Sunday, 22 January 2017 16:16

Psychology makes people victims!

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Ozodi Osuji

Adolf Hitler planned and killed over 50 million people. Why did he do it? Psychology proffers explanations, such as say that he was neurotic or psychotic; he was born with a weak, problematic body and felt inferior and compensated with desire for power and superiority. In pursuit of power and superiority he felt the need to kill people so he killed people. This is Alfred Adler's take on the nature of neurosis.

The apparent evil the neurotic person does is not really his fault; it is not Hitler's fault that he killed people for he did so in pursuit of neurotic or psychotic goals of superiority and power; although, the goals are irrational but to his diseased mind  they seem like what he ought to be pursuing. In his sick mind he believes that in attaining those fictional, grandiose goals he would be fine.

In effect, Hitler is a victim despite killing people. So, let us send him to a psychotherapist who explores the origin and nature of his neurosis or psychosis; may be, he should be given medication and offered a life time of psychotherapy.

In the end, no psychotherapy, medical or talk based, will heal him for if he is a victim and his behavior is beyond his control he cannot change.

If a person does something, good or bad, psychology tries to understand him. If we see a person do what seems evil behavior psychology explain it away by telling us that he did it as a result of his underlying mental health issues; in other words, it is not his fault.

To psychology no one is responsible for his behaviors; we are all victims of the environment; we are all determined by our genes, society and physical phenomena. Human life, animal lives, trees and everything in the universe, and the universe itself is the product of the concatenation of past events.

13.8 billion years ago, the universe came out of nowhere, is churning along and in the process determining all of us; we are the victims of the impersonal universe that produced us and that we live in.

Is this perspective true or is it a mere clever by half attempt to explain away human evil behavior by attributing it to environmental determinism?

I used to buy into the scientific determinism hypothesis until it dawned on me that human beings have freedom, albeit limited freedom and do make choices; their behaviors are mostly the result of their choices. Since they have the capacity to choose they can choose what is antisocial or prosocial. Thy can choose to do good or bad; they can be saintly or evil.


Consider a person we shall call Joe. At the time of writing, Joe is engaged in what religious human beings would call evil behavior. Joe built a house; he and his family live in his house. His father is dead. His father had a house. The house is now vacant, no body lives in it. Joe's brothers are not around to live in the house. Apparently, wishing to make some money from renting out the house Joe rented some rooms in his father's house to tenants. He did not consult his brothers before he did that. The younger brothers asked him why he did what he did. He yelled at them; indeed, he threatened them with physical violence (people in his world are known to kill those who challenge their right to the properties they laid claim to, so Joe could act out, even kill; a mind possessed by lack of love, by evil is a dangerous mind).

He talked about how the house is now his house.  Why so, a younger brother asked him, and he said that his parents trained his brothers up to university level and did not do so to him. He believes that money that is due him from his parents is now in the house he has taken possession of.

But how come he did not go far in formal education?  He did not go far in school because he failed so many classes that the teachers kicked him out of school.

So, whose fault is it that he was not trained as was his brothers?  Apparently, Joe has forgotten the part of the story that his failure at school played and now claims what seems to him a (pseudo) rational explanation.

The man was so dull at school that folks could not explain what was going on; his teachers were confused for on the surface he seemed like a normal, cheerful boy but he would always flunk his classes. His elementary school retained him at the third grade for three years!

Eventually, his parents had him go to a vocational school to learn a trade so as to be able to make a living. That is to say that his not attaining higher education was not his parents fault but the fault of whatever made him not do well at school.

And while we are talking about fault, what has that got to do with his brothers going to school? In fact, one of his brothers taught him the little reading and writing he finally learned; he ought to be grateful to him.

Joe's belief is that money that should have been spent on him was spent on his brothers. That is to say that he is jealous of what was done for them. A jealous person is capable of evil behavior; many people can and do kill out of jealousy.

At the moment the man simply takes possession of his father's house and like a terrorist apparently believes that he can use force to intimidate his brothers into relinquishing their right to their father's house to him.

