Journal Entry – Fri Oct 2

I don’t have much to say today. Weird right!? 🙂

I woke up from my late afternoon/early evening Prozac nap and felt like baking bread – It’s rising now. My grandmother used to bake bread and my aunts and I would gather in the kitchen waiting for it to come out of the oven. I loved watching the butter melt on my slice and the steam coming off of it and the smell. Nothing beats fresh baked goods.

André had a chat with me today. He said he doesn’t want me to tell his dad anything about what’s happening in his life because he doesn’t think his dad cares and he will tell his wife and they will use that info against him. Like, his stepmom would say, “You’d never get away with xyz if I was your mom.” Well, you’re not bitch so shut the fuck up! (I didn’t say that to my son but it’s what I was thinking). He said he will message his dad and he won’t get back to him for days, if ever. And that he only invites him to events but doesn’t spend any actual time with him. He said he will continue to go because he wants to see the twins (his brother and sister).

In addition to lazy, I also hate cowards because she’d never say anything like that to me. And I feel like if your husband tells you something, you should know better than to talk to the kids about it. (but I’ve never been married or even lived with a man so this is just my uninformed opinion).

André has taught me how to be patient (I still have work to do). He’s tested my love, unconditionally, and my sanity but I feel like I am a better person because of him. In the process of learning about ADHD and ODD, I think that’s made me a better parent to all my children. And because of him, I am always trying to understand and connect with people around me – I think those are good things.

André will never admit to the hurt or pain he feels. After our conversation, I held him tight and didn’t let go for a long time. While I was holding on to him he asked,

“Mom, are you ok?”

“Are you ok?” I asked

“Yes.” he said laughing. Then I reluctantly let go.

Writing this makes me cry. I believe I took having a wonderful father for granted. I just figured, growing up, that all dads were great dads. It never occurred to me that my children could have a “bad” dad! That thought is so foreign to me, even now. In my case my mom was the bad/absent parent. My dad and I did everything together. He’d take me to work, soccer games, we’d go on long walks and talks, exploring the world together, hanging out in my grandmother’s garden – just the two of us.

Even as an adult, I’ve seen how he behaves with my little brother. Dad was the one who rearranged his schedule to fit my brother, so he can pick him up from daycare and take him to after school programs. He helped him with his homework, cooked and fed him. I think spending time one on one with your children doing what they love really matters.

Well, I started off not having much to say, but I said a lot 🙂

I rewatched my course video … Here goes nothing …

Lecture 4: Moral Monsters and Evil Personhood

Calling someone evil is serious business because that accusation can be used to justify certain feeling or actions towards them – it means that they are separate from the rest of us in the moral community. So, what exactly is it that makes a person evil?

Evildoer Model – The most obvious way to identify evil people is through their behaviour, suggesting that evil people are just evildoers but what do you have to do and how frequently or on what scale do you have to do it to cross that line and be separate from the rest of us (the moral community)? By focusing only on what the person does, this model misses questioning who the person is. What is going on with this “evildoer” internally? It is the inner life that makes all the difference.

The Dispositional Model – Maybe being an evil person has to do with character – Luke Russell suggests that evildoers are disposed to do evil things. In this model an evil person is someone who is “strongly and highly fixedly disposed to perform evil actions.” E.g.: those responsible for genocide or serial killers would fall into this category – evil people who do evil things, but this dispositional model doesn’t necessarily account for the scale of the evil act just for the evil character and it suggests that some people are just evil no matter what they’ve done. But as the Milgram experiment showed, we are all capable of harming others, ordinary people can do very bad or evil things when pressured to do so.

Do you remember the woman in Texas, Andrea Yates, that drowned all her children in a bathtub? Many said she was evil, turns out she was mentally ill and her doctor had warned her against having more children, I think her postpartum depression was “off the charts” so to speak. So if someone does something that the moral community would consider evil, but they end up being mentally ill, then we can’t or shouldn’t be comfortable with labeling that person as evil. Same for the story I told you the other day of the two day old baby girl stabbed over 100 times and left by a temple – as horrible as that is, if the person who did it is ill then we can’t call them evil – maybe that person was delusional and didn’t see a two day old baby, maybe they saw something else.

So …

To be disposed to do evil, we can’t just be manipulated into it or end up doing it because we’re suffering from a disorder. To be disposed to do evil, we have to be the kinds of people who would do something evil, given conditions that allow us to determine how we act.

Great Courses – Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature

The Affect Model – Antisympathetic feelings are associated with taking pleasure in others pain and/or suffering for its own sake. You can say someone has an evil character if they have or are disposed to having extreme antisympathetic feeling. This model is perfect for explaining sadistic serial killers. Also, if someone takes great pleasure in witnessing extreme suffering, without causing it, then that is sufficient to be considered evil. BUT (there’s always a but) suppose those antisympathetic feeling are involuntary or maybe this person is indifferent to human suffering, would you still consider that person evil then?

Moral Monster Model – Perhaps the coldly indifferent killer and the sadistic killer who takes pleasure in suffering are both moral monsters – meaning they have nothing in common with the rest of us – they are a totally different kind of person. Daniel Haybron, in his article Moral Monsters and Saints, says that evil people aren’t like us because they have no good side – they have either a deadened or perverse moral sense. Haybron recognizes that this model leaves out those that do extremely bad things, but have a moral sense and know right from wrong, and it also means that an evil person doesn’t have to “do” anything to be considered evil.

This takes us back to the beginning, that calling someone evil is serious because it can mean dehumanizing the individual and if that is the case then maybe we shouldn’t call anyone evil. Serial killers have families and usually their family is oblivious to the “evil” they are doing – the family doesn’t know that other person. None of the four models are sufficient in themselves to account for what an evil person is – Maybe there is no simple unified account for evil personhood.

(Source: Great Courses – Understanding the Dark Side of Human Nature)

Feature Photo Credit: Anja🤗#helpinghands #solidarity#stays healthy🙏 from Pixabay

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