Do you believe there is evil in you?

evil:
profoundly immoral and malevolent
embodying or associated with the forces of the devil
harmful or tending to harm
extremely unpleasant

If so, how did the evil find you?
Are people born evil?
If you are evil-free, how did that happen?
Have you ever been accused of being evil? If so, how did you respond?

54 Comments

  1. David- It’s not as if i am a totally mindless idiot but this really is the essence.
    “Battle not with monsters
    lest ye become a monster
    and if you gaze into the abyss
    the abyss gazes into you.” (F.Nietzsche
    i have experienced this phenomenon first hand (before getting into Nietzsche, solipsism, and pareidolia,) after trying to get rid of “evil” in the world, i was shown by the “highest power” or whatever one wants to call it, that this so called “evil,” was in me and my conception that “evil” existed at all. It was all a bunch of rationalization and scapegoating on my part.
    The concept of “evil” has been given to us to teach us that we are creating what we perceive. We are not taught directly but indirectly.

  2. David- Not in the least. i currently believe that “evil” exists only for people who belive it exists, and that they are temporarily deluded. There was not such word as “evil” or meaning of it in ancient Hebrew or Aramaic. The closest they came was “unripe” or “temporarily misguided.” “Evil” is in me to that extent, that is is in other people from their point of view and they are in me, as is the entire universe within us all.
    Aramaic equivalent for English words according to the Syriac Peshitta version of the gospels, according to Neil Douglass-Klotz in “The Hidden Gospel.”
    Evil: bisa. Unripe, not fit for it’s intended purpose, not ready, out of rhythm.
    Advesary: satana. That which causes one to go astray.

  3. I offer you the tale of Two Wolves
    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
    He said, “My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.
    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret,
    greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
    The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
    kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”
    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”
    The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.
    (Nicola who is feeding the good side today!)

  4. Hi Nicola —
    Thanks for that story! I take it then you believe we are born with evil within us. What if someone else feeds our evil without us knowing? People have proven over and over again how trusting and gullible and winsome they are by unwittingly allowing their evil to be force-fed by those who celebrate that hunger.
    I read your blog entry today about your crusty meat pie! Now some might argue you are feeding the evil cholesterol monster within you, and not your goodness, when you chew and swallow that divine temptation!
    😀

  5. Hi David-
    Hitler was here to teach us what happens when we believe in evil and feed it, and how we should see solipsistically if we want to move ahead. Also how we shoudn’t see anything as separate, or total.
    People have said my photography is “evil” because i am messing with an order that shouldn’t be enmgaged with. ignored this.
    We are being taught. Not that there is evil, but how to learn by our “mistakes” which aren’t mistakes but lessons. It is all positive, most of it taught indirectly. Hitler was here to show us how anyone who owned a penny, owned a piece of Hitler, as he was supported by the whole monetary and industrial system. He was here to show us the conspiracy that existed and exists. That people who believe in conspiracy aren’t all nut cases. He was here to show us not that there is evil, but that he was in each of us and still is, as was (Budha, Jesus etc.,) unless we learn the lesson that there is no evil until we maintain the concept. Ever read “Secret War with the Jews” by John Loftus. Even the “Jews” were part of this secret war against other Jews. Hitler was here to show us not to look at things superficially and thus perpetuate the same thing in a different guise. Everything is a living principle, not just what it superficially appears to be. So called “evil” will always be leading us till we get our heads on straight that it doesn’t even exist untill we dream it up and follow it like a nightmare that it is. When man’s cerebral cortex got suddenly enlarged it had the great advantage of intelligence, but the great disadvantage that he was easily led astray by appealing to this supposed intelligence and his supposed rationality, especially the supposed advantage of the rational and the disadvantage of the “irrational.”
    “Much madness is divinist sense- To a discerning eye;- Much sense the starkest madness.- Tis’ the majority- In this as all prevails- Assent, and you are sane;- Demur,—you’re straight away dangerous- And handled with a chain.” (Emily Dickenson.)”

