Category Archives: good vs. evil

Shameless Self Promotion

The August issue of The Progressive Magazine is out now, and it includes my essay, “Was My Father Evil?” My essay  is not available online, so go forth and purchase an old-fashioned hard copy of the thing. Tell them Diane … Continue reading

Posted in Articles and Essays, Diane's Life, good vs. evil, Publications from the Quest | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Falling Off the Empathy Cliff Into Evil

Simon Baron-Cohen argues that evil should be defined as the absence of empathy. In his new book, The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty, the University of Cambridge professor of developmental psychology proposes replacing the “unscientific … Continue reading

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Posted in good vs. evil, Practicing Goodness, psychology | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Was My Father Evil?

I’ve written about how my politics, my work as a journalist, and my life as a lesbian led me to the quest for goodness, but I’ve never explored the deeper reason I’m doing this. My journey didn’t begin a year … Continue reading

Posted in Diane's Life, good vs. evil, The Quest | Tagged | 9 Comments

Ruth Grant Asks “What Does a Good Life Look Like?”

The first of my two interviews with Duke political scientist and philosopher Ruth Grant occurred on Jan. 12, 2011. There was too much material from even that one interview to squeeze into my magazine article about her work, so here’s … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, Interviews, Practicing Goodness | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Today’s Read Tells Us Nobody’s Good or Bad

Two psychologists say in a new book that we’re flat out wrong if we believe that a person’s character is unchangeable. In other words, nobody’s either good or bad; we can all be manipulated to act out of character. Author … Continue reading

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Book Review: John Bradshaw and the Path to Goodness

John Bradshaw’s book Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason is delightful, eye-opening, and infuriating.  In the months — and I do mean many months … Continue reading

Posted in Becoming Good, good vs. evil, The Reading List | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Dancing on Osama’s Grave, ctd.

My good friend Susan Cooper sends these thoughts along: Wondering what, where, how this event will be part of your examination of “Good.” Another friend of mine on here likened the death of Bin Laden to the death of Hitler. … Continue reading

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Dancing on Osama’s Grave

I believe in the Golden Rule and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I abhor the death penalty, which I think does more harm than good. Last night when I heard the news that Osama … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, morality, psychology | Tagged | 4 Comments

The Ethics of Taking the Risk Out of War

War is an inherently unethical pursuit. Even a “just” war involves death on a massive scale. Even if you believe that some people should be killed, the too politely named “collateral damage” kills innocents. But at least in war each … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, Politics | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Projecting Ourselves Onto Others

Miller-McCune’s story about conspiracy theorists got me thinking about projection. That’s the psychological mechanism wherein we each think the other guy is us. We believe that he/she has the same motives, same ideas, same approaches that we do. In other … Continue reading

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Is Goodness Possible Without Empathy?

Penn State Sociologist Sam Richards just took attendees at a TED conference on an experiment in empathy. Richards argues that sociology is impossible without empathy, but I think his radical experiment also shows something else: Goodness, at least in the … Continue reading

Posted in empathy, good vs. evil, Goodness Personified, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Owning Our Dark Side

Sometimes I think I sound like a wimp in political arguments. I’m forever talking about the mistakes and frailties of my own side, instead of slamming full speed into the weakness of my political opponents. Conducting an all-out assault on … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, Politics, Practicing Goodness, religion | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Quote of the Day

From John Bradshaw, Reclaiming Virtue: How We Can Develop the Moral Intelligence to Do the Right Thing at the Right Time for the Right Reason: Goodness, as a moral absolute, is dangerous because it does not own its own shadow, … Continue reading

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Christians May Irk, but Christmas Doesn’t

I am well-known for my disagreements with Christianity and certain Christians. Christmas, though, just melts my heart. There’s the fact that presents are involved, and I do love presents. But there’s something else about Christmas that snared me when I … Continue reading

Posted in good vs. evil, religion | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The Tea Party, Karma and Torture

Yesterday we heard from Virginia Psychology Professor Jonathan Haidt about how tea partiers aren’t crazy; they just believe in karma. Today comes word of research showing that those who support torture don’t care as much about gaining information as they … Continue reading

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