Thursday, 23 May 2013

Something wicked this way comes


This week's Theme Thursday topic is definitely an interesting yet complicated one:  Evil: Does it exist? What is it? How do you define it? Why does it happen? 

The word evil is defined in the dictionary as something that is morally bad, wrong or wicked. Pretty broad, and open to much interpretation, as far as definitions go, and I'm sure if you asked 100 different people to explain what evil personally means to them, you'd have 100 different answers.

Personally, I believe in evil because I believe in dualism. Where light exists, so must the dark. Where there is life, there is death...where there is harmony, there is chaos...ying and yang, etc, etc. I believe in universal balance and I could get easily get sidetracked and start blathering on about reciprocation in nature and opposites and a bunch of other shit that sounds so New-Agey that I have to check myself, lest you all start thinking I'm gonna suggest we all sit holding hands in a healing circle and discuss our charkra alignments, before we move on to protection spells and joyful chanting to charge the circle with positive energy (I mock, yet I've done all these things. And yes, the chanting made me feel stupid and I'm pretty sure mine was way less joyful than it was supposed to be, due to the voice in my head saying "Are you seriously chanting with a bunch of people who smell like BO and patchouli, and that smile way too much for no apparent reason?? They could be nice, zen-ed out, blissful people...or they could be the fucking Manson Family. Run for your life before they start playing a Beatles record backwards, you dumbass").

Wow, that whole paragraph just went completely sideways and turned into one long, run-on sentence, didn't it? It is obvious I'm neither Shakespeare, nor Plato but then again I don't really want to be either, because they probably died of the plague or some form of explosive diarrhea that today could be cured with antibotics and Pepto Bismol...hooray for modern medicine!

Fuck, I did it again.

Anyfuckingways, back on topic...I think all humans have the potential to be evil, just like I think all humans have potential to be innately good. Look at all the evil acts and behaviour in history and you can see that evil is definitely a human trait. While I think that some people commit evil acts because it's in their psychological makeup and their brain wiring is all fucked up (like how there have been studies on diagnosed criminal psychopaths that show their brain reacts differently than a normal person's brain to violent stimuli), I also believe that everyone has the potential to behave in an evil manner, but their own moral code is what keeps it in check. However, given enough negative stressors, whether it's a physical or emotional pressure of an extreme nature I think we're all capable of evil behaviour.

 Phillip Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment is great example of how people can and will react under extreme conditions. The roles of the prison guards and the prisoners were chosen at random, yet by the time the experiment ended rather abruptly after 6 days, it was noted that at least a third of the participants in the role of prison guards were exhibiting genuine sadistic tendencies and most of the guards were upset when the experiment was terminated early. So were those participants closet-sadists to begin with, and they just happened to volunteer for this experiment, where they had no idea which role they'd be assigned to? Or did the experiment allow the evil part of those participants that may have lay dormant and undetected up until that point, to come to the surface when they had an opportunity to behave in a cruel manner with no repercussions? I believe the latter.

And what about the rest of us? I've seen a trailer for a movie who's premise is that for 24 hours of one day every year, people can do whatever they want, with no repercussions at all. They can rob, rape and kill...24 hours of absolute anarchy, where if someone has done you wrong, you have a free pass for revenge, anyway you see fit. I'm sure most people's first reaction when presented with that scenario would be "Holy shit, what a horrible fucking idea!". But ask yourself this, in brutal honesty...is there someone that has wronged you or someone you love, and if you had a chance to punish them in whatever way you deemed righteous, would you do it? Would that make you evil if you did? Because that's the problem with evil...we may have all thought about seeking some kind of revenge on someone who did us a horrible wrong, but is having to live with ourselves after crossing that line into evil is what prevents us from breaking our own moral code? Or are we maybe more afraid that if we did cross that line once, it would make it easier to cross again, until we moved the line to the point we could not recognize good from evil any longer?

