Call Center Purgatory <$BlogRSDURL$>
Call Center Purgatory
Friday, June 02, 2006
  Hidden Evil

I've been thinking about evil again. I believe just like anyone can do good, anyone can be evil. Here's an earlier series that I did on evil:"What is Evil?". I've developed those thoughts a little more in the essay below.

The evil that humans do is rarely from a fully-actualized, eyes-wide-open, conscious sense of malice,(this does exist, thankfully its not common). For the most part, evil done to others comes from a mental exercise whereby we define the feelings, needs, and pain of others as much less real, much less vital than our own. Once we do this, all evil done to others becomes a simple matter of priorities. The amazing thing about this kind of exercise is that it never feels like evil, it can feel like nothing at all. You can whistle a happy tune as you destroy someone's life. Our needs, our conveniences, have so much more substance than these indistinct others, that no real thought is involved in doing evil to others.

In essence, others aren't as real. They don't have feelings, values or beliefs. They have become some sort of creature that only resembles a human being, except it does not possess the same spirit, soul or intellect as you. The mind-set becomes very similar to how slave owners saw their African slaves in the Southern U.S., or how Nazis saw the Jews in World War II Germany.

True evil does not start with raising oneself above others. Instead, it begins with lowering those around you to less than human. Its a selfishness that says, "I'm just an average Joe. Its all these other morons around me that are the problem. Why aren't there other normal, intelligent people around me? Instead, I'm surrounded by idiots!"

This type of "humble superiority" is seen everywhere. In the halls of government we see it both, Democrat and Republicans,(though sometimes it almost seems more common in liberal politicians). We see it in education, as educators decide to dumb-down curriculums, or expect less from us. We see it in the workplace, possibly clearer than anywhere else.

Returning to the ideas of the Nazis and the southern slave owners, this type of re-categorizing of others as sub-human leads to a form of patronization that is another form of this hidden evil:

Its an evil that knows what's best for us.
Its an evil that wants to "protect us from ourselves".
Its an evil that has decided we can't make our own decisions, or rule our own destiny.
Its an evil that appears forward-thinking, enlightened, and even benevolent.
Its exactly the opposite...

Whether it's expecting less from children in school, taking away personal rights in the name of safety and security, or so many other subtle actions, there are people that want to define us as so needy of their help. They would define us as a world of people that can't do anything without the help of some ivy-league graduate legislating morality or a well-meaning social worker with a PhD that feels they have to teach us how to raise our kids. There are those in the world whose mercy, pity and condescending attitude mix to form a curious compound that resembles hatred in a pretty shade of pink.

We don't need people ordering our society. I prefer the freedom to mess up my own life to some metric society that helps me every time I don't measure up to their insipid definitions of right and wrong-liberal and conservative. Democracy and society will always be a messy endeavor. Perfect order, cleanliness and everyone having the same cars, houses, lives, and thoughts is a crack-pipe dream that can only be accomplished through fascist means.

Thanks for reading,

AC

Anonymous Cog

 
Comments:
That is so true, so true that I have even found myself referring to people around me as "props of life"...I wouldn't necessarily consider myself evil because I would expect that they would consider me a prop of life as well...

~Bansidhe
(I can never seem to get signed in as such, so I shall remain anonymous in the technical sense...par for the course, really)
 
Thanks for commenting.
AC
 
I definitely agree that it is an evil to dumb down the curriculum of our schools. The message sent to the students is "you aren't smart enough, so we're making it easier". The result is students do even worse. If we raised the bar, they would rise to the challenge.

Atleast, that's how I felt in my high school.
 
Have you ever looked into the eyes of evil? I don't mean a picture of some creep, or serial killer.
Have you ever walked into a room knowing that the occupant was evil?
 
I think that most of what you are perceiving as evil does not come under the category evil. Hitler, yes. A lot of what you describe is just arrogance, isn't it? But I think Joseph Conrad in The Heart of Darkness shows the barbarity dwelling in all our hearts, ready to assert itself when conditions become barbaric enough. That's how I had read it, anyway. Jimmy Carter has a book out about moral conflict in America, in which he thoroughly defines fundamentalism. But I would not call fundamentalism evil any more than I would call liberalism or conservatism evil. But fundamentalism, as Jimmy defines it, can lead to evil action, I guess. Well, definitely.
 
Wow Patty...
Maybe I'm not just that sensitive. Evil is something I have not detected so easily, but after talking to someone for a while you can start to place them.

Of course, the bible says that Satan appears as an angel of light. So, evil is something that doesn't always show up right away.

Thanks for the good comment.

AC
 
Whoinsamhill:

Good thoughts. I disagree that I am just expressing arrogance. I am expressing the "softer side" of evil, which is rooted in selfishness and arrogance. I am saying the base of evil is seeing yourself and your needs as superior to others, which is more than just arrogance.

The Heart of Darkness idea about barbarism is apt. Society dwells in this veneer where they consider only bad people as able to barbarous acts, but there is a barbarian in every selfish little child, and every adult asshole.

I love the idea that fundamentalism is as evil as liberalism. Anytime we decide we know best for everyone else in the world, that is the first step towards fascism, whether liberal, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc.

Thanks for stopping by.

AC
 
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