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Another though provoking piece Harrison and well worth the read

I have two little points to make;

1) Are you aware that Charles Whitman, the notorious University of Texas, Austin Bell Tower shooter specifically wrote that his brain should be examined after his death as he thought there was something wrong with it?

In his suicide note, he stated: "After my death I wish that an autopsy would be performed on me to see if there is any visible physical disorder." He also wrote: "I do not really understand myself these days. I am supposed to be an average reasonable and intelligent young man. However, lately (I cannot recall when it started) I have been a victim of many unusual and irrational thoughts." He expressed his confusion and remorse for killing his wife and mother, whom he loved dearly. an autopsy was granted, and the doctors found that he had a brain tumor that was pressing on his amygdala, a part of the brain that is involved in emotional regulation, aggression, and fear. Some experts believe that the tumor may have impaired Whitman's ability to control his impulses and emotions, and increased his irritability, paranoia, and hostility.

2) This piece put me in mind of a quotation regarding the nature of evil from a classic Japanese TV show called , Saiyūki (西遊記) released in English as “Monkey”. A modern version of the Chinese classic “Journey to the West” it’s a highly allegorical story of mankind’s search for enlightenment and liberation. The quote is;

“Evil destroys. It opposes even other evil. Evil must have good to feed upon. Goodness nourishes itself. When evil has captured the good, evil dies. Then the good will grow again. In these truths is there hope for the world”

That’s all for now, Peace be with you.

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1) Wasn't aware of that aspect of the case. Very interesting, and yeah, it makes sense that disrupting the amygdala could lead to all those things.

2) Wonderful quote.

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Bravo! You touch all bases here.

As I put it on Notes:

Evil seems to be, at the root, about corrupting souls. Since souls are not strictly of this plane, ultimate evil must operate on that other plane as well.

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This isn't particularly crazy, it aligns perfectly with how I view the situation, but I've thought about egregores, morphic fields, etc. for a long time.

Just the other day I was telling my spouse that demonic possession is far more common than most people realize. But it generally does not look like the Excorcist, most often it looks like addictions, behavioral pathologies and character pathologies.

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Glad to know I'm not the only one! :)

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One of my personal missions is to encourage people not to apologize for this kind of thinking. It's not crazy at all, it's coming around full circle to our human birthright: the last 250 years or so of materialism has finally given us a language to conceptualize the non-material in a way that can finally break through to the older kind of knowledge that has been with us for most of human history.

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Last year, just before I left Minneapolis, my vehicle was broken into, they accessed the garage door opener and stole a bunch of my contracting tools and both chainsaws. I would not consider that evil, that might be more like desperation; though one might argue it is a series of choices that are evil that lead to such.

But then they left the garage door open half-way, and hung the opener from the driver-side door handle.

That they stole from a clearly working class/not wealthy guy, and then mocked me for it - that was evil.

In the occult view, the astral realm, the energetic pulse emanating from the source, giving form to all things, is neither good nor evil necessarily, but there are aspects of it that should we channel, we will have a propensity for evil. Ultimately it is the choices we make. That energy is also the basis of all creativity, and all that is good.

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Heres just an anecdote. In training I worked in a pre-school for disabled and impoverished children. The teachers there, not paid very well, were observed to be kind to these children and were generally friendly. However, there was an understood backing for a certain political party in those years among the teachers and administration which was stated openly. After a staff meeting, a circle of teachers formed, maybe 10 of them. I came upon them in a hallway so I could hear the excited conversation before observing their faces. Their faces were smiling. They were enjoying themselves. With what I can only describe as glee, they together imagined out loud the torture, suffering, and. slow death of the young children of a political candidate from the other party. “I hope candidate watches them writhe in pain and die slowly” Then, peals of laughter and more such affirmative statements.

In case you are thinking this was light hearted banter, it wasn’t. The hate was palpable. If ever I could imagine a witches coven, an evil one, this was it. I was amazed and horrified as I watched the “kindly teachers of the disabled” lust for the death of children based on political party.

When offered a permanent job in this building, I declined. 15 or more years later, I find this incident of group behavior deeply disturbing. Obviously some of this article applies. Especially group influence. As a researcher and mental health professional I am interested in the self image/self perception of such people. The lack of insight that characterizes so m8ch of political discourse and action today, in my opinion. These teachers probably saw themselves as ‘warriors for social justice’ and as kind and compassionate people. I doubt they went home that evening and killed a random child. But maybe they could be more easily influenced to do so than you or I.

