“Bad People” ???

Posted by Rex Alexander on Tue 15 Aug 17 in Emotions, REBT & Other therapies compared |

Most people think here are a lot of bad people running around in the world . . . 
~Sam Harris


Sam has got it half-right . . . 

Most people think here are a lot of bad people running around in the world. There aren’t a lot of bad people, there are a lot of bad ideas, and bad ideas are worse than bad people because bad ideas are contagious–bad ideas get good people to do horrible things.

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Sam has got it half-right. Actually, I suspect he knows the other half but does not emphasize it. Bad ideas are bad BECAUSE they inflame us emotionally and justify acting out destructively and anti-socially, and with these, bad, inflammatory ideas, we not only inflame ourselves, but inflame others as well, hence the “contagious” part. I would go further than Sam has, however. It is not that bad ideas are worse than bad people. rather there are no such things as “bad people,” only bad-inflammatory ideas.

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“Free Will” :  I love Sam, and this is an important book, but, personally, I have some serious issues with his thesis, or if not his thesis, with the “semantic environment” in which he frames his argument.  Still, I wish everyone would read and discuss and learn from it.


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