Daily Prompt: Thoughts on Evil

Write about evil: how you understand it (or don’t), what you think it means, or a way it’s manifested, either in the world at large or in your life.
The dictionary defines evil as an adjective that describes something as being morally wrong or bad; wicked. An action that causes harm or injury; marked by or accompanied by misfortune. It can describe someone who is angry or spiteful and not held in high esteem or it can be something that causes offence and therefore unpleasant.

According to the above definition of ‘evil’ it can be ascribed to someone who is angry or spiteful or in fact something that just pisses us off. I think we’ve dumbed down what I see as a far more insidious sentiment. To be evil or behave in an evil manner is far more than being annoyed at someone or behaving spitefully because you didn’t get your way. Evil is not merely ‘unpleasant’, it causes devastation, emotional pain far beyond any physical injury and it has a reach into the victim’s future. An evil act is life-changing and the consequences of which the victim carries with them for the remainder of days they walk the earth.

For an act to be considered evil it is premeditated to cause harm. The intent of the action requires that another person be injured whether emotionally, spiritually or physically. Absolute evil would be personified by some historic figures all of whom have a notoriety that repulses most of us. Adolf Hitler, responsible for millions of deaths in WWII and Idi Amin who instigated mass genocide and atrocious acts of torture on a nation disempowered by his dictatorship. Just two people whom I would call evil.

Evil exists in self-centredness that is propelled towards its goal with a complete lack of empathy or compassion for its victims. People only have value inasmuch as they are objects that serve the purpose of evil. It exhibits a psychopathic psychology – unable to experience empathy or show compassion. It has no compunction but to perpetrate trauma in cruel ways and has no regard for the suffering of the victim. Evil leaves its victims desecrated and permanently scarred from the experience. The idea of forgiveness, justice, suitable punishment, even retribution lose all sensibility in the face of such far-reaching consequences of evil that carries profound lifelong consequences. (Held in high regard as a form of justice is the increasing practice of ‘restorative justice’. This would not be a course of justice for the victim, instead it would serve only to re-traumatise them as they faced the perpetrator).

On the other hand beneficence upholds the wellbeing of people and in thriving communities it forms part of their morality. Beneficence upholds human dignity and seeks to do no harm. While the beneficent soul may strive to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, someone with evil intent has no regard for such a ‘rule’ and would see the rule as counterproductive to their purpose.

I do not understand evil.



One thought on “Daily Prompt: Thoughts on Evil

  1. Pingback: of darkness « Anawnimiss

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