Where does evil come from?


This question seems to be on minds of many famous old and modern day thinkers and philosophers. Most recently I heard it mentioned in the interview of well known Polish sociologist Zygmund Bauman, published in the weekend attachment of Sunday newspapers Lidove Noviny which I read. I’d like to offer my own explanation of the state of things which Bauman described: “As a youngster, I used to think that evil comes from different social classes. But then the communists came and abolished the classes, and yet evil was still present in our everyday lives. Then I thought the evil must come from the lack of democracy in our country. Well, we have democracy now but we can still see evil things happening everyday.” Whenever before I tried to hint or point out the true roots of evil in people (because it is people who create the world and its systems), the readers either did not comprehend my meaning or left themselves out of the equation in style – it is none of my business. I would like to therefore once again try and explain my point of view through an open letter to this sociologist.

Dear Mr. Bauman,

In your recent interview, I found your admission that you’ve never been able to find an answer to the question of where the evil comes from, to be particularly interesting. Each and every time you have put your hopes into a specific change in the society, it eventually emerged that your assumption was wrong, thus leading you to conclude about yourself to be plain hopeless. However, I know that you have been in fact very close to the correct answer right from the start of your career as a writer: your wife’s diaries from her imprisonment in Warsaw ghetto during the war led you to understand that beastly acts are not being committed by beasts. If it was true, it would have been simple to find those beasts and lock them all up. The real tragedy lies in fact, that beastly and atrocious acts are being committed under certain circumstances by normal people.

Frederic Leboyer, an advocate of natural births has said it right: “There isn’t more frightening experience for the newborn baby entering our world than what the modern obstetrics have been practicing for the past few generations.” And I, together with other pre-natal psychologists as Peter Fedor-Freybergh, Thomas Verny or Stanislav Grof, or the obstetricians as Marsden Wagner or Michel Odent, claim that the main reason of most evil in our world comes from the minimum hundred year long “tradition” of over-medicalized hospital births. In there, all those negative influences (which I have written about many times before) impact and lead to all sorts of psychological problems, anxieties and insecurities later in life. Then, it is mostly men who compensate by creating for themselves various defence mechanisms: the mask of a tough aggressive man, the absolute power of a dictator, power of bureaucracy or lies and corruption of a politician.

Let me help you understand with a metaphor: we produce computers, mobile phones or cars under the strictest and ‘best of the best’ conditions, and yet we let our hospitals and schooling system “produce” damaged individuals in damaged environment. In harsh words, it’s the lifelong damaged deviants that are most likely to commit crimes. It has been known for many years as fact, that most criminal acts are committed by the small percentage of the same people.  What is also being known for a fact is that the absolute majority of them were unwanted children, born through difficult and traumatic birth and/or been living in care homes instead with their families. As history proves, most dictators had difficult and abused childhoods. These are the real beasts committing most of the evil in the world, in the true meaning of your wife’s words. Yes, it could be beneficial to identify them all, put them away and cure them, if that would be at all possible. However, so much better would be to find a preventative solution so that they never got damaged in the first place.

Nowadays, we have the advantage of knowing a lot more about human thinking processes and reactions of mind and body. As Fedor Freybergh wrote: “if we could only ensure that all children were loved and wanted from the very first stages of pregnancy, then optimise prenatal and postnatal stages of their lives without disturbing or interrupting their basic and fundamental needs, eradicate aggression and psycho-toxic impacts – this all would result in a peaceful society where aggression and violence would have no place.” According to him and others, there is a clear link to another danger to the societies in the world: the womb is the baby’s very first ecological environment. The way we treat it during its gestation and development (where the first bonds with the mother and the environment start to form and be set at the deepest levels of our sub-consciousness), will influence the way the person will treat its environment later in life. In other words, an unwanted and unloved baby (and subsequently born through a difficult and traumatic birth), separated from his mother and left on his own in a cold and alien hospital environment, desperately crying for help and attention, filled with fear on that very important basic emotional level… this baby will most likely feel some sort of intangible but underlying threat for most of his life. He will be seeking alternative ways to relieve his stress: at younger age (but not exclusively) it will most likely be aggression, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, or (depending on his further development, education, etc) it may be a relief seeking behaviour from his insecurities manifesting itself through ruthlessness, seeking and gaining political power or jobs where a lot of money is to be made in order to buy power, advantage or “respect” – the sort of typical aggression of a dog-eat-dog world.

The brain of most of us who were born in hospitals (where our mothers would have been under influence of various drugs like epidurals, etc), has very quickly learned that the world is a cold, blinding, loud and hostile (and in some cases life threatening) place – and quickly adapted in order to survive. Robert Pollack writes that, “Brain of the youngest of child is storage of sub-conscious memories and emotions acquired when its consciousness was consisting of mostly unidentifiable noises – during the gestation period in the womb.” The inevitable result of such traumatic birth is our sense of threat and anger on the very deepest levels. And on these basic, fundamental emotions acquired in these early stages, the more and more complex ones are built layer by layer throughout the life. In our later lives, when we feel we hate someone or something, we are connecting back to our first and intrinsic emotions. You could say (in technical terms) that our basic operational system is set to negative value from the start. As a result, we feel constant anxiety, stress, and are always in anticipation of a potential attack. Any events and situations in life will always echo the deepest basic emotions, which will influence our future attitude towards people or things without our knowledge of it or ability to change the way we feel about them.

Mr. Bauman, I implore you to verify all I have said here. Please, don’t hesitate to contact those I have mentioned and cited, and please try to organize the young and unbiased from the medical circles, or professors and thinkers and all who can play their fundamental role in starting off the so much needed changes – obstetrics being the essential, however not the only area needing a change.

Perhaps you could inspire those who are better off than the rest of the population to invest in prevention and support of the healthy births of our children, instead of solely focusing on treating children that are already unfortunately born with defects (not only physical and mental but emotional as well). Perhaps a good place to start would be to inform and educate the expecting mothers what happens during and has effect on their babies in medicalized hospital births, where most obstetricians still consider pregnancy to be some sort of threatening illness and birth giving to be the appropriate surgery treatment.

There in lie the true reasons of suffering and evil.

All the conferences, thousands of articles and clever books never resolved (and never will resolve) anything, as you now know; so we need to focus on what really makes sense and is the only answer to the lifelong question about roots of evil that we both have in common: If we change the way our children are born and raised, we will change the world.  I will be more than happy and ready to travel if needed to a constructive debate on this subject that will lead to better understanding of where the evil comes from and most importantly how to get rid of it.