In a survey of the phenomenology of evil three of its aspects are analyzed. Firstly it is noted, that it is in the nature of evil to be resistant to being put into words. Secondly, denial and splitting are psychic mechanisms that help to maintain the silence. Thirdly, shame plays an important and facilitating role both by impeding mutual approach and by eliciting further acts of destruction. Thus seen, these three aspects are not only consequences of evil, but also ‘working’ moments in evil itself. Next, the concept of reconciliation is analyzed conceptually. It appears that acts of reconciliation precisely concern those aspects that were discussed in the analysis of evil. Forgiving one another is hazardous, difficult and shameful; hazardous and difficult, because it counteracts the strong forces maintaining the silence (denial) and the splitting process. It is shameful because both the victim and the perpetrator are vulnerable during the proces of reconciliation. Finally, it is discussed whether evil acts can really be forgiven, i.e. be taken away, as if nothing had happened. It is argued that only a heteronomic view of reconciliation allows for the notion of excommunication of evil. The psychology of forgiveness is in need of a theological foundation.
|Journal||Psyche en Geloof|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|
Bibliographical noteKey Words: Evil, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Shame, Splitting.
Eerder verschenen in P&G 2002, 13, 3-11