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,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine