The Lucifer Effect Book By Philip Zimbardo

In his book, Zimbardo identifies three psychological truths that emerge from Escher’s Image. The first truth is that the world always has and will always be filled with good and evil people. Zimbardo states that the barrier between good and evil is permeable and nebulous in the second truth (3). The third truth states that angels can become devils and perhaps be more difficult to conceive for devils to become angels (Zimbardo 3). The first psychological truth explains the existence of evil and its influence on human behavior. As Zimbardo states, evil people will never cease to exist on earth since they have existed in the past, the present and will exist in the future (5). The second truth explains our ability to distinguish the barrier that distinguishes good and evil. According to Zimbardo, there is no defined measure that can help distinguish between evil and good (11). Lastly, the third psychological truth, suggests that it is easier for good people to become evil; on the other hand, it is difficult for evil people to transform into good people.

It can be argued that Zimbardo’s “truths” are depicted in Escher’s image through the various elements within the image. The first truth is the existence of good and bad people in society. Escher’s image shows two illustrations of good and evil angels distinguished by color. The good angels are colored white, and the evil angels are black, depicting that there will always be a coexistence of evil and good.

The second truth helps us determine or differentiate between good and evil. Escher’s image depicts two representations of good and evil depicted by its painting. It is perceived that the black paintings are the evil angels while those painted in white are the good angels. The image challenges our perception of why we take sides and assume that the objects in white are good while those in black are evil. The third truth I depicted in Escher’s image is that we have a limited capacity to change our behavior. Escher’s image has two objects with different colors, black and white. However, human nature is accustomed to depicting that evil is represented by darkness; we develop rigidity and conclude that the black objects in the painting are evil.

Work Cited

Zimbardo, Philip. The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil. Random House, 2007.