Something I heard the other day made me stop and rethink everything. As one gets older, fewer things can do that, so this was something extraordinary.
It was a concept about evil.
What makes a thing evil? So often it seems society is quick to call something evil and just as ready to excuse it. Please note: I’m not making any political/religious/socialistic statement. I’m talking the big, big picture.
The concept that struck me was that evil can be defined as delighting in destroying that which one’s enemy loves the most. I don’t think I described that correctly. It’s bigger than that. As I read it back it also doesn’t sound as profound as what’s rolling around in my head.
The operative word in this poor definition is “delighting”. Evil relishes torturing the untouchable aspect of its enemy, the heart and soul of the target.
This is profound to me in that it distinguishes bad from evil. Bad may be deliberate, vengeful, horrific, but it is not prolonged and does not cause the offender sustained satisfaction. In other words, a person may be bad when he punches some jerk in the face to relieve anger in a situation. A person is evil who takes that jerk outside and kills his beloved pet.
I know. I’m providing stupid definitions and stupid illustrations. This is a start to a theme I ponder often. I would love to hear your thoughts on what makes good good and what makes evil evil. Also, why do we think the two exist, if we do think they exist?