Human Evil, Spiritual Evil, and their relationship to Modern Mental Disorders

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It amazes me that people are okay with going to the doctor, i.e., a medical doctor for medicinal purposes and other things of course, yet they look down on others who visit psychiatrists and psychologists.  What are medical doctors?  Are they not experts when it comes to medicine?  What are psychiatrists and psychologists?  We are, or should be, aware of the fact that Psychiatrists focus on mental illness, while Psychologists focus on human behavior.  Human behavior is rooted in biology, which means “The study of living organisms, divided into many specialized fields that cover their morphology, physiology, anatomy, behavior, origin, and distribution.” [1] Behavior is important when it comes to people.  I have learned to not put much merit, if any, on what people say.  I have learned that people do what they believe.[2]  Belief, in my view, is expressed through actions.  Not words.  Words are learned through a social context.[3]  You hear something that appears good to you or something that you perceive that is good from the person from whom you’ve heard it from.  You, in turn, repeat those words because they appear to you or to the person that you are speaking with, in your mind, to have merit.  You are doing this to benefit from the particular person’s company in some way for whatever reason.

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Why focus so much on behavior? It is because those that lack decent or what is perceived as decent behavior, are said to either be deliberate in their pursuits, or to have a mental illness.  Mental illness shows the lack of a personality or capable mind to deal with things in a more normal way.  Normal, of course, can be relative based on the current societal context and conditioning.  However, that does not negate the fact that “bad” behavior still shows a relationship with some form of mental illness, whether minor or severe.  Medicine might help your physical, non-mental illness, but what can it provide for your mental illness, or mental well-being which is rooted in personality?  What is personality? Personality is defined by the Oxford Dictionary Online, “The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character”.  What is character?  Character is defined as, “The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.   So Psychiatrists focus on the mental part of a person, and the Psychologists focus on the behavior of a person, which is a result of the mental part of a person.  What does this say about a person without morals?  Could it be that a person that lacks “decent” morals lack good character due to their mental state?  I do believe that it is possible that a person who can be made aware, however they can be made AWARE, that they have a problem, in other words, convinced that they need to change something, that they are capable of correcting their problem.  They may need help, but they can ultimately change their mental issue.  Others, who are unable to be convinced that they, in fact, have a problem, are perhaps unable to change.  Perhaps, this is why our mental health professionals, i.e. psychiatrists, state that there is no cure for some common personality disorders, though there are forms of treatment.  The specific personalities being, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc., are those which are being spoken of. (Association)  For example, let’s take a look at Narcisstic Personality Disorder.  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, states that those with Narcisstic Personality Disorder: “A sense of entitlement is evident in these individuals’ unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment (Criterion 5). They expect to be catered to and are puzzled or furious when this does not happen. For example, they may assume that they do not have to wait in line and that their priorities are so important that others should defer to them, and then get irritated when others fail to assist “in their very important work.” This sense of entitlement, combined with a lack of sensitivity to the wants and needs of others, may result in the conscious or unwitting exploitation of others (Criterion 6). They expect to be given whatever they want or feel they need, no matter what it might mean to others. For example, these individuals may expect great dedication from others and may overwork them without regard for the impact on their lives. They tend to form friendships or romantic relationships only if the other person seems likely to advance their purposes or otherwise enhance their self-esteem. They often usurp special privileges and extra resources that they believe they deserve because they are so special.” (Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

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Now, from what was stated above concerning treatment being available yet no cure for the above stated mental disorders, I would say that healing begins in the mind.  I take the position that if you are unable to be convinced that you have a problem, mental or otherwise; then no healing can come.  Accepting that you have an issue is the beginning of the realization that there might be aid somewhere if you in fact desire to receive it, if you decide to search for it, or somehow it comes to you in some other way.  It all comes down to choice.  But if you are convinced that you are fine where you are, for whatever reason, then nothing will change other than your “condition” will perhaps get worse.

