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Evil: inside human cruelty and violence
Format: Book
Publication Year: 2001
Publisher: W. H. Freeman
Place of Publication: New York
Source ID: shanti-sources-48061
Collection: Altruism
Abstract: [This book addresses the questions of] why is there evil, and what can scientific research tell us about the origins and persistence of evil behavior?Integrating evidence from psychology, criminology, sociology, history, anthropology, and other disciplines to provide insight into the roots of cruelty and violence, Baumeister finds . . . examples, both historical and modern, that address compelling human issues: how do "ordinary" people find themselves beating their wives? Murdering rival gang members? Torturing political prisoners? Betraying their colleagues to the secret police? Why do cycles of revenge so often escalate? With an examination of our culture's myths about evil, the book progresses through the "whys" of evil toward a discussion of a paradox in human psychology—our tendency toward guilt, a natural mechanism that suppresses evil, and our inclination toward ambivalence, a feeling that enables evil to flourish. Baumeister . . . examines the gap between the victim's viewpoint and that of the perpetrator, and also explores various elements behind evil, from egotism and revenge to idealism and sadism.