  6. There’s evil and good in everyone.
    Goodness or evil gets amplified by our society, our teaching and the people with whom we choose to associate.
    Here’s another interesting question associated with good vs. evil.
    Is evil relative?
    Some examples:
    Is Bush the same as Hitler, as Hugo Chavez suggests? (Citgo better start running more commercials about how they are giving free gasoline to poor American children …)
    Can radicals teaching children to be suicide bombers be a good thing? Are Arab television programs rehashing old stereotypes and prejudices against Jewish people wholesome family entertainment?
    Is freedom and liberty evil and strict religious control of society — including killing infidels on sight and subjugating women — peaceful and holy?
    Are there universal notions of what is good and what is evil?
    Can there be evil when it seems that culture and environment can change evil to something perceived as good?

  7. You ask some good questions, Chris, and I am inclined to think of Bush and Hitler in the same thread of the failed, but never forgotten, deadly schemer for world domination.
    If everything is evil and everything is good — depending on your perspective — what good is the “evil” label unless you use it to demonize something or someone for your personal advantage which, it seems, would make you evil incarnate?

  8. Hi David- There was no substance to evil, until the word and concept were born. Once people believed in it’s existence, they incorporated it, others battled with it, some tried to tried to anihilate it, ignore it etc. It’s the same with all words. That’s where “In the beginning was the word,” comes from. Our “intelligence,” that gives us the ability to comprehend words, is easily led astray when we believe in their absolute and totalitarian existence. Lao Tzu, Nietzsche seemed to have their head on relatively straight. Even though they used words, they showed them for what they are; as close to impossible as it is to do this with words. Words were given to us by Hermes Trismagistus the trickster. We should use them to see all as beyond positve, and especially beyond negative and “move swiftly on and be free.”

  9. Hi David- There was no substance to evil, until the word and concept were born. Once people believed in it’s existence, they incorporated it, others battled with it, some tried to tried to anihilate it, ignore it etc. It’s the same with all words. That’s where “In the beginning was the word,” comes from. Our “intelligence,” that gives us the ability to comprehend words, is easily led astray when we believe in their absolute and totalitarian existence. Lao Tzu, Nietzsche seemed to have their head on relatively straight. Even though they used words, they showed them for what they are; as close to impossible as it is to do this with words. Words were given to us by Hermes Trismagistus the trickster. We should use them to see all as beyond positve, and especially beyond negative and “move swiftly on and be free.”

  10. Hi David,
    I raised the questions, but I do believe that the world seems to split into “good” and “evil” camps — whether it is on the international level, on down to interpersonal relationships.
    Teaching kids to be suicide bombers or to fight an endless war against the infidels is evil — just as airing propaganda films designed to enrage people so that they’ll sacrifice themselves for the gain of a few clerics or royal families is evil.
    I’ve been thinking about the impending “phased redeployment” in relation to evil.
    Just as Cambodia fell apart when we left Southeast Asia leading to the death of millions in the “killing fields,” the same scenario threatens to play out in a destabilized Iraq.
    Is it evil to pull out of Iraq now and let the country either descend into darkness as the Sunnis and Shia wage genocide against each other and the Kurds?
    Is it evil to leave a power void that will become a world flash point as Iran, Turkey, and Syria battle over who gets the land? Isn’t it an “attractive nuisance” to leave something so tempting undefended?
    Evil is the struggle that all humans have to resist the temptation to violate the “golden rule” of loving their neighbor as they love themselves in order to further their own interests.

  11. Hi David,
    I raised the questions, but I do believe that the world seems to split into “good” and “evil” camps — whether it is on the international level, on down to interpersonal relationships.
    Teaching kids to be suicide bombers or to fight an endless war against the infidels is evil — just as airing propaganda films designed to enrage people so that they’ll sacrifice themselves for the gain of a few clerics or royal families is evil.
    I’ve been thinking about the impending “phased redeployment” in relation to evil.
    Just as Cambodia fell apart when we left Southeast Asia leading to the death of millions in the “killing fields,” the same scenario threatens to play out in a destabilized Iraq.
    Is it evil to pull out of Iraq now and let the country either descend into darkness as the Sunnis and Shia wage genocide against each other and the Kurds?
    Is it evil to leave a power void that will become a world flash point as Iran, Turkey, and Syria battle over who gets the land? Isn’t it an “attractive nuisance” to leave something so tempting undefended?
    Evil is the struggle that all humans have to resist the temptation to violate the “golden rule” of loving their neighbor as they love themselves in order to further their own interests.

