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Scientist SeeksTo Banish Evil, Boost Empathy

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posted on May, 5 2011 @ 10:53 AM
Read full article here:

* Psychopathology expert says idea of evil has done no good
* Sees empathy as world's most valuable but ignored resource

By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent

LONDON, May 5 (Reuters) - Simon Baron-Cohen has been battling with evil all his life
As a scientist seeking to understand random acts of violence, from street brawls to psychopathic killings to genocide, he has puzzled for decades over what prompts such acts of human cruelty. And he's decided that evil is not good enough.

"I'm not satisfied with the term 'evil'," says the Cambridge University psychology and psychiatry professor, one of the world's top experts in autism and developmental psychopathology.

"We've inherited this word.. and we use it to express our abhorrence when people do awful things, usually acts of cruelty, but I don't think it's anything more than another word for doing something bad. And as a scientist that doesn't seem to me to be much of an explanation. So I've been looking for an alternative -- we need a new theory of human cruelty."

This is a truly relevant study. This is a fascinating subject on multiple levels. Just imagine what our worlds could contain, if not for all the time lost in wars, conflicts, prosecuting deviants and the repercussions of a planet of resources fully focused on progress.

But if 'evil' can be found in a gene, or removed through a brain surgery, perhaps conditioned out of behavior, then perhaps there are several types of 'evil', and several conditions that lead to its state.

Surely, being raised in an environment that discounts empathy, punishes empathy or any expression can quickly suppress that development in a child. Genetic propensity towards adrenal-seeking, heightened pain tolerance or nerve damage preventing pain receptors could interfere with a 'normal' understanding of pain felt in another as a result of actions taken.

Even the oft quoted, "Love thy neighbor as thyself," can lead to 'evil', if the neighbors standards are of a different quality or expectation than the one 'loving'. Today's modern society with its endless edge of competition and striving to outdo one another at any expense, in any other venue, would be considered 'evil'. Schools, replete with bullying and fashion dictates regularly crush and maim children when they are at the optimum age to learn empathy.

Imagine a world where there is no evil. How can good exist? By what would each person measure their goodness? Are we ready, as a species to let go of the ego and the idea of superiority? Can we step up to such a challenge? In this dimension, on this planet, have we progressed far enough to self-motivate without a carrot or stick to propel us?

What would corporations, schools, sports, game shows, religions, military establishments, Hollywood, the music and gaming industry, medical research, psychology and factory farms DO if we removed evil or its source overnight?

Can our broken system survive the removal of evil or do we just seek to label it differently?

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 11:07 AM
A Dictionary in every home would do wonders! If people would actually look up the meaning of words, and their "origins", then we wouldn't need to do "studies" on the obvious things.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 11:08 AM
"Evil" is not a physical matter and therefor can not be "removed" from people or society.
Evil is a spiritual thing and we have free will. So long as humans exist in the state we are in, people will choose to do evil acts regardless of any consequence.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 11:12 AM
Just thinking out loud here, but suppose there is this Magnetic pole shift in 2012. We already know magnetic fields affect the brain, suppose this field reversal turns on or amplifies the empathy circuit in people? Scientific reason for a consciousness shift perhaps?

S&F Good Find!

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 11:58 AM
reply to post by Buddha1098

I have so many hopes for humanity and 2012, it's almost awkward at times! I know all the reasons why it probably won't/can't/shouldn't happen- but if ever there was a time to wish the best for all of the planet, this is a good time, and I'm wishing us all as well as I can!

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 01:16 PM

Baron-Cohen shies away from saying that psychopaths can be "cured" of extreme behaviour, but he argues strongly against locking them up and saying there is nothing society can do.

"I try to keep an open mind. I would never want to say a person is beyond help," he explains. "Empathy is a skill like any other human skill -- and if you get a chance to practise, you can get better at it." (Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 02:26 PM
All is not Love or Good. This is the bloodline twist on everything. We are doing this for your own good. Obey. Go to the fema camps now, and our tortures of you will only be Love. Do not question, do not seek to find what true Love is.

We are the Light, here to shine our LoveLight and feed the children. We're sent in without memories of who we are to wake up and start to remember we are the Light, and be a warm and loving ray, who wouldn't even retaliate, only help another, and we're to uncover our flaws and heal them, that the world reveals, because the test was to put the love we felt into practice.

We're to feed the children. War is Not Peace, and Hatred is Not Love. Love of Power is Not Empowerment and Equality. We are to feed the children.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 04:26 PM
reply to post by Ev0lveUp

No human has the power to erase evil. He's going to create brain damaged sheeple. The road to hell is full of failed good intentions like this. This man thinks he's a god.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 04:35 PM

Originally posted by trollz
"Evil" is not a physical matter and therefor can not be "removed" from people or society.
Evil is a spiritual thing and we have free will. So long as humans exist in the state we are in, people will choose to do evil acts regardless of any consequence.

I have been convinced that psychopathy is behind everything that goes on wrong in this world, from the violent abuse of animals and children, to financial fraud, to greed, corruption, robbing those who are vulnerable already, serial killings. HOWEVER, I agree with you, trollz, that there is --also-- spiritual evil of it's own, not bound by a defective amygdala area in the brain. The psychopathic brain is a super easy vehicle for the spiritual evil.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 04:41 PM
Well, you know, the drug Ecstasy was originally called "Empathy," because that is exactly the emotional response it seemed to produce in the users. But that didn't sell as well in the clubs.

posted on May, 5 2011 @ 05:37 PM
reply to post by Blue Shift

Then it would be an extremely important experiment to conduct Ecstasy trials on psycho/sociopaths. If it works, it could be as important as -some- pharmaceuticals on schizophrenics, and the severely clinically depressed, those who no longer sef-harm ideat, when on their meds.

posted on May, 9 2011 @ 10:05 AM
So much for ATS search...>.>

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