Good versus Evil
The notion of “good versus evil” is a concept that can be perceived in many ways. It is a dangerous over simplification to believe that some people are good and some are evil. This misleading concept underlies the majority of the world’s justice systems. Evil people are those who commit crimes and who end up rotting in prison with all the other evil people that have committed evil crimes. This concept has fueled many conflicts and wars throughout history. It influences select groups to believe that they are fighting for a good cause and against an evil enemy, and once that evil enemy has been eliminated, peace and prosperity will return.
The reality is that there is no such thing as good and evil. These ideas are relative to each other. One person’s good could be another’s evil. People can have a combination of good and bad qualities. Some people who behave violently and without empathy can sometimes be rehabilitated and eventually display kindness and positivity. Rather than it being an internal quality, most negative behavior can be attributed to an abusive childhood or “social learning” from peers or family.
What do we mean when we use these simplistic terms? Good means a lack of self-centeredness. It means having the ability to empathize with others, to put their needs before your own, even if it means sacrificing your own well-being. It means being able to put any racial, gender, or sexual differences aside and being able to relate to a common human essence. If you look at any particular individuals who have been considered to be good people throughout history, they all share these qualities. Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther-King both risked their own safety and well-being for the goal of gaining freedom for Indians and African Americans. Evil people are considered to be those who cannot empathize with others. As a result, they are often narcissistic, self-absorbed, and selfish. These people often only have...