Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Is There Such a Thing as Evil? Is Evil Subjective or Objective?

At a small dinner recently, I asked "Is there such a thing as evil, or is evil mostly ignorance, fear, selfishness, and indoctrination?"  The group was split in half.  One guest said that evil is bad wiring and there's a usually a pill for it.  Another said that there absolutely were evil people.  He'd met them.  I asked if evil was just thinking about yourself w/out considering anyone or anything else.  I wondered about those behind the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico or the Bhopal gas leak.  My wise friend Suzanne said that selfishness or self-preoccupation (or capitalism) were not necessarily evil.  Evil, she said, was wanting to inflict pain on others, e.g. Saddam Hussein gassing the Kurds.

Bad wiring?  Selfishness?  Fear?  Maybe it depends which side of the bullet you are on.  I am very very sad for the people of Norway this week.

Regardless of how evil is defined, I will continue to teach empathic listening.  Occasionally, it can stop an act of violence.

1 comment:

  1. JDA says, "One of the advantages of being in a family of 19 children is that you can make choices about who you love and who you do not love. It sure gives you the capacity to understand human nature. When there's one or two siblings, it's "love by demand." One of my siblings was totally evil and self-centred and wanted to inflict pain on others. I saw evil first hand."