Obviously, he is mistaken; the brothers can seek legal remedies and get his tenants out of the house. They can force him to relinquish their father's lands that because they are not around they allowed him to use (they have decided to do so).

The real issue is that an evil thought entered Joe's mind and he followed through with it.  If we were to approach him from a psychological point of view we would try to understand his thinking and behavior and perhaps see him as a victim of circumstances.

I initially explained his behavior as a product of his feeble mindedness; I told myself that he does not appreciate that what he is doing would provoke negative reaction from his brothers; they would feel angry at him and have enmity with him; indeed, in hatred they may attack him. In the end, despite creating tension for all, his brothers will retake possession of their jointly owned property, so his behavior is really fruitless hence stupid.

In the meantime, he has created conflict and tension in his extended family, conflict that redounds on him; he has attacked peace and got war.

If I employed psychological thinking I would conclude that he does not seem to understand what he is doing and that it is as a result of his feeble mindedness. In other words, I would see him as a victim and take away responsibility for his actions from him.

But is he a victim? I now believe that he made a choice to be evil and, as such, must take the consequences of his evil behavior.


Consider another person. Let us call her EJ. This woman does not respect her parents; she insults them in every which way she could. She goes about desecrating their name, badmouthing them, saying that they did this or that to her (all false or exaggerated minor issues).

What exactly did they do to her?  She said that they sent her to a baby sitter while they were at work. That is her perception of their initial abuse of her.

One would think that as a human being she is capable of understanding and, as such, would realize why parents leave their children with baby sitters: they have to do so to go make a living. However, we are not talking about a normal human being; she is a total egotist; her exaggerated pride required that she be treated as if she is special and better than other people; she sees going to a baby sitter as not loving her, not treating her as a queen (actually the children of English queens are mostly raised by nannies!).

As a teenager she was oppositional defiant of her parents and teachers at her school and eventually dropped out of school. Her father insisted that she return to school. Apparently, demanding that she go to school, to her mind, is abusive; she should have been left to do exactly as she wants, which is not go to school.

She believes that nobody else knows as much as she does and that her parents and teachers ought to be learning from her, "the know it all'', not the other way around. She has a grandiose self-concept; in fact, her ego borders on the psychotic. A woman with little or no college education claiming to know more than her parents, both with graduate education, is probably suffering from some sort of delusion disorder, grandiose type.  Lately, she has taken to telling lies, saying that she went to college and graduated and that none of her parents knows where she did so (because they do not care to know about her activities, they do not care for her...she wants to be cared for by her parents but does not care for her parents!).

Initially, I saw her behavior as a result of her desire for power; that she is neurotic; I believed that she feels inferior and compensated with desire for false power and superiority.

The mind that seeks power wants to put other people down; children who seek power resent their parents being above them and want to put them down so as to seem more powerful than them.

The observable fact is that EJ does not respect her parents; in fact, she sees everything that they do as foolish; she actively puts down their efforts; she sees her father's spiritual beliefs as nonsense while seeing her nonexistent efforts as superior to anything he has ever done; she sees her mother as the worst mother on planet earth (yet she depends on them for financial support!).

More importantly, I saw her as a victim of whatever made her feel inferior and restitute with false, fictional efforts to seem superior to all people.

I have now changed my mind and no longer see her as a victim but as an evil person. The problem with seeing people as victims, as psychology does, is that it does not heal any one. Psychotherapy and psychiatry has not healed any human being, not even one. All it does is make people believe that they are victims of other people's injurious behaviors towards them and give them justification for being evil towards those they see as their victimizers, as EJ does to her parents.

In the here and now world, she lacks sense of efficacy; she does not make efforts to improve the racist society she lives in. Instead of directing her energy to doing worthwhile things that improved her racist society she redirects her efforts to desecrating her parents.

EJ is a capital coward who does not fight to improve society but exists to desecrate her parents. She lacks the courage to fight for social good but has the coward's destructive boldness of always tearing those around her apart.

