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Related Words, Beliefs, Background for Choice #17

Worldview Theme #25: Evil is Out There                  Worldview Theme #29B: Taking Charge ==> Violence

for a summary read these 5 entries: evil--the problem of, evil in various religions, Devil the, dehumanizing by linking to Devil,
witchcraft & Wicca

for a summary read these 5 entries in order: aggression--origin and types, bullying, domestic violence, heart of darkness,
Hobbesian view of human nature

aggression, origin and types of -- an offensive action, either physical act, verbal assault, bodily attack, display of hostility, or threat. If directed against an individual, it can do physical or psychological damage, reduce fitness, and limit freedom. The attack can be unprovoked and seemingly senseless, or it can be motivated by frustration, fear, or a desire to induce fear -- perhaps even flight -- in others. If the aggression is verbal, nothing more than a strong desire to advance one’s ideas, position or interests may be behind it. Or its origin may be rooted in a special situation or circumstances. Some of these types of aggression have been named, including 1) altruistic aggression -- aggression to protect others, 2) displaced aggression -- aggression directed at a person other than the person directly responsible for the grievance, 3) maternal aggression -- aggression by a mother to protect her children, 4) territorial aggression -- aggression to protect one’s territory.

amok syndrome -- an extreme emotional state, often triggered by loss of honor, love, or fortune so that one feels there is nothing more to lose, involving an uncontrollable, frenetic murderous rampage. The rampage can be carefully planned and seen by the perpetrator as a means of redemption or deliverance

amulet -- a charm or ornament typically carrying a picture, symbol, or words which supposedly aids the wearer by bringing good luck or providing protection from evil spirits.

angel -- a bodiless, spiritual being, limited in power and intelligence, but nonetheless superior to man. In traditional belief in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, good angels live in heaven , are able to visit Earth (in both visible and invisible forms), are sometimes depicted with wings, and sometimes provide messages and / or offer protection. Dark angels, living in hell, are the evil counterparts of good angels.

black magic—refers to use of supposed supernatural powers for selfish and evil purposes. Voodoo, often associated with modern black magic, can involve hexing , cursing, sticking pins in a voodoo doll, poisons and zombies.

bullyingaggressively dominating or intimidating a person perceived as weaker by forcing, coercing, or hostilely threatening in an effort to get the target of this to submit. The immediate goal may be to gain (through demonstration) power over this person in the expectation this can later lead to some material, experiential or other advantages for the bully. Or it can be done out of hate or a need to simply be mean to someone else—perhaps in response to, or memory of, something previously done to the bully. If this occurs in a school or workplace setting it is sometimes referred to as “peer abuse”.  Once the target submits, the bullying will likely be repeated, and become part of a habitual pattern of bullying behavior.  Targets can fight back by demonstrating that the imbalance of power the bully feels exists is not as great as thought.  The power in question can be physical, social, or “legal”—where the latter refers to potential appeals to any rules / guidelines associated with the setting involved-- or combinations of these. Efforts the target makes to turn the power thing around to the bully’s disadvantage--and put a stop to the aggression--work best early, before a pattern of  abuse sets up.

capital punishment–the government legitimized ending the life of a someone who committed a particularly serious crime based on a verdict sanctioned by the criminal justice system

conscience--a sense of 1) what is morally / ethically right or wrong, and 2) which actions a) will produce more pleasure and happiness vs. more pain and suffering, b) will be praised vs. blamed, c)  potentially promise benefits vs. involve risks and potential liabilities.  When conscientious behavior and actual behavior diverge, guilt and feelings of remorse can result.  H.L. Mencken referred to it as "the inner voice that tells us that somebody might be watching." Some connect conscience with religion: it has been termed "God's voice."  Others make no such connection.

criminal punishment and belief in pure evil—a study at Kansas State University as reported in May 2015 found that those who believe in the existence of pure evil support harsher criminal punishments —such as life in prison without parole or capital punishment—than those who don’t believe in it.

dehumanizing before killing -- based on the idea that it is easier to kill people who are seen as less than human, before such killing a dehumanizing process must take place. This may begin with discriminating, perhaps tagging with derogatory epithet, scapegoating, and lead to generally “psychically numbing” oneself to the reality that the intended victims are fellow human beings.

dehumanizing by linking person to the Devil—refers to the practice of attacking / vilifying a person, perhaps as part of an extremist  political agenda,  by linking them to pure evil / the Devil—effectively dehumanizing them.  Examples of how the conspiracy theory driven right wing conservative extremists have employed this tactic: 1) the vilification of Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist—and victim of assassination attempts—George Soros; 2) the Q Anon conspiracy theory

Devil, the–thought to be the supreme supernatural evil being and enemy of God.  Often depicted (especially in Judeo-Christian-Islamic traditions) as tempting humans by offering them things they desire in exchange for their soul, the Devil is supposedly assisted by evil spirits or demons.  Most people who believe in the Devil conceive of God as a moralist.  The Devil has long served as a convenient scapegoat: those who do evil acts claim they’re possessed and blame it on him (See next entry and also Satanism.)

