In these days, with reports of atrocities from far and wide, it can be easy to think that the world is a bad place, that mankind is evil and that all hope is gone – but is it really so? In our display cabinets, we currently have an exhibition on the theme Humans – good or evil?.
A central book of the exhibition is The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil by Pilip Zimbardo. The book is divided into two parts and the first part is about Zimbardos study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard, often called the Stanford prison experiment. The second part of the book deals with the events that took place inside the Abu Ghraib-prison in 2004. Zimbardo writes that it doesn’t take much for a person to perform evil acts, but he also states that it takes as little for a person to be good or heroic. In this 23 minutes long presentation on TED.com you can listen to Zimbardon when he speaks on the subject.
The exhibition contains books about human origins and development, good and evil. In addition, we have picked up several novels on the theme. You are free borrow the books in the glass cases, or look up one of our many e-books on these subjects. Here are some examples of e-books:
- The Social Psychology of Good and Evil by Arthur G. Miller
- Intelligent disobedience: doing right when what you’re told to do is wrong by Ira Chaleff
- Understanding Evil : Lessons from Bosnia by Keith Doubt
- Becoming Evil : How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing by James Waller and Christopher R. Browning
- Humanity : A Moral History of the Twentieth Century by Jonathan Glover, Nadia Urbinati and William McCuaig
- Good Natured : The Origins of Right and Wrong in Humans and Other Animals by Frans B. M. de Waal
- The nature of evil by Daryl Koehn
The question whether humanity is good or evil might not have an answer, maybe because the question is a bit black and white. But reading various theories and books that deal with these issues is one way to deal with the thoughts we get when the news about atrocities in the world never seems to end.
Text: Katharina Nordling