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Let’s take a look at a work done by M. Scott Peck, M.D.  In his work entitled, “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”, he discusses human evil and spiritual evil.  There are differences between the two, yet I see that there is also a relationship between them.  I understand the “problems” or “issues” that some might have with the concept of good and evil. [4]  Whether you are religious or not, it might help explain things from a different perspective.  If one, good or evil, does in fact exist, then there is a possibility that one is the opposite of the other.  In the above stated work of M. Scott Peck, M.D., he states that Satan, as a personality, has pride and narcissism.  If this is true, then Narcissism can be human and spiritual.  One thing related to Satanic Narcissism as explained by Dr. Peck, is that sacrifice is a foreign concept to this particular personality. (Peck)  What is sacrifice? Oxford Dictionary Online defines sacrifice as, an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy”.  Sacrifice is an act of love, which is defined, “A strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone”, or “A great interest and pleasure in something”.  Affection is defined by the Oxford Dictionary Online as, “A gentle feeling of fondness or liking”.  In an ideal world, love would mean that if you had that for someone, you would not do anything to harm another person, even if you desire for them to make a decision that you want, though they may not want to make that particular decision.  Ask yourself, “Would you harm something that you had a gentle feeling of fondness or liking for”?  Would you be adversely affected if someone were willing and did harm you?  Would you feel that they “loved” or had a gentle feeling of fondness or liking for you?  Lastly, what about the things that you love to do or just love as a thought?

 

An aspect of science that is discussed by Dr. Peck that I found quite interesting is that he states that one assumes a profound human tendency to self-deception, employs the scientific method to counteract it, and holds truth higher than any personal human desire. (Peck)  If what he states about science is in fact true then, perhaps this is why psychiatry and psychology are indeed considered sciences, just as much as medicine, etc.

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                   After much time, it has become apparent to me, due to the cruelty and lack of empathy, sympathy, common decency, and even courtesy in general throughout my own personal life through much experience, that many people, men and women alike, perhaps fall under the categories of personality disorders that are described within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition, such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It is my opinion, that if you find that this is true after putting in whatever amount of effort that you desire, in developing and maintaining relationships with such people at any capacity, then the best thing for you to do would be perhaps to let them go and move on with your life.  A person is made up of their own preferences, views, opinions, feelings, etc.  If a person shows lack of compassion for you and refuses to respect you in regards to your own individual preferences, views, opinions, feelings, etc., then they do not truly care about you.  They will only bring about destruction in your life.  You could perhaps be left with much anger, regret, and disappointment.  Your views on life, and people in general could be greatly altered due to encountering such individuals if you are unaware of what you are dealing with and fail to get out of situations with these people as early as possible.  I, personally, take the position that if I love you, I will let you go if I have to.  Love is about detachment, if necessary.  Not control or possession.  I will leave you with a quote from Plato’s Phaedo, page 94, section 88. from “The Works of Plato Volume I” A New and Literal Translation, translated by Henry F. Cary, M.A. of Worcester College, Oxford (1892)……

“That we do not become,” he answered, “haters of reasoning as some become haters of men; for no greater evil can happen to any one than to hate reasoning. 88. But hatred of reasoning and hatred of mankind both spring from the same source. For hatred of mankind is produced in us from having placed too great reliance on some one without sufficient knowledge of him, and from having considered him to be a man altogether true, sincere, and faithful, and then after a little while finding him depraved and unfaithful, and after him another. And when a man has often experienced this, and especially from those whom he considered his most intimate and best friends, at length, having frequently stumbled, he hates all men, and thinks that there is no soundness at all in any of them. Have you not perceived that this happens so ?”

“Certainly,” I replied.

“Is it not a shame ?” he said, ” and is it not evident that such a one attempts to deal with men, without sufficient knowledge of human affairs ? For if he had dealt with them with competent knowledge, as the case really is, so he would have considered that the good and the bad are each very few in number, and that those between both are most
numerous.”

 

[1] Oxford Dictionary Online

[2] Ibid. “Accept that (something) is true, especially without proof” “Hold (something) as an opinion; think”

[3] Ibid. “The circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood”

[4] Oxford Dictionary Online defines, as a philosophy, Concept as, “An idea or mental image which corresponds to some distinct entity or class of entities, or to its essential features, or determines the application of a term (especially a predicate), and thus plays a part in the use of reason or language”

Association, American Psychiatric. “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” Association, American Psychiatric. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiactric Association, 2013. 670. Book.

—. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2013. Book.

Peck, M. Scott. “Of Possession and Excorcism.” Peck, M. Scott. People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. New York: Touchstone, 1983. 208-09. Book.

 

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