Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Thoughts On Evil (because Tracy asked me to)

Sometimes when you ask the Internet for help, you get back answers you weren't expecting.
But here goes . . .

What is evil? Some would say that evil is this:
Credit: cowcaholic, on Deviant Art.com
But, I try to remember that he once began as a lonely, abandoned boy in an orphanage. Or some might say that evil is more closely related to this guy:
Credit: Lucasfilm, & badassoftheweek.com
 But . . . he too was an abandoned boy who didn't get all the help he needed and was given the wrong tutelage by the wrong people.

(And then, there is this version of him, which might be evil or hilarious, depending on your particular point of view.)

And for some other people, maybe this is the most evil thing of all.
Credit: Diet of Worms
Maybe you don't like this style of painting. Maybe you don't like Godzilla. Maybe you're not in favor of Godzilla unleashing its wrath upon this simple hut bathed in such beautiful light. But is Godzilla being evil here? Can we truly know what is in Godzilla's mind?

As one of my favorite YA authors suggests, we need to try and imagine others complexly and accept the fact that life resists simplicity. So, I'm not sure about the true nature of evil. Even that "legitimate rape" dude isn't evil . . . he's just terribly misinformed and perhaps willfully ignorant and misguided. In our fevered media culture all of our positions must be rock solid and we must all be true believers. That rigidity is dangerous, certainly. Counterproductive, absolutely. But even that is not evil.

Maybe evil is focused, determined selfishness. An unwillingness to consider that our actions have consequences outside of ourselves . . . to fail to notice that we are not the center of any universe, not even our own personal ones that we wrap up in every day. There are others--people who struggle with their own problems. And we can help them if we are willing to imagine that their lives are just as worthy of consideration as ours. To refuse to do that is evil.

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