Beyond Good and Evil

More than moral reasoning.

Seeing With Values

Is There a Test For Evil?

Testing Evil: I previously discussed killing evil by killing ego, followed by defining good to kill ego and now I'll focus on seeing with values to kill evil. Have you taken my challenge to define good without using examples of good? In any case, philosopher Hartman gave us a definition of good scientists and psychologists like me can work with. It is a definition that also gives us a test of how well we can see with Feeler, Doer and Thinker values and therefore spot evil before it spots us. Are you mainly a Feeler, Doer or Thinker? Are you stuck in any of them? Which is your strong suite? How do you instinctively rank their relative importance in your life? Let's recall the following poem by Linda Niewiadomski to help us with understanding these ways of seeing with values:

Poetic Definition: "FEELER-Freddy is a feeler / Wears his heart upon his sleeve / Empathy is his middle name / By your side, he'll never leave; DOER-- Danny is a doer / He's always busy as a bee / Takes no time to feel or think / His goals won't set him free; THINKER-Tommy is a thinker / Analytical to the bone / Lost in thought and questioning / He spends his time alone."

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Your personality, your individual ability to spot evil, and society's collective ability to spot evil depends on the sensitivity, balance and order of influence of these dimensions of seeing with values revealed by philosopher Hartman's definition of good and its consequence supported by published research; which is all to the good given that defining good is too important to be left in the hands of religion or philosophy alone.

Our quick-test of Feeler, Doer and Thinker ways of seeing ourselves and the world can also detect evil. It is a test that produces personality profiles and clinical diagnoses in the hands of a few licensed psychologists. But, how can this be true? How is this possible? It's because values are universal. It's because we don't have values, we are our values! It's because we are prisoners of our values and because of this there can be no true science of psychology without a science of values and normative values called morals.

Our definition of good gives us a science of values and a quick-test of how we organize and see with values. This enables us to better see, cope and kill evil in all its forms and degrees. The test is called valuemetrics as distinguished from the psychometrics of psychologists. Poor scores reflect anti-self, anti-social behaviors, or problems in living. Good scores reflect the pro-self, pro-social behavior that enables adaptation, survival and flourishing. The may be said for collectives like families, societies and nations. As suggested by the optical metaphor of seeing with values (value-vision), not everyone has 20/20 value-vision, nor is everyone equally capable of spotting evil; nor are collectives equally capable spotting and killing evil. .

Conclusions: In the interests of full disclosure, this test has never been used to test the mental health of collectives like societies, nations, or civilizations. It has not been used to detect evil; although it is capable of doing so. Maybe! Someday? These days only a few licensed psychologists use this new test to assess the mental status of their patients. It finds wider applications among entrepreneurs working as business and corporate consultants promoting business efficiencies practices the world over. This new valuemetrics has served me well in my study of Hartman's definition of good and its consequences. I've used it as a concrete handle to his very abstract definition of good and theory of value that many find an abstraction not unlike Einstein's Theory of Relativity. But look where theory can take us? Look at the consequences of Hartman's definition of good examined in the pages of a textbook entitled The New Science of Axiological Psychology published in Europe by Rodopi Press (2005).

Hopefully, the day will come when our definition and its consequences will assist humankind in recovering common ground not seen since ancient times...and without the baggage of superstitions or belief in demonic possession. I have in mind our emerging science of values and morals as much needed common ground as we sail in leaky boats onto the rough seas of the 21st century

I have another confession to make. I suppose it's more realistic to think in terms of containing evil or mitigating evil than killing evil outright given free will in a world changing so fast as to threaten our evolutionary brains...especially without an anchor in an upgrade of 3R education to 4R education consisting of reading, writing, arithmetic and rational, science-based, moral education grounded in our definition of good and its consequences of value science and value testing. 

Dr. Leon Pomeroy

Leon Pomeroy, Ph.D., teaches at George Mason University and is the author of The New Science of Axiological Psychology.

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