I suppose my point is, when I think of evil, I don't think of some nasty dude who smells like sulphur and pokes people with a pitchfork. In my opinion, every human being has the capacity for evil, but our capacity for good plus our personal moral code keeps it in check

24 comments:

  1. So what evil could YOU do, that you refrain from?

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  2. There is a certain pedophile who fucked up the lives of people I care about, and threw all of us into a hellish nightmare that continues have a negative impact on all involved in some way...I would happily castrate him with a rusty chainsaw and would get a great deal of satisfaction if he died a slow and very painful death. Would I act on this feeling? No. Because it wouldn't erase what he did and I'd rather not spend the rest of my life in jail :)

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    1. Personally, I think it would be more of a public service, but society and the law seems to frown upon painful genital amputation via chainsaws

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    2. Public service? I think so. Great post..really kind of tough subject

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    3. The topic really was a challenge...so many ways I could have written about this :)

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  3. I love your insightfulness combined with rambling. You're my kind of girl...

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  4. OMG I had this huge comment ... please tell me I didn't delete in my mid-day drunken splendor. Btw, I'm attempting Hemingway. I do not have a problem. Except my beautiful, beautiful comment that I think went away.

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  5. Booop. It did.

    Okay.

    There's this prison thing. I can't stop reading about it.

    You inspire me.

    Humans are evil.

    Right situation? I'd fuck a bitch up. Give me the power and I would.

    Humans are evil. We're disgusting. We're horrible things that pretend to have feelings that would likely eat our best friends to survive.

    -The Insomniacs Dream

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    1. The prison experiment is really fascinating stuff. I took some Psych courses at college a couple years ago and we discussed that experiment in class. Really amazing what negative stressors will do to people and it made me wonder how far it would have gone if the experiment hadn't been terminated early

      Hey, I'm glad you commented because I've been meaning to tell you, your blog won't let me leave a comment anymore for some weird reason. This could be my techno-retardation kicking in, but I'm not sure why it's happening

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  6. Wow! What a powerful post. I don't see punishing someone who did me wrong as a child, as evil, more like divine retribution.
    But you're absolutely right, it's what little moral code I have left, which keeps me in check. :)

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    1. Thanks Lily :) Sometime I think my own moral code is the only thing that keeps me from going batshit-crazy on certain people lol

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  7. I LOVED that movie! First "horror" movie I ever saw as a kid, and I think it was at a halloween party.

    But I totally agree with you about the duality of everything in life. Is duality the right word? Does that imply that something is two things? Maybe the better word I am searching for is symbiosis? I do believe you can't have (or understand) good/love/joy with out bad/hate/sadness.

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    1. I think duality meaning like 2 sides of a coin...can't have one without the other. Symbosis totally fits too :)

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  8. This is so true. I know for sure I want to be evil a lot of times- but I keep myself in line... most of the time!!

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    1. Yep, "most of the time" is key for me too hehehe

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  9. Ahhhh... The Double edged sword that is evil.

    On one side, you have all the power of the light. Until you are wronged. But do you seek revenge? If you do, won't that make you evil as well? But if not you, then who will avenge you? Don't you owe it to yourself to get back at them? Doesn't god owe it to you?

    The slope to the dark side is paved with good intentions... And cookies.

    Or, perhaps, I watch too much Star Wars...

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. No such thing as watching too much Star Wars lol

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  10. I believe we all have free will, which means we chose to do good or evil. At least or me, I hope I am raising my kid with a moral compass, so when given a choice, he will chose good.

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    1. I hope the same thing for my kid too!

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  11. I think every human's poised on a razor's edge between good and evil and that we daily teeter along and thoughtlessly commit random acts of both. I believe some folks pitch heavily toward either side, and some of these can help what they do and others cannot. And as regards truly serious vengeance...well, I have to own that my religious upbringing, plus my own experiences as a maker of mistakes, lead me to plead for mercy for all (even if, as you saw on my own blog, I'm not above pranking the hell out of those who've hurt me for the pleasure of severely pissing them off). :-D
    Some Dark Romantic

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  12. Wow. Making me think on a Saturday morning...damn you!

    LOL...kidding. I actually love this post. I agree with your concept of dualism. Good cannot exist without evil; I also believe that nearly all humans are just as capable of evil as good. Personally, I know that there are many acts of evil that I would gleefully commit if I had no moral compass, or if I were able to live with my guilt after actually committing them. ;-)

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