Evil Rubs Off: Cleanse Yourself!

Uploaded 3/24/2021, approx. 4 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am a professor of psychology, and in my line of work, I come across evil a lot.

Evil is a politically incorrect term. You are not supposed to use it in psychology. You are supposed to say abnormal. You are supposed to say dysfunctional. You are supposed to be tolerant or understanding. You are supposed to accept everything at face value. You are supposed to be the patient's friend.

So evil is not a word I am using easily and facetiously.

Evil is a weighty word. Evil is multifarious. Evil is cunning. Often evil is unidentifiable. You know you had been exposed to evil when you shower compulsively after the encounter, and you seek to ritually cleanse yourself. This is the closest I get personally to religion.

Evil is not only the psychopathic, sadistic, premeditated sort. Evil has numerous faces.

Evil, for example, is in every power play. Power play, when winning, is set above happiness. When winning is more important than life itself, than the living, than others, than you.

Evil is also being weak, being spineless, being unboundaried. No personal boundaries. Evil is giving your body away promiscuously. Evil is giving your mind away obsecuously. Giving yourself away is a throwaway. Trashing yourself. This is evil. Self-contempt, self-loathing, self-hatred, and emotional dysregulation. They are all forms of evil.

Psychopathy in these cases is just one heartbeat away. She who despises, she who disrespects her body, she who throws away her mind and wastes it, she is bound to abuse the bodies and the minds of other people. He who disrespects himself, who disrespects his life, he who disrespects his body, who disrespects his soul, will respect no one.

And isn't this a good definition of evil? Indifference to the sufferings and the needs of other people is evil, but so is suffering, so is neediness. The needy person is self-centered, coercive, dominating, blackmailing. The needy person is psychopathic in many ways.

Neediness implies annexation, appropriation, expropriation, not seeing the other, having no boundaries.

Suffering is an abomination. It never leads to good, never mind all the gurus who say it does.

And suffering very often results in panic, and panic leads to evil.

The road, the path to evil is paved with negative emotions. Fear, envy, hatred, greed, flat affect, flat emotions, flat attachment, making excuses or minimizing bad or self-destructive misconduct. You misbehave and you minimize it. You misbehave and you make excuses for it.

A lack, an unmitigated lack of self-awareness, all these are the hallmarks of the beast, the beast of evil.

Because he who has no emotions, flat affect, flat emotions. He who is incapable to get attached, flat attachment. She who makes excuses for her misbehavior or minimizes it.

These people are on the road to evil. This is their final destination. They are the walking dead. They just don't know it yet, or they refuse to admit it, to acknowledge it.

The distraction with an A, the distraction that cause apathy, we are flooded with information and entertainment, and this causes apathy. These distractions render even calamities a mere form of entertainment. Other people's misery and misfortune unraveling on our screens. This is wicked. This is wicked.

Valuing the inanimate, valuing the material, valuing the dead above the living, is the epitome of evil and malice. Egotism is evil reified of course.

And here's the problem. Evil rubs off on you. It is contagious. It infects you and infests you and invades you and possesses you.

Evil, once it is around you, evil is inside you. You can't fend it off. No amount of personal boundaries is going to help.

Having been exposed to evil, you need to cleanse yourself. Physically, if you must, running water, copious amounts of soap and detergents, a ritual, ritual bath, some ceremony, an utterance, an oath, a promise to yourself. You need to cleanse yourself because you are dirty and adulterated and contaminated by the evil around you.

Avoid evil, no matter the temptation, regardless of the costs, because evil often masquerades as dazzling beauty, disguises itself as unfathomable wisdom, yet it is their anathema. It is the enemy of beauty and wisdom.

You don't know how to tell evil apart from misfortune, from dysregulation, from having fun.

And that is exactly the intrusion point. That is where evil penetrates you and then becomes you in a cancerous metastasizing process.

Fend it off, hold it back, cleanse yourself.

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The concept of evil is ambiguous and slippery, and the definition of evil is suffering that results from morally wrong human choices. Evil must be premeditated, and the evil person can and does consciously choose the morally wrong over the morally right. Narcissists satisfy the two conditions for evilness only partly, and their evil conduct is utilitarian. Narcissists act maliciously only because it is expedient to do so, not because it is in their nature. In the pursuit of the study of narcissism, we need to invent a new language to capture this phenomenon and what it does to people.


Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of evil in relation to narcissism and other personality disorders. He identifies three types of evil behavior: goal-oriented evil, pleasure-seeking evil, and indifferent or off-handed evil. Narcissists typically fall into the category of indifferent evil, as they inflict pain and hurt on others as a byproduct of their actions and choices, rather than intentionally seeking to cause harm. Vaknin also explores the reasons why people may engage in evil behavior, such as a lack of empathy, a desire to conform, or a need to exert control over their lives.

Four Pillars of Self-love

Self-love is about having a realistic view of oneself and pursuing happiness and favorable outcomes. It is essential for living a proper life and being capable of loving and being loved. The four conditions for healthy self-love are self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-trust, and self-efficacy. These conditions are necessary for survival and guide individuals to make rational, realistic, and beneficial decisions. Experience alone is not enough without self-love, as self-love serves as a reliable compass in life.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of the "bad object" and its impact on individuals' self-perception and behavior. He delves into the role of harsh inner critics and how they instill feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing. Vaknin also explores how individuals may reject happiness and embrace misery due to the influence of the bad object, leading to self-sabotaging, self-defeating, and self-destructive behaviors. Additionally, he examines the connection between masochism and narcissism, as well as the emotional investment and catharsis in narcissistic individuals.

Søren Kierkegaard on Self, Love, and Self-love (Text in Description)

Kierkegaard believed that Jesus commanded us to love ourselves in order to love our neighbors, but Protestants believe that self-love is narcissism and a barrier to loving others. Kierkegaard believed that proper self-love makes us whole and complete persons, and that relationships constitute the self. He denied the possibility of an individual and said that to have a self is to immerse oneself in the totality of the human experience with all other people.

How I Experience My False Self

The speaker describes being held hostage by a false self, created as a coping mechanism in response to childhood trauma. The false self gradually took over, leaving the speaker feeling empty and disconnected from their true self. They developed a deceptive persona to protect themselves and cope with their experiences, but ultimately feel imprisoned by it. The speaker longs for love and understanding, hoping it will set them free, but ultimately feels there is nothing left of their true self.

Psychotic Grandiosity: The Case of Jesus "Christ", Narcissist

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the psychology and potential psychopathology of Jesus Christ, suggesting that he may have been a narcissist. He supports this claim by analyzing passages from the Gospel of Saint Matthew, highlighting instances of Jesus' grandiosity, lack of empathy, and manipulative behavior. Vaknin concludes that Jesus' narcissism ultimately led to his downfall, as people grew tired of his overbearing presence and destructive influence.

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Consumption as a Narcissistic Religion

Professor Sam Vaknin argues that narcissism is a reaction to an abusive or traumatizing environment, and that consumerism is a form of secular religion that has replaced classic, God-centered religion. He believes that consumerism is addictive and leads to a rat race that is nightmarish and unrealistic, ultimately leading to an overdose. The pursuit of money as the foundation of happiness in consumerism leads to a morally neutral world that prioritizes selfishness and egotism over empathy and altruism.

No Narcissist Without YOU as Ego and Self

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the role of internal objects in the narcissist's fantasy life, the connection between the narcissist's latent homosexuality and autoeroticism, and the significance of imagination and creativity in the narcissistic experience. He delves into the psychological aspects of fantasy, its impact on personal development, and its connection to sexuality and frustration.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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