I find ideas about the nature of evil interesting, particularly the social dyanmics that factor into the ways that groups of people think and behave. Ain’t Too Proud to Beg includes this quote about how we are socially influenced.
“We’re all motivated, and I certainly include myself here, far more than we want to admit, by group expectations.” – Tom Wolfe
The book also deals with some of M. Scott Peck’s ideas about evil and group behavior.
Evil is a quintessential form of scapegoating, using power to destroy the spiritual growth of others for the purpose of defending and preserving the integrity of a sick self.
Peck extends his account of evil beyond the personal level to the group, which he regards as an analogous organism whose status as a group depends on unity and cohesiveness. Because groups tend to distribute their collective conscience among their members, evil manifests itself as
- moral fragmentation
- the narcissism and false consciousness of group pride
- regression to childlike dependence on authority
- construction of others as enemies
- and intolerance for group self-criticism
In other words, community gone bad.
Brother Maynard has written some about the Lucifer Effect which also describes how group dynamics play into corporate expressions of evil.