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It's the craziest thing! It's amazing how people who see themselves as the kindest, most nurturing, morally upright people (who are obviously right, and their enemies so obviously wrong and evil), can be so blatantly monstrous, and totally lack the self-awareness to see that by their own standards, they are evil. It's always somewhat jarring for me to see it.

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It seems so old-fashioned, almost embarrassing, in the post-modern West to think of anything possibly supernatural, or otherwise beyond our ken, influencing our lives. I've always struggled with the question of why any God could allow evil acts. The more I think about it and listen to other people's views, the more I think that a) if God is real, he gave us free will, which then leads me to think that b) perhaps there is an opposing force, a demonic side trying to influence us all.

Perhaps that's just a way of romanticising the ugliest parts of humanity. I don't know, but I loved reading your thoughts.

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Hi Harrison, I enjoyed this post (thanks Mark Bisone for linking to it). Like Mark's post, this reminds me quite a bit of Scott M. Peck's book "People of the Lie", where he tries to define who are "evil".

He states, p.73-75, "A predominant characteristic, however, of the behavior of those I call evil is scapegoating. Because in their hearts they consider themselves above reproach, they must lash out at anyone who does reproach them. They sacrifice others to preserve their self-image of perfection....Scapegoating works through a mechanism psychiatrists call projection. Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world's fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad….In The Road Less Traveled I defined evil "as the exercise of political power - that is, the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion - in order to avoid...spiritual growth". In other words, the evil attack others instead of facing their own failures. Spiritual growth requires the acknowledgment of one's need to grow. If we cannot make that acknowledgment, we have no option except to attempt to eradicate the evidence of our own imperfection....Utterly dedicated to preserving their self-image of perfection, they are unceasingly engaged in the effort to maintain the appearance of moral purity. They worry about this a great deal. They are acutely sensitive to social norms and what others might think of them....the words "image," "appearance," and "outwardly" are crucial to understanding the morality of the evil. While they seem to lack any motivation to be good, they intensely desire to appear good. Their "goodness" is all on a level of pretense. It is, in effect, a lie. This is why they are the ‘people of the lie.’”

Also, p. 119: “Evil [is] defined as the use of power to destroy the spiritual growth of others for the purpose of defending and preserving the integrity of our own sick selves. In short, it is scapegoating. [The evil] scapegoat not the strong but the weak. For the evil to misuse their power, they must have the power to use it in the first place. They must have some kind of dominion over their victims.”

Also, you touched on a lot of themes that I hit on from a different angle about the nature of the soul, which you may enjoy: https://neofeudalreview.substack.com/p/ruminatons-on-the-nature-of-the-soul

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“Evil [is] defined as the use of power to destroy the spiritual growth of others for the purpose of defending and preserving the integrity of our own sick selves. In short, it is scapegoating. [The evil] scapegoat not the strong but the weak. For the evil to misuse their power, they must have the power to use it in the first place. They must have some kind of dominion over their victims.”

That's a great definition! Thanks!

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Aug 29, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

"Since the evil, deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world's fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad…"

I wonder if it isn't often actually the other way around. Do the 'evil' project badness on others because they honestly feel themselves to be faultless and need to count others as bad in order to explain conflict with them? Or are they in fact painfully conscious of their own fault, and project badness on others in order to bring them down to their level? Those are two very different interpretations of the psychology at work, and I think I favor the latter.

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I think the former is more true on the surface, and the latter is more true in the depths. If you read conversations with psychopaths, there's very little self-consciousness, and they're very self-satisfied with what little they have of it.

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I've heard that too, but I also wonder how far to trust psychopaths' self assessment of their own self-satisfaction.

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Your remarks about we humans being the tool to the execution of Gods will, reminded me of a quip from my youth. Parents, grandparents would say '...leaning on a shovel, praying for a hole...get busy...'

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Yep, it's like opening your mouth and expecting a roast chicken to fly in!

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Love that! Will need to remember this to I can use it in future.

