Okay, now I have to know
You’d be surprised how differently people from other centuries understood themselves. Alexander von Humboldt was the most well-known scientist in the 19th century for instance and I bet you never heard of him. And no, this one actually had prog leanings, so he didn’t disappear for political reasons. What we tend to do is take our own century with us to other centuries, i.e. in the case in question we’ll look for someone who is most Hitler-like from the 19th century rather than wonder who people from then thought themselves about the matter. In our time we might say King Leopold of Belgium was the most evil person in the 19th century for his tyranny over the Congo. Or perhaps Robert E. Lee. What did someone from like 1850 think about that question, and why? Would they have a different definition of evil than us?
Here’s a neat study
37 countries were asked.
These are unexpected results, especially for a study that was done in 2013
They really brainwashed people with Osama and Saddam eh? I told you the other day my instinct was to think of Saddam immediately when I wondered “What is evil?”
This is really important. No one ever says this
Acquiring representations of major historical figures is a principal mechanism through which political socialization occurs.
Heh, “Honest Abe”. That’s soooo burned into your brain, just admit it. He’s the guy with the hat, who was 100% right about everything.
Apparently Chinese children are taught something similar about the Qin emperor. He escapes execution and unifies China.
This is a dangerous notion to speak aloud
morality tales about the invincibility of central authority
Funny that when I was wondering a couple minutes ago how I’d describe what I thought of Lincoln when I was still naive “invincible” is one of the first words that popped into my head. Jolly, tall, swaggering, with that hat of his. You? They stamp the soft clay in our brains as children.
I don’t think Carlyle’s “hero-worship” went away in our Age of the Plebs, it was just sublimated. One might even say it was inverted to the same effect- “demon-hatred”. Lincoln IS one of our main heroes, it just seems a certain demon is more prominent in the public imagination. Then, MLK could never be a plagiarizer who had multiple affairs, he’s invincible! That’s the neo-Lincoln of our time. Lincoln-Adolf-MLK are perhaps the most decisive human beings for us. The old Good-in-itself, Evil-in-itself, and the new Good-in-itself. Am I wrong? Am I seeing right into your mind or what? Women deserve someone better than Hillary. Someone like her IS the culmination of this telos though. A noble brown woman, ideally. Confident, intelligent, condescending to men, how they’d love that! Well, you’d have to go back to the English Civil War to understand what that’s about. To Aristophanes if you want to go further back. Other peoples of the “civilization continent” don’t have equivalents of those as far as I’m aware. Baked into the cake centuries before we were born. I showed you before that “the hero” in the minds of many Latinos is Pablo Escobar the cocaine king. The demon for them is probably Cortés. We have different consciousnesses as a result of our different “hero-worships”.
How long will Adolf persist as our villain?
Genghis Khan, 1158-1227. 800 years it’ll take? Who are those other two mentioned with Khan? Might have to study them later.
Remember, this is a recent survey. I still want to know what someone in 1850 or 1450 thought about this subject. The devil in the flesh. What did he do wrong? That must diverge significantly from what our devil did wrong, if I had to guess.
I see this kind of thing on google about 19th century evil
I mean, those cause bastards, and bastards often turn out to be defective citizens, so I wouldn’t be surprised.
Not a heavy subject at all, contemplating the nature of evil.
Just jumping around, this one is from the 18th century
It’s strange, this shift, no?