Everywhere I turn, it seems that humans have it backwards. This morning I feel the need to ask you, do you live or do you evil?
I’m largely an optimist and I believe that most people are inherently good. However I can’t go a single day without being faced with the fact that everyone around does evil at least three times a day.
How does that work?
Evil people do evil. Good people do good. As a kid, we learn that there’s good guys (heroes) and bad guys (villains). You are one or the other.
As we grow up we realize it isn’t quite like that. Or maybe this is news to you. Either way, I’m here to bring you:
The psychology of evil
If you don’t have time to watch a video, I’ll sum it up for you. Good people can easily be swayed into doing evil.
Yes, you. Yes, me. Even more so can we watch passively as people do terrible things.
I read about holocausts, the einsatzgruppen during WWII, saw the horrible movies (I literally had a class titled The Holocaust in which all we did was read/watch/study material about it). I studied social psychology for years. I knew all about the psychology of evil, Zimbardo’s Standford Prison Experiment, Milgram’s study. Yet, I participated in the largest scale Holocaust in the history of humanity during this whole time.
I didn’t even know it was happening. More accurately, I didn’t know it was an holocaust.
It is still ongoing, pretty much everyone I love is actively involved in it.
It is a criminal offense in many countries to deny the WWII Holocaust. It is however normal to deny the largest ongoing Holocaust of all times in ALL countries.
Because it is an animal holocaust.
Not only is it normal to deny it but it is controversial to say it exists in the first place.
Comparing human suffering to animal suffering can be considered an insult.
In a world where it is easy for humans to be swayed into torturing, humiliating and even killing other humans, do other animals stand a chance?
In Stanford’s prison experiment, it took normal college students less than a week to start causing severe distress to their own colleagues. This was in a situation with no prior existing oppression.
Animals are brought into a world in which the entire population is taught from birth to disregard them. Most animals are born solely to be killed. That says it all.
This is a fact that most people can easily live with. Society has built an entire system to make sure we know that we should be okay with it. It is what social psychologist Melanie Joy calls carnism.
The day I ceased to be a carnist, I became a deviant.
I would argue that you don’t become vegan the day you decide to forego all animal products. You truly become one the first time you maintain your decision in a social situation. The kicker is you have to do it all over again every day of your life.
To me, being vegan is Zimbardo’s idea of heroism x 365 until you die. Heroes are ordinary people who have learned to be deviants. People who act when others are passive.
It will always be uncool and controversial to go against social norms.
Standing up for what is right means standing alone, away from the crowd.
If you are not ready to, think about it, which choices do you have?
As for myself, after looking in the mirror and seeing that I EVIL I had to make a change.
Again, I have to ask you, do you live or do you evil?