Understanding evil

By By Ana Breton

By Ana Breton

There have been 14,700 wars since history was first recorded, but the root of why we fight has yet to be understood, said David Bona, a psychology professor from the Pacific Graduate Institute.

Bona lectured about the causes of evil during his speech, “The Psychology of Evil and Suffering,” Jan. 12 at the City Library, as part of the “Perspectives on Prejudice” lecture series.

“From the Salem witch trials to the current war in Iraq, evil has been part of our lives,” Bona said. “Understanding it helps us cope with it better.”

He said that although there are no real answers about what evil means or does, we can deal with it by asking questions.

“Every society has dealt with evil. Although it may sound like a huge phenomenon, evil can come in the form of racism and discrimination (between students),” Bona said.

There is still prejudice among students on campus, and unless the root of that discrimination is understood, it will only get worse, said Janet Warburton, a clinical psychologist and a chairwoman at the Utah Psychological Association, which sponsored Bona’s lecture.

“What really concerns me is that students tend to separate into specific interest groups, prompting discrimination,” Warburton said. “I think that’s the reason that they attack each other so much.”

A simple solution to end discrimination would be to engage students in discussions with different social groups, Mark Owens, also a chairman of UPA, said.

“I think it’s key for students to acknowledge the evil that surrounds them,” Owens said.

In order for students to overcome fights and stressful situations, they must change their perceptions about what they are handling, Bona said.

“The real voyage of discovery is not finding new lands to conquer but discovering new eyes to see with,” Bona said.

“Perspectives on Prejudice” is a monthly lecture series open to all U students. The next discussion, “Peace, Environment and Spirituality from a Sioux Perspective,” will be held in the City Library Auditorium at 7 p.m. on Feb. 9. It will feature Arvol Looking Horse, a spiritual leader of the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota tribes.

[email protected]