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Aug 20, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Couldn't help but think based on that initial definition of evil... it is doing all those bad things to someone who is innocent. I get the distinct impression that most leftists view all those who disagree with them (all those who stand in the way of Progress) as lacking innocence. They are all guilty, and so no deed, no matter how vile and vicious, directed against them cannot be considered evil. To them, such deeds are in fact good, punishment of the wicked. I think we see the same thing with GAE foreign policy, or perhaps all war. This perpetually seductive idea that we can do bad things to "bad people" and that this is good. But how do we know they are bad? Very dangerous framing. I will stipulate that sometimes we need to do "necessary" things to bad people to contain/constrain evil, but "bad" things? Seems like a rent that allows x to burrow inside.

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You make me think more deeply than most other people I read.

I have a fragmented psychological relationship to these concepts. Another way to put it is that I'm in schism internally.

I genuinely believe (at least I think that I do), that we live in a clockwork universe. I see cause and effect and physical processes from the grand scale of the universe down to the tiniest particles. I have seen, and personally experienced, how body/mind chemistry can radically alter emotions. This indicates to me that cause and effect in the physical world is happening.

But at the same time, I live in the world as if we have free will, because I must, and I cannot see another way to live.

Again, I recognize that I'm in contradiction. I see the holes in my thinking; no one needs to point them out. I'm admitting them candidly. I haven't overlooked the problems with my thinking.

I have no idea where to go from here.

Thanks as always for your writing, Harrison.

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I know exactly how you feel, Josh. I can't possibly give a full account in a comment, so here's a bit of random morsels for thought. First, right brain/left brain. When the left brain looks at something, that is all there is, and it makes sense. So when I read a mechanist account, it makes sense, because it's right there on the page. As with you, I see cause and effect everywhere, no room for anything else. But then when my attention is directed elsewhere, I see something that seems entirely contradictory to that picture. The left brain sees the cause and effect and thinks that's all there is. The right brain sees the bigger picture, but can't put the two together in a way the left brain understands. I think it's the role of the hemispheres to work together to create a picture where the two modes are brought into harmony.

So, second, Whitehead. He's a difficult philosopher, but I think this is what he attempted (which my be why McGilchrist, the brain hemisphere guy, likes him so much). He was a mathematician and philosopher of science so he wasn't blind to the scientific worldview. It's not a full account, but you can get a taste by searching "causa" on https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/whitehead/ and reading around for context. Basically, the world presents itself to each thing/being, which takes it in directly (efficient causation) and incorporates it into its 'response' (final causation). This doesn't mean that you can choose how to respond physically to a bullet; only that given one has been shot, the choices are limited to those accepting the brute fact of the bullet. The power of efficient causation is very strong, probably stronger than most of us want to admit (like body chemistry). But final causation "completes the picture" in a way that, without it, efficient causation wouldn't be able to create a whole world. I know that's vague, but it's all I've got at this moment!

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Aug 29, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

What if the left brain sees discrete objects that interact in simple cause-and-effect ways that allow prediction, while the right brain sees complex forms whose causational principles are so granular and variant that they cannot be detected, correlated, and used as an a priori means of telling what is to follow? The left brain understands mechanics, while the right brain observes life? Looked at that way, the two hemispheres are not contradictory, but do specialize in different functionalities that are both necessary to create a balanced understanding of the world we live in.

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i think you many be on to something....apollo and dionysus?

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the recent movie 'Nefarious' had a brilliant acting performance, which demonstrated the relationship of X-types and possession of a seemingly tormented man... it was a decent flic

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A friend wants to watch this. Guess we'll have to plan a night to check it out!

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Aug 3, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Just as “good” might be defined as being and acting in accordance with nature (or teleology, or God), “evil” can be defined as the willful opposition to this logos or order.

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This is really close to the Stoic formulation, except Stoics consciously rejected the notion of evil and instead said it was ignorance of what is good that keeps us from being good. What about in the ponerologic/scientific sense? Can Cluster B's even know what it is to be a decent human?

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I think the Stoics were a bit too "rationalistic", even if I think they were otherwise awesome. Many philosophers tend to overemphasize cognition/intellect at the expense of emotion/instinct (probably because they have extreme male brain).

But they and you have a point. The real psychopaths can't know what it means to be fully human. They simply don't have the hardware/software. And in that sense, they are trapped in ignorance.

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Aug 4, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

I would say that “real Stoics” are capable of embracing physical discomfort based on an ability to “hold a teleological course” of “discipline.” This is what makes them much more interesting and different from “armchair philosophers.”

As Yogi Berra once said, “In Theory, there is no difference between “Theory” and “Practice.” In Practice, THERE IS.” (Emphasis is mine.)

