In the aftermath of the Paris massacre I found myself pondering the surreal state of the world and the myriad humanitarian disasters and violations of international law infiltrating the globe. War crimes in Iraq, Gaza, Syria and Libya accompanied by air strikes, bombing raids and regime changes have become routine. The genocide in Yemen, albeit a humanitarian catastrophe, receives little media attention. U.S. led propaganda and harsh sanctions have economically destabilized Venezuela, conceivably as a prelude to invasion. Governmental looting of pensions and savings has begun, devastating retirees and their surviving spouses while corporate moguls earn 380x more than the average wage earner. It has always been this way irrespective of ideology, theology, or philosophy. The brutality of war and suffering are historical realities.
In distress I turn to my chosen field of psychology for answers. I am led to realize that in this geopolitical landscape, driven by the quest for political domination and exploitation of world resources, it is increasingly imperative that the layperson acquires a basic psychological comprehension of human evil, in order for any of this to make a modicum of sense.
Physicist and psychoanalyst Ian Hughes wrote:
A small proportion of people who suffer from psychologically abnormal personalities have, throughout history, had an immeasurable detrimental impact on our societies, our politics and our world. Enabled by their ruthlessness to…