First of all, to anyone who is still following me, I’m sorry that I haven’t been all that active in the last few months.  I’ve been going though a change in career, poor internet connection due to the area I live in, and a few changes in my personal life. But I should be back to my semi-regular schedule. 🙂

Now, on to the subject of this post.   I have been keeping up with the responses to my post about hydrogen peroxide therapy and I noticed a pattern in the responses.  This pattern is that there is some organization that is trying to keep the common populace from having a cure because it interferes with their plans to profit from the suffering of others.  In fact, that general pattern seems to be pretty common in the media these days.  People are constantly talking about how “evil” organizations are out to get us or harm us.  And this got me thinking about the idea of evil.

To begin, this is the dictionary definition of the word evil:

a : morally reprehensible : sinful, wicked <an evil impulse>

b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation>
a: archaic , inferior
b : causing discomfort or repulsion : offensive <an evil odor>
c : disagreeable <woke late and in an evil temper>
a : causing harm : pernicious <the evil institution of slavery>
b : marked by misfortune : unlucky

These definitions of the term evil paint a pretty clear picture.  Evil is against morality, a cause of suffering, and a repulsive thing to be avoided.  But I want to point something out here.  Evil tends to be portrayed as these traits as enacted by a willing participant, with one exception in the example above.

My real issue with the term comes not from the dictionary definition, but from the colloquial use of the word.  When most people use the word evil, they mean a person or act that is destructive or antagonistic with little to no regard for the well being of others.  Evil people actively try to harm others without meaning or remorse.  When I hear people talk about evil, it often conjures up the imagery of fictionalized bad guys.  The key word in that last sentence is the word fictionalized.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Throughout history, people have used stories to make sense of the world around them.  Now, since we’re a social species, the anti-social acts of a select few have confused us ever since our society started.  One way that we humans have tried to make sense of the destructive and hurtful acts of others is to create the idea of evil.  Historically, evil has been the excuse for people who do things that hurt others.  This depiction of evil is often associated with individuals who have no “heart” or “soul.”  When people use this definition of evil, they paint a picture of the people or groups that they describe as being without a sense of morality.  This can easily damage our perceptions of the people around us.

This is here because the devil is a classic depiction of evil, and I love the Diablo games.

This is here because the devil is a classic depiction of evil, and I love the Diablo games.

I believe that the vast majority of people do not do anything with the active intent of only harming people.  I believe that when you look into the intent of people, they have an interest in heart that can be understood.  The CEO that steals from their company was doing it because they wanted their family to live in luxury.  The politician who voted against additional funding for schools may have been convinced by uninformed voters that the bill was going to prevent private schools from teaching the religion that they are a member of.  While we may not agree with the actions of the people around us, I believe that we need to look into the reasons behind those actions.  If those actions are based in greed or hate or any other worldview that does more harm than good, then we should be able to oppose them.  However, if there is a logic to the actions that we do not agree with, then we need to be able to learn about that logic and understand it if we ever want to progress as a society.