One could probably arrange humans on along a spectrum of their ability to persist under conditions of discomfort and study what it was that accounted for this ability and find out some interesting and useful things.

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History provides ample evidence of what human beings are capable of. It tells of battles,

wars, murders, rapes, torture and genocide among a litany of evil acts that have been

perpetrated down the ages. This fact is not in dispute. But what is less clear is how evil is

understood conceptually. The traditional Western philosophical account holds that evil is a

privation of good – malum est privatio boni. The aim of this paper is to introduce the concept

of evil, traditionally understood as a privation of good. In doing so, it expands on some

material from an earlier article published by the IJSJ. https://www.irishjudicialstudiesjournal.ie/assets/uploads/2021%20edition%202/5.%20Stefanazzi%20Privatio%20boni%20.pdf

1

The context for this consideration is the well-documented dialogue about evil between the

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) and the English Dominican theologian Fr.

Victor White OP (1902-1960). White’s anthropology is grounded in the Aristotelian/Aquinas

tradition. The liaison between Carl Jung and Victor White is the main subject of two

monographs: In God’s Shadow: the Collaboration of Victor White and C.G. Jung,2

and Fr. Victor

White, O.P.: the Story of Jung's ‘White Raven’.

3 Their correspondence is published in The JungWhite Letters.

4

Jung and White spent many years discussing the subject of evil without

reaching a consensus. In spite of this, they agreed that the topic most certainly demands

concentration and careful consideration. Many of the challenges they faced are still relevant

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I'll have to check out that article. Thanks, Stegiel.

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Well done, Harrison. Although this piece contains far too many quotation marks for my taste, I sense you've mostly got the order and vectors correct.

A few thoughts:

"Ted Bundy wasn’t just acting out; he was, in a sense, taking orders."

Yes. And it's important to add that some of these killers *literally* hear voices that actively command them (e.g. the Nightstalker, Son of Sam, etc). If we are to properly understand "x" (See? I can do it too!) then we must understand that, as alien as it is to us, it is also alike enough to comprehend and mimic our cognitive means and methods. Demons know what makes us tick, in other words.

They also possess humanlike intelligence, hierarchies and desires. I get the sense that the thing they desire most is direct command and control of human flesh. That isn't the only way they manifest, but it is the dearest desire. That's why, for instance, we see traditional possessions occur, complete with all the supposedly "impossible" changes in language, persona and even, in the most extreme cases, physiology. Such extreme possessions are rare because it's a poor tactic, when viewed from the perspective of Satan (or whatever you prefer to name their hierarchical ruler).

In my opinion, this means some of them either aren't very smart, or -- like their more typical human targets -- they become prisoners/victims of their own burning desires. They can't help themselves, in other words, and so accidentally expose a part of the higher reality. Cue the score from The Exorcist.

"He observed that the vast majority (around 85%), perhaps all, of the people who commit acts of evil have some pathological feature without which they would not have committed those acts"

Here's where we get into trouble, and why I think the strict materialists make so many boneheaded errors. As with everything in reality, it isn't "either/or" but "yes and." Strangely (but obviously, from my perspective), the supposed anti-Manicheans who reject spirituality (or "superstition" in their terms) become the most Manichean of all, here.

If something bad happens and a human is responsible, the source of the problem must be one thing and one thing only. And so, because the source of some evil is biological, all evil must have a biological source. Or -- even weirder from the materialist position -- a "psychological" source. The problem is the world has no directly observable or measurable psychological content. We only know what the subject tells us, and the subject may be lying. Might as well break out the Ouija boards and crystal balls (but don't tell them that! They spent a lot of money on those degrees).

I have some other thoughts, but I think I'd like to save them for the podcast. I generally agree with much of this, but see a couple of spots that might be traps.

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Looking forward to discussing it! Thanks for the great comments, Mark.

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Your commitment towards bringing Lobaczewski and ponerology into the chaos egregore's line of sight may just save the world.

I commend you!

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You have provided a fine explanation, for me, of the mindlessness and the evil of wokeism. These people seem like members of irrational and nasty cults. However, I puzzle over why this particular evil has been so fertile and infectious.

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My hypothesis: fertile ground. Biologically, psychologically, and spiritually, especially the past 150 years have degraded humanity to the point of peak susceptibility. X is pulling out all the stops to secure total control.

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