  12. You give interesting warnings about history and creation, fred, but how does one live in a world that many perceive to be split by evil?
    If you deny its existence you become an evildoer. If you confess to its presence, you become part of the naming game.

  13. You give interesting warnings about history and creation, fred, but how does one live in a world that many perceive to be split by evil?
    If you deny its existence you become an evildoer. If you confess to its presence, you become part of the naming game.

  14. In answer to your question David, I would say that we are born with the potential for good and evil in us or light and dark – or positive and negative.
    Yes there is potential for parental damage, neglect or certain behaviour patterns to *feed* evil/negativity into their offspring.
    In the UK we have an age at which children are supposed to understand the difference between right and wrong – from http://www.youthinformation.com/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=90758
    “When you reached the age of 10 you probably didn’t realise you had reached the age of criminal responsibility. Until the age of 10 the law says that you cannot be held responsible for a crime.
    Between the ages of 10 and 14 you can be convicted of a criminal offence if the prosecution can show you were aware that what you were doing was seriously wrong. For example, the case of Jamie Bulger, who was killed by two 10 year olds, was based on this principle. The prosecution showed that the two boys knew that what they were doing was seriously wrong and they were given prison sentences.
    After the age of 14 the law considers you are fully responsible for your actions in the same way as an adult. As such you will be treated as an adult in a court of law in terms of criminal responsibility (although not in terms of sentencing).”
    I think we all struggle with our demons – day to day – every choice we make.
    (I resisted the meat pie today and had a chicken salad roll instead!)

  15. In answer to your question David, I would say that we are born with the potential for good and evil in us or light and dark – or positive and negative.
    Yes there is potential for parental damage, neglect or certain behaviour patterns to *feed* evil/negativity into their offspring.
    In the UK we have an age at which children are supposed to understand the difference between right and wrong – from http://www.youthinformation.com/Templates/Internal.asp?NodeID=90758
    “When you reached the age of 10 you probably didn’t realise you had reached the age of criminal responsibility. Until the age of 10 the law says that you cannot be held responsible for a crime.
    Between the ages of 10 and 14 you can be convicted of a criminal offence if the prosecution can show you were aware that what you were doing was seriously wrong. For example, the case of Jamie Bulger, who was killed by two 10 year olds, was based on this principle. The prosecution showed that the two boys knew that what they were doing was seriously wrong and they were given prison sentences.
    After the age of 14 the law considers you are fully responsible for your actions in the same way as an adult. As such you will be treated as an adult in a court of law in terms of criminal responsibility (although not in terms of sentencing).”
    I think we all struggle with our demons – day to day – every choice we make.
    (I resisted the meat pie today and had a chicken salad roll instead!)

  16. Chris —
    When you make a mistake — who suffers for the ends of that mistake? The person who made the decision of the mistake or those who create the means of the mistake in the marketplace of ideas?
    The invasion of Iraq had only intent and not an end. Those who currently suffer in Iraq are not the decision makers but those who are stuck in the morass of bad decision-making.
    The problem with staying in Iraq for even a bit longer is that we have become them. We are common in the cities. We are ordinary in the marketplace. Instead of being hailed as rescuers or saviors we are viewed as the perpetuators of ancient wounds and historic tribal clashes. We have become part of the problem and of the country instead of rising above it all.
    When 41 hit Iraq he did it from afar with overwhelming force and then got the heck out.
    43’s mistake is one of lingering and of wishing and of hoping for an invitation and open arms to stay. When neither were offered, the troops immediately became occupiers instead of liberators and look where we are now: Lame Ducks leading Sitting Ducks. Only bloodshed and death will result from the series of bad decision-making that took us into the pit.
    If the Powell Doctrine had been followed using overwhelming force and 150,000 more troops and a quick and deadly strike was employed followed by an immediate rebuilding of infrastructure and respect and leadership, we could’ve been done and out and “victorious” in two years instead of dead in the water after five.