Devil Made Me Do It criminal defense—a criminal defense strategy in which a defendant denies personal responsibility for the crime and pleads innocence based on demonic possession—perhaps best associated with its first known USA use in the 1981 trial of Arne Cheyenne Johnson. 

ditheism -- belief in two equal gods, one good and one evil

domestic violence–occurs when one person in a relationship (or family) attempts to control or dominate–either physically or psychologically–the other (or another family member).  The forms it can take range from continual emotionally abusive name-calling / putdowns to sexual / physical assault.  Estimates of the % of woman who report being physically abused by an intimate partner vary by country--ranging from 10% to nearly 70%.  In the USA, according to 2017 CDC data, over 50% of all female deaths by homicides were perpetrated by intimate partners—98% of which were men. While socially unacceptable in western countries, elsewhere there is widespread support  for the belief that a husband can be justified in hitting or beating his wife.  Indeed,  in a UNICEF survey,  between 80 % to 90% of women in some countries between ages 15 to 49 polled agreed with this. In one country (Tajikistan) 48% of those women agreed that the woman’s refusal to have sex with him provided such justification.  In the USA, a National Domestic Violence hotline (1-800-799-7233) offers  help to victims.   

empathy -- concisely it refers to “fellow feeling” , that is imagining that you are in the other person’s shoes and experiencing his or her feelings, struggles, etc.  Emotionally immature people, in particular those who after experiencing so much pain as children have learned how to block it, may not feel compassion for other's pain. Empathizing with others thus requires being in touch with your own feelings.

evil, the problem ofthis problem has plagued philosophers at least as far back as the ancient Greeks. Epicurus (341-270 BCE) appears to be the first to consider it at some length.  Simply put, it has two aspects, one religious, one secular, that can themselves be stated as questions.  First, why does an all powerful, all knowing God allow evil to exist in the world?  Second, how should society fight human’s wicked and evil acts–won’t fighting them with evil (violence, vengeance, capital punishment, etc.) just result in more evil?  Those who embrace non-violence, forgiveness, and oppose capital punishment basically feel that good can not come out of evil.  Others argue that if evil is left unchecked and unpunished, and not countered with strong action, then more evil will result.   Various religions confront it in various ways. 

evil, the problem of  and how various religions handle itChristianity--from the Bible's book of Job onward, it recognizes there is a problem; Islam --Evil, pain, and suffering is not a problem: it is a fact of Allah's creation.  And Allah does not owe man any explanations...As the holy Qu'ran (4: 78) puts it: "Whatever good befalleth thee, O man, it is from GOD; and whatever evil befalleth thee, it is from thyself."; Hinduism-- "For Hindu thought, there is no Problem of Evil.  The conventional, relative world is necessarily a world of opposites.  Light is inconceivable apart from darkness; order is meaningless without disorder; and likewise...pleasure without pain." (Alan Watts in The Spirit of Zen);  Buddhism--Buddhists use the existence of evil as a reason not to believe in God as a benevolent, loving Creator.  As the Bodhisattva sings, "If the creator of the world entire they call God, of every being be the Lord, why prevail deceit, lies and ignorance and he such inequity and injustice create?  If the creator of the world entire they call God, of every human being be the Lord, then an evil master is he, (O Aritta) knowing what’s right did let wrong prevail! (from Bhuridatta Jataka)  

exorcism--a ritual meant to drive out an evil spirit supposedly inhabiting a person, place or thing. See spirit possession. 

fear--a strong, primary emotion associated with unpleasant anticipation of danger and pain.  While in extreme cases its existence will accompanied by powerful physiological manifestations such as lots of hormone (cortisol, adrenalin, etc.)  production, it is always associated with anxiety and often with loss of courage (and the need to flee rather than fight.)                                      

genocide–the deliberate, systematic mass slaughter of an ethnic, political or cultural group.  Twentieth century examples of genocide include the Nazi perpetrated slaughter of Jews during World War II, and slaughters in Armenia, Cambodia and Rwanda.  

guilt -- an emotional state produced by knowing that one has committed a breach of conduct or violated moral standards. If one accepts society’s version of acceptable behavior, the punishment guilt produces is self-administered. From a different (equation based) perspective, guilt can be considered to be: guilt = conscientious behavior — actual behavior

gun ownership and violence—while analysis of data does not unequivocally link  higher rates of gun ownership with higher rates of homicides—nor suggest that mentally ill people with guns are any more dangerous than mentally healthy people are-- it does strongly support that higher rates of gun ownership is linked to higher rates of suicide.

heart of darkness and lack of self restraint—perhaps more than any character in Western literature, Mr. Kurtz in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness has come to represent the evil that people totally lacking in restraint are capable of doing. And ,as Kurtz ascents the Congo river in the greedy quest for ivory, he increasingly becomes, as one reviewer put it, “an active sharer in the demonic practices of the savages.” .              

