I read Science of Evil: On Empathy and the origins of Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen at one sitting. That's rare for me. I usually like to dip in a little and then think it over for a day or so but the material was so gripping that I was on the edge of my seat. I waited quite a few days before writing this review to process what I read. Here is what I've concluded: if you want to truly understand evil, its source and a possible direction for a solution to evil this book is for you. It gave me valuable new insights into evil as well as providing a solid, scientific basis for conclusions I've reached through study and experience. And it lead me to pursue deeper research on the study of evil and empathy. What made this book so gripping was its relevancy. Like all of us, I have had way too many exposures to evil in my life. I submit that on a bell curve evaluating those who have personal knowledge of evil I would be on the downward slope toward the extreme range. Without...
It's full of neurological info, and goes into detail about how the brain circuits become compromised when very young children are abused and abandoned. It's quite thorough in the explanation of and the etiology for "bad" behavior. The research is compelling and has been coupled with the work done by J. Bowlby and his "Attachment Theory," as well as Lawrence Kohlberg's "Morality Scale." It makes one pause and think about the impact of early parenting approaches and how we, as a society, must view "evil" behavior not as a willed choice, but--rather, a breakdown or compromised mechanism of specific parts of the brain not working accurately. We have all accepted that people behave differently after they suffered a stroke, or had a traumatic brain injury; it's understood within an attributional rationale. The notion of viewing human behavior as seen through the lenses of neurosciences is fast becoming a prominent model for explaining behaviors, and...
How does someone hurt another person without feeling a bit of remorse? Are they pure evil? Or should we use the term “empathy erosion”? But what is empathy, and how does it relate to people doing evil? Simon Baron-Cohen, the author of this book, achieved his PhD in Psychology at University College London and has previously written three books about psychology. Baron-Cohen wrote The Science of Evil: On Empathy and The Origins of Cruelty to explain to the readers how empathy works and what empathy’s role to humans is.
In the first chapter entitled “Explaining “Evil” and Human Cruelty”, the author introduces the book by giving examples of cruel acts known worldwide such as: the inhumane experiments that Nazis did to the Jews, the Armenian genocide, and also common crimes like robbery and theft. Baron-Cohen reveals in this chapter that people with lower empathy tend to see other living beings as objects and can’t entirely relate...
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