“As a quick rundown of the circles of hell, from least bad to worst, there’s: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Wrath, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and finally Treachery. Now what’s particularly interesting here is that, according to Dante, it would seem to be worse to be a flatterer or a corrupt politician than a murderer. Misrepresenting your stances about people or politics is bad bad bad in Dante’s book.
“More interesting still is the inner-most circle: Treachery. Treachery seems to represent a particular kind of fraud: one in which the victim is expected to have some special relationship to the perpetrator. For instance, family members betraying each other seems to be worse than strangers doing similar harms. In general, kin are expected to behave more altruistically towards each other, owing in no small part to the fact that they share genes in common with one another. Helping one’s kin, in the evolutionary-sense of things, is quite literally like helping (part of) yourself. So if kin are expected to trade off their own welfare for family members at a higher rate than they would for strangers, but instead display the opposite tendency, this makes kin-directed immoral acts appear particularly heinous.” –Jesse Marczyk Ph. D., Psychology Today, 2014
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