I believe evil is a strong word, although I know I’ve used it myself to describe people who I know. In truth it’s a word used in anger; but not one that I think is generally truly meant. I think that good and evil is a sliding scale, we all have a bit of both in us; but very few are completely one extreme or the other. It’s hard to see the good though, when the bad is so strong and seems to outweigh all else. I think it’s our impartial judgment that gets affected the most, so that we can just see the bad in a person, or at times just the good.
How is evil created? Are people born that way?
If you take the view (which I do) that we’re a product of our experiences and that everything we do is a result of what is done to us and how we react, sometimes it’s easier to explain why a person does what they do, for good or evil; but for me it always comes down to free will. People have a choice, a moment to decide what to do. When you make a conscious choice to disregard others and do something that will hurt someone, then that’s when you start to head down a darker path.
I also don’t think it’s an overnight decision like a switch going, which turns a person from good to evil. I think no matter how screwed up you are or what has happened to you, the little decisions you make about how to react to things and how you interact with people every day are what determines a person’s character. It’s the little things that add up; but in most people they don’t go too far; but in some they just continue to build. It’s not sudden, which I think s the scary part, that you look back once something bad happens and you realise it’s been coming for a long time, you just didn’t realise it; but if you’d been paying attention. Hindsight really is 20-20.
I saw this quote posted by maia1111 which I think is perfect.
“Evil isn’t knowing the difference between right and wrong, it’s not caring.”
Is doing the wrong thing for the right reasons still wrong or even evil? What one person thinks is right another can greatly disagree on. Who’s right? Who gets to judge? There are obviously acts that can be universally agreed on as evil, many events in history; but I always remember the quote that “History is told from the side of the victor.” I think that there are acts of evil that go on all the time which are never reported or remembered. Is it an evil act when innocents get hurt as the result of an act for the greater good? Who gets to decide what’s for the greater good?
Maybe we need to have the two extremes of good and evil, so we have a choice as to where we choose to live on the scale and we are aware of the consequences of our actions.
Or maybe it’s just so that we can have stories for some of the greatest literature, films and art ever created. If there was nothing to battle and overcome, then most of the classics would not exist.