Hobbesian view of human nature -- According to 17th century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes, human beings were selfish, aggressive, fiercely competitive, highly acquisitive creatures who were incapable of self restraint. With this dim view of human nature, he felt that the authoritarian state offered the only way to keep human beings from killing each other in constant warfare and destroying civilization.

Holocaust, education and remembrance—in this regard consider this excerpt from the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust: “The Holocaust...must be forever seared in our collective memory. The selfless sacrifices of those who defied the Nazis... must also be inscribed in our hearts.  The depths of that horror, and the heights of their heroism, can be touchstones in our understanding of the human capacity for evil and for good.  With humanity still scarred by genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, the international community shares a solemn responsibility to fight those evils. Together we must... ensure that future generations can understand the causes of the Holocaust...”


incarnate--taking bodily form, personified, as in “the devil incarnate”

incubus -- a demon or evil spirit which can supposedly descend on people during sleep, causing nightmares and psychological trauma. (Originally, incubi and succubi were thought to be evil spirits who descended on women and men who were asleep for purposes of sexual intercourse.)

intimidate--to deter through fear, to make timid, to frighten 

law: civil vs. criminal--the former refers to the means by which individual rights are protected, the latter with offenses that harm (or potentially could harm) the entire community. In civil cases the responsibility for demonstrating harm and seeking remedy lies with the individual affected; in criminal cases the state must pursue violators and seek remedy--which may be imprisonment.

lawsuit--a comprehensive term for any proceeding in a court of law whereby an individual or legal entity seeks a legal remedy.  Such legal action is initiated by the plaintiff who complains (petitions) that he / she / it has been harmed / suffered a loss by failure of the defendant to act in accordance with the law.

litigant--someone engaged in a lawsuit

maleficium—a type of sorcery or witchcraft that includes magical acts intended to harm people or property

machiavellian -- an approach to getting what you want summed up in the famous quote, “The end justifies the means”. Specifically, the desired end is increasing power and control. The opportunistic means employed to achieve this are whatever it takes, including deception, deviousness, duplicity, and cunning manipulation of others.

Machismo—a term with Spanish / Portuguese roots and particular Hispanic / Mexican / Latin American cultural relevance. It refers to an exaggerated sense of manly pride, strength,  self-reliance, and need to display courage / bravery—and possibly to protect one’s family depending on those involved and whatever circumstances are behind the perceived call  to display all of this!

Manichaen black & white certainty--a way of seeing aspects of the world in simplistic terms where something is either all good or bad, right or wrong, etc. The name can be traced to an ancient (3rd century AD Persian) religion whose cosmology was characterized by a dualism built around a struggle between a good, spiritual world full of light, and a dark,  evil, material world. Today, the term "Manichaen" is sometimes used figuratively as an adjective to refer to a simplistic good vs. evil / dualistic component of a worldview. 

murder—unlawfully taking the life of another human being without justification such as self-defense. This is viewed as especially as reprehensible when it is done in pre-meditated, hateful fashion.

non-aggression principle--the idea, as expressed by Ayn Rand, that coercive physical force or the threat of such use against person or property should never be used first, and that its only legitimate use is for defensive purposes by individuals or by governments to punish law-breakers.

nuclear terrorism--generally refers to terrorists using or threatening to use either nuclear weapons or dirty bombs (which disperse radioactive material). It could also include their attacking nuclear power plants in an effort to cause release of ionizing radiation into the environment.

occultism--refers to the study of the occult and thus the pursuit of hidden knowledge.  Occultism is to be distinguished from mysticism in that, unlike the latter, the former is concerned with magic, alchemy, astrology, numerology, strange rites, secret formulas, etc. and is sometimes associated with malevolent supernatural  beings.  

original sin–while the concept that something is wrong or out of order in human existence is found in most religions, the idea of original sin appears to be a uniquely  Christian belief.  That tradition teaches that all people are saddled with this type of sin at birth due to the sinful choice made by Adam in the Garden of Eden.  Such sin is to distinguished from actual sins that people may or may not commit during their lifetimes.    

