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People of the Lie

/ 05:24 AM November 25, 2018

How to explain the acceptance of a leadership unknown to us before as a people — the President’s gutter language, the boorish behavior, the boastful arrogance of appointing unqualified people simply because they helped him in the elections? How explain learned magistrates bending over backward to do his bidding “according to the rule of law”? What to make of intelligent people who adore and defend him?

I found this book “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing of Human Evil,” by M. Scott Peck, and I realize that we are living again with People of the Lie like in martial law.

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Peck was an American psychiatrist who was baptized Christian in his 40s, which partly explains the spiritual bent of aspects of his work. In this book, he probes into the essence of human evil and shows its presence in everyday life as encountered in his practice. To understand our current situation, I have quoted and paraphrased some of his insights.

“Evil always has something to do with lies.” Marcos suppressed the truth by closing down unfriendly media. Now there are diehard Duterte supporters (DDS) with multiple accounts posting lies and attacking critics of the President.

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“One of the characteristics of evil is its desire to confuse. Lies confuse.” We never know when the President is “joking” or not. Even his former spokesperson suggested not to take his words seriously.

Young people are confused nowadays. Marcos lied, stole and killed, but why is he buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? When kids curse, they are punished, but they hear and see the President say bad words on TV. When young women bristle at green jokes, they see older women in the audience laugh or even cheer at the President kissing a married woman.

“A predominant characteristic… of evil is scapegoating. Because they consider themselves above reproach, they… lash out at anyone who does.” Thus, expletives against the Pope, the priests and bishops, the United Nations, the European Union, the International Criminal Court, etc.

“We must also remind ourselves that evil has to do with killing — that evil is ‘live’ spelled backward. One factor that contributes to unnecessary and obviously immoral killing: narcissism.” Marcos denied the tortures and “salvagings” that happened during his regime, just as Mr. Duterte claims that extrajudicial killings are merely “deaths under investigation” (DUIs), even as some of the murdered suspects were already in police custody. Thousands of DUIs have yet to be solved. Clearly, there is impunity, and we should never get used to it to justify the killings for public security.

Peck defines evil as “the exercise of political power… the imposition of one’s will upon others by overt or covert coercion—in order to avoid… spiritual growth.” That’s why Mr. Duterte lashes out at God and even the devil. Likewise, reading the comments online shows the viciousness and divisiveness of the trolls and ordinary citizens who blindly support him. Peck says there is such a thing as a “group lie.”

“A form of group narcissism is…  ‘enemy creation.’” Marcos targeted the communists. Now it’s the drug users/pushers.

“But the narcissism of whole nations may… exceed the normal bounds (and) sets about attempting to destroy the evidence.”  This is why the Marcoses, who still have lots of ill-gotten wealth they haven’t returned,  have their own troll army, with the singular aim of revising history.

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As a people, we were too smug about people power. We did not see to it that our textbooks contain the truth about martial law. Speaking about its horrors tends to refresh the terror and the pain. It is only now that books and films like “ML” are coming out.

But there is hope. In the next election, the light of truth will shine on the right candidates. Vote against the People of the Lie!

Peck believes that “Prevention of group evil lies in the individual. A single vote may be crucial in an election… for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the  battle  between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.”

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O. H. Tripon is a feminist writer and a grandmother. She is an occasional contributor to this newspaper.

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TAGS: “People of the Lie”, Inquirer Commentary, M. Scott Peck, O.H. Tripon, Rodrigo Duterte
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