I believe that our young anti-authoritarians -- our potential heroes -- have far less of a need for hero courses in their schools than a need for help in battling against the systemic, authoritarian aspects of their schools.
Trained in the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military interrogators and guards who tortured and dehumanized prisoners in U.S. custody after 9/11 were hardly without ethical bearings.
Violence and evil are no strangers to our world, and they are never going away. However, if we learn to recognize the sources of derelict behavior, we may be able to intervene and prevent good people from making tragic decisions.
As a child in Romania, I watched the Communist authorities come into our house and pull my grandfather from my grandmother's arms -- taking him to a prison where he was eventually kicked to death by a guard.
Evil is not simple and does not fit in a box; it manifests itself in many shapes and forms, from the victim who becomes a torturer, the Nazi who follows orders, and the psychopath who kills without remorse, to the bystander who remains silent in the face of terrible injustice.
Just as Phil Zimbardo talks about the slippery slope of evil that begins with the subject mindlessly taking the first step toward aggression through a seemingly minor action, when mobbing begins, workers are not initially encouraged to be cruel to the targeted worker.
We need to interconnect alternative stories so that they create a coherent whole -- a new, larger story, that will offer the requisite amount of social cohesion on the one hand, and openness and hope on the other.