Old fashioned religions see human beings as capable of evil and when they misbehave see them as evil and blame them. Religion would call Hitler evil, call Joe evil and call EJ evil. Religion would not make excuses for their evil behaviors. Religion would say that they chose to be evil and, as such, must be punished by God and society.

Religion would teach us to punish Joe and EJ; they can be punished with the law; they can be punished if they are socially ostracized.


Helen Schucman's book, A course in miracles says that we are not victims of the world; the book says that we chose to separate from God and from each other and from our real self.

In eternity we have the same interests but in time we see ourselves as separated from each other and as having different interests and work against each other's interests. On earth, we consciously aim at harming each other, even killing each other.  On earth, we attack each other and those we attack counter attack us hence we live in the state of war.

A course in miracles asks us to choose differently, to see each other as part of us and now choose to love each other, and choose to overlook the evils we see each other do; choose to forgive the evils we see people do to us for they have not done them, or did them in dreams, for the world is a dream and what is done in dreams have not been done.

The book teaches us to forgive people who wronged us. Alas, if we forgive people and overlook their evil behaviors they will keep doing them.

If you overlook ISIS and other Muslim Jihadist terrorists they would keep on killing people; if you forgive Joe he would keep acting as an evil soul; if you forgive EJ she would still keep verbally abusing her parents while seeing herself as an innocent person.

Forgiveness does not get evil persons to stop their evil behaviors. Therefore, old time religions call people evil and ask that they be punished if we are to have a safe and peaceful society.

Unfortunately, punishing folks does not make the world a better place; therefore, we still have to teach a positive philosophy to the people, a philosophy that enable people to choose the right behaviors, which are loving behaviors.


What is evil? Evil is the absence of love; love is the absence of evil. The evil person has no love in his or her heart.

The evil person thinks of a harmful behavior, usually behavior that he believes enhances his ego worth in society and he goes right ahead and does it without thinking about its consequences for the person affected.

The individual's private behaviors have public consequences; therefore, the rational person considers his behaviors consequences for those around him before he engages in them. The loving person does only what he believes serves other persons social interest, what serves public good.

The evil person has no love and caring for other people; if you look at his entire life you would see a pattern of not loving and caring for other people.

Joe does not care for any one; no one around him remembers him giving him anything or doing anything for him. To the extent that he does things for other people it is for his wife and children but no other people.

EJ is an unloving and uncaring person; she does not love or care for her parents; if she did she would not be badmouthing them as she does. All that she cares for is her grandiose ego; she wants to be right and for all other persons to be wrong.

We can define evil as any act that does not exhibit love for the person the evil behavior is extended to.

Evil persons live miserable existence, suffer and die and reincarnate to pay further price for their evil behaviors (Hinduism calls it paying of samsara, required by karma, the law of cause and effect).

Both Joe and EJ will probably die miserable deaths and reincarnate to suffer some more until they learn love for their fellow human beings. At present, they are totally identified with the ego of power and, as such, are evil persons.


I believe that human beings are free and, as such, can choose good or bad behaviors. I believe that we are responsible for our behaviors and, as such, must take the consequences of our behaviors. Our good behaviors yield positive consequences for us whereas our bad behaviors yield negative consequences for us. I believe that we pay for the consequences of our behaviors, either in this life time or in other life times. I believe in the Hindu concept of karma.

I believe that we are not victims of what other people did to us and of the world; therefore, we must choose to behave differently if we desire positive outcomes from life.

To me, punishing EJ and Joe are perfectly acceptable behavior; I believe that no one should exist to be evil towards those around him.


I reject psychology's teaching that people are victims who are not responsible for their behaviors; I see people as responsible for their behaviors.

People can choose to respect and love people; people can also choose not to respect and love people. Those who choose love reap positive benefits; those who choose disrespect and hate reap negative consequences for their choices.

If you are a white racist you chose not to love black folks; if you are a black criminal you chose to be so; I do not rationalize away any ones anti-social behavior with psycho-babble (razzmatazz).  This is what makes sense to me hence where I stand on moral issues.

Ozodi Osuji

January 21, 2017

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176