for Movements of Social Change, The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone, Against the Slippery Slope of Injustice: Amanda Palmer Reads Wendell Berry’s Stunningly Prescient Poem “Questionnaire”, Joseph Brodsky on the Greatest Antidote to Evil, Mary McCarthy on Human Nature, Moral Choice, and How We Decide Whether Evil Is Forgivable, Famous Writers' Sleep Habits vs.