People of the Lie
People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil by M Scott Peck was written in 1983 originally but was reprinted in 1998. Peck examines the nature of evil in the context of his psychological practice.
Forever fleeing the light of self-exposure and the voice of their own conscience, they are the most frightened of human beings. They live their lives in sheer terror. They need not be consigned to any hell for they are already in it. C.S. Lewis wrote that God does not punish us, rather we punish ourselves. Those who are in hell are their by their own choice.
Evil is what kills the spirit he says. Evil is often associated with death and killing. Necrophilia is the desire to control someone and who is easier to control then someone who is already dead? Evil can also be considered those who are diagnosed as sociopathic or psychopathic.
The central defect of the evil is not the sin itself, but the refusal to acknowledge it. Hence people of the lie—people who are being lied to, lying and being lied about. Evils deeds do not an evil person make. There are those who commit crimes but are blessed by guilt.
On characteristic of the evil is scapegoating and projecting. They may see much evil in the world, but never their own. They try to destroy the evil in the world unaware that they are really trying to destroy the evil inside themselves. They would rather sacrifice others than themselves. Peck believes there is a subtle difference between the evil and the general sociopath.
Trying to escape suffering is the root cause of the evil in the world Peck thinks. In order to avoid self-criticism and imperfection. It is a form of narcissism. Eric Fromm called it a “malignant narcissism” in fact. They will not submit and never surrender. Instead, they will always try to control others.
Evils seems to run in families. However, Eric Fromm believes that people aren’t born evil, but rather it is a process of becoming. Born in the thrall of our parents and their evil, we are often the product of nurture as much as nature.
Fear is the most painful of emotions and is avoided at all costs by the evil. The evil live their lives in fear. Perhaps that is why people often use evil to fend off evil. Gargoyles, for example, were a symbol of evil to ward off even greater evils out there.
Satan, Peck says, is the father of lies. Demons are lies. Satan and demons have not power over us except when we believe in his lies. Evil can be seen as immature and can create their own “pretty hate machines” to protect themselves.I’m not sure I believe in Satan or Demons, but I do believe that lies are most wicked.