After 30 years in the making, therapist Evan Longin of Marblehead, who works as a therapist in Salem, has released his book, “The Roots of Evil: A Postmodern Exploration of the Unintended Consequences of Civilization.”
It started when he, along with fellow Marbleheaders Marjorie Roberts and Steve Gaddis, founded the Salem Center, a postmodern therapeutic training center. They wanted to figure out what “led to good psychotherapy and why sometimes psychotherapy fails.”
“My book initially started out with saying the problem was that some psychotherapy failed for four particular reasons,” Longin, who still works as a therapist in Salem, said. “When I examined therapy, and why it failed and why it worked, I then put the same standard to the community and why over the history of modern civilization, evil keeps cropping up, and it seems for the same reason that therapy fails.”
There are four parts to creating evil, he said. First is the power of behavior.
“People in power use their power to subservient people who are weak,” Longin said.
The second part is binary thinking, or “us versus them,” he said. Number three is “simplistic solutions to complex problems,” and the fourth is control of information.
Those topics would be brought up a lot at their center in Salem, he said. They would have patients who weren’t successful in psychotherapy, and they looked into why they got better when they came to the center.
“One, they were the wrong patient. So the definition of patient on the part of modern psychiatry often mistook someone as the patient who was just a product of the problem,” Longin said. “The second one was that they were treated as ‘them’ by ‘us,’ that they had a different status than the treaters.”
The next reason is that the therapists had a lot more power than the patients did.
“Then the fourth is the control of information, that we as therapists believe we have all the knowledge and we can’t be wrong,” Longin said. “We blame the patient for not having the right ideas about things.”
The book introduces the reader to postmodernism, he said.
“Postmodernism is, we believe, that knowledge is constantly changing,” Longin said. “That every time we have a discussion, every time I talk with somebody new about this, my ideas change, the way I present it changes.”
“The Roots of Evil: A Postmodern Exploration of the Unintended Consequences of Civilization” has been out since the very end of 2022 when Longin published it through Amazon.
“I felt very urgent to get it out at this time in history,” Longin said. “I’m very concerned about the divide in our country, and that all the factors are there for creating evil. So I wanted to get this out, I couldn’t wait any longer to try to get a conventional publisher to publish it, so I published it through Amazon.”
For those considering reading his book, he wanted to let them know that “it’s an important book.”
“That’s why I got it out there. It’s important to read, to ask yourself, ‘What do I do? How do I stop evil from blooming amongst us now?’” Longin said. “And the answer is complicated, but I think it’s simple in the sense that it’s love, it’s questioning. So curiosity and love are at the center of it and dialog, coming together, and listening to one another.”