police—a government department established to maintain order, enforce the law, and prevent and detect crime. The image of USA police department work and those doing it ranges the whole gamut, from smiling easy-going  male and female, racially diverse shirt-sleeved and shorts dressed cops on bicycles joking peacefully with relaxed members of the community, to military style operations (some even are equipped with tanks) and SWAT teams lead by older males in riot gear confronting suspected criminals in tense, often violent situations. Opinions of cops held by those in the communities they operate in span the whole range from mostly good, honest guys, even unselfish public servants, doing what can be a difficult job, to corrupt, inherently violent, trigger happy, bigoted  people—many of whom might otherwise have found themselves on the wrong side of the law but, wanting a sense of power over others, they decided to become cops.  Hopeful—perhaps wishful thinking oriented—people lacking in cynicism felt most cops fit into the first category with only a very few “bad apples”; cynics feared more cops belonged in the second category than the first.  By mid 2020, after a series of highly publicized police operations unfairly and tragically targeted African Americans, USA calls for police reform had never been louder.

psychopath—a bold person who has high self esteem yet engages in extreme anti-social behavior--often totally self serving, manipulative,  lacking in any real caring about others’ feelings. Given this person’s strong inclination toward violence, his or her physically harming another would not be unexpected, but dishing out verbal or other abuse is more common. It’s believed roughly one in a hundred people fit this description. Both genetic and environmental factors are believed responsible—a history of parental neglect or absence provides one example of the latter.

rape-sexual assault leading to forcible penetration / intercourse without consent

Q Anon conspiracy theory—launched in 2017, this involves a great mysterious good guy patriot Q who is an battling evil collusion between deep state forces embedded in the US government, Satan worshippers,  and child molesting pedophiles.  The battle is supposed to culminate with the “A Great Wakening” in which people in general finally realize that Q Anon believers have been right about the threat all along—and the final victory of the forces of good / God over the deep state / Satan forces.

religious dualism–belief that good (God) & bad (Devil) spirits battle for control of universe and souls

Satanism—the worship of the Biblical character Satan / Lucifer in various ways including ritual practice by those who may view Satan as either personal / impersonal or real / symbolic. For centuries the term was used by Christians to label groups or individuals they didn’t like; only since 1966 has a “Church of Satanism” functioned. 

shame leading to vengeance -- if a person has been shamed, had self respect, sense of honor, pride assaulted, or for males, manhood attacked, if the assault has been grave and the wounds deep, then sometimes the only way the person can restore a sense of self esteem and standing in the tribe or community is by seeking vengeance.

sorcery -- the use of power gained by summoning up evil spirits, who are called upon to control something or provide assistance. Sorcery is often used for purposes of divining the future.

Social Darwinism -- the application of Darwinian principles (natural selection, survival of the fittest, etc) to social practices as a natural defense of entrepreneurial capitalism

spirit possessionbelief that drastic behavioral changes in a person are due to a spirit, demon, etc. that takes possession / control of the person's body.  Exorcism refers to means employed in ridding the body of such possession

terrorist--one who engages in terrorism, another one of those difficult to define terms since "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter".  Most definitions of terrorism include 1) use of force / violence, 2) such acts are designed to instill fear / terror, and 3) political / ideological goals are behind these acts.  Some definitions also stress that the acts are unlawful and that innocent civilians are indiscriminately targeted.  

threat -- a gesture or action that intimidates, expresses intention of attacking, inflicting harm or injury, or communicates evil intent.

Tooth and Claw Ethics / Law of the Jungle--both of these date to the late nineteenth century, the former was made famous by "Darwin's bulldog" Thomas Huxley, one of the founders of evolutionary ethics, the later by Rudyard Kipling (perhaps influenced by the Social Darwinist currents of the time) in The Jungle Book   Earlier in that century, British poet Tennyson had characterized nature as "red in tooth and claw".  The law of the jungle is basically "kill or be killed".

torture -- severe pain is inflicted on someone in an effort to intimidate, get information from, revenge some past wrong, punish, deter, or simply to be cruel and sadistic. 

witchcraft & Wiccathe use of sorcery or magic, the practice of which varies widely.  It has roots in  pre-Christian, nature-center-ed witchcraft religion based on Goddess worship.  In early Christian European cultures it became linked to evil, and the Devil.  Witches were typically women, believed to have supernatural powers, who perhaps practiced in secret.  During the height of the witch mania, the 15th–17th centuries, hundreds of thousands of women are believed to have been burned at the stake. Wicca is a 20th century revival of ancient pagan witchcraft–which  incorporates worship of God and Goddess.  These are sometimes seen as dual, complementary aspects of a universal life force–symbolized by the Sun and Moon

wrath--violent, vengeful anger, rage

yin & yang--in Chinese philosophy this refers to polar extremes or opposite sides of something. The yin is linked with a female, passive principle; the yang to a male, active principle. The distinction can also be made in terms of dark vs. light, cold vs. hot, wet vs. dry, etc. Embracing moderation can mean finding a balance of yin and yang in one’s  life.   

zombie—from Haitian folklore, a dead body reanimated through magical means, and increasingly popular in cult fiction /  horror movies.  


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