If you decide to pick up this book, be advised that it will take more than a weekend to read. I found that I had to put it down a few times and read something light, because it was phenomenally difficult to take. Yet, I think it’s so important that it’s worth investing the time.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As I said in one of my updates, this is one of the most chilling books I’ve ever read. Yet, it’s also one of the most important.
Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck is the first person to really look at evil from a scientific perspective. He ultimately concludes that evil is a combination of malignant narcissism and intellectual laziness, which he makes clear from the beginning of the book. The rest of the book shows some of the cases he used to reach that conclusion — and not just individual cases, but also examples of group evil like Nazi Germany and the MyLai massacre.
What made this book simultaneously disturbing and fascinating was how insidious evil could look, from parents who deliberately ignore a child’s needs and feelings because of how society might perceive *them,* to people who see nothing wrong with “othering” people and even murdering them without thinking they’ve done a single thing wrong.
I also saw the actions of far too many modern-day right wing politicians reflected in the words of this book; at the end of the day, that’s what disturbed me the most.