  17. Chris —
    When you make a mistake — who suffers for the ends of that mistake? The person who made the decision of the mistake or those who create the means of the mistake in the marketplace of ideas?
    The invasion of Iraq had only intent and not an end. Those who currently suffer in Iraq are not the decision makers but those who are stuck in the morass of bad decision-making.
    The problem with staying in Iraq for even a bit longer is that we have become them. We are common in the cities. We are ordinary in the marketplace. Instead of being hailed as rescuers or saviors we are viewed as the perpetuators of ancient wounds and historic tribal clashes. We have become part of the problem and of the country instead of rising above it all.
    When 41 hit Iraq he did it from afar with overwhelming force and then got the heck out.
    43’s mistake is one of lingering and of wishing and of hoping for an invitation and open arms to stay. When neither were offered, the troops immediately became occupiers instead of liberators and look where we are now: Lame Ducks leading Sitting Ducks. Only bloodshed and death will result from the series of bad decision-making that took us into the pit.
    If the Powell Doctrine had been followed using overwhelming force and 150,000 more troops and a quick and deadly strike was employed followed by an immediate rebuilding of infrastructure and respect and leadership, we could’ve been done and out and “victorious” in two years instead of dead in the water after five.

  18. Hi Nicola!
    Arbitrary ages for behavior and responsibility have always enchanted me because those ages assume integrity, honesty and understanding when rarely are those three fates equally mastered at any age!
    There have been evil minds that use young children to murder because they know those “kids” won’t do time because the law does not believe they are capable of murder at that young age.
    I’m sorry to hear you gave up on the crunchy meat pie! You seemed enchanted by it earlier today!
    😀

  19. Hi Nicola!
    Arbitrary ages for behavior and responsibility have always enchanted me because those ages assume integrity, honesty and understanding when rarely are those three fates equally mastered at any age!
    There have been evil minds that use young children to murder because they know those “kids” won’t do time because the law does not believe they are capable of murder at that young age.
    I’m sorry to hear you gave up on the crunchy meat pie! You seemed enchanted by it earlier today!
    😀

  20. the holy Torah is full of the word evil, right from the very beginning.
    in ancient hebrew the word for evil is ra – two letters – reish ayin.
    Ra continues to mean evil. Yetzer HaRa – the Evil Inclination – according to the jewish tradition, is the thing inside us that tells us to sleep in and not do any work, as an example.
    If you want to say that there is no mention of the word evil in the Torah you may as well say it’s a Broadway musical about segregation in the mid 20th century.

  21. the holy Torah is full of the word evil, right from the very beginning.
    in ancient hebrew the word for evil is ra – two letters – reish ayin.
    Ra continues to mean evil. Yetzer HaRa – the Evil Inclination – according to the jewish tradition, is the thing inside us that tells us to sleep in and not do any work, as an example.
    If you want to say that there is no mention of the word evil in the Torah you may as well say it’s a Broadway musical about segregation in the mid 20th century.

  22. Well the first instance of the world evil is in regards to the tree of knowledge. The snake tells Chava that if she eats from it, she will know the difference between good and evil.
    I think the point of having it there is to teach us that if we’re told not to eat something by the creator of the universe then we probably should just not eat it.

  23. Gordon —
    For those who do not believe in God or in a certain requirement for pleasing or displeasing a deity — are they evil by nature or are they incapable of being evil in your view because they do not believe as you believe?

  24. Disclaimer: I’m by far not an authority on this matter.
    The way I see it is, if you don’t believe in G-d, that’s between you and G-d.
    Otherwise, evil is in what a person chooses to do.
    For people who are not Jewish, most of the requirements would be considered by most to be ‘being a decent person’ – not murdering or stealing, par example.

  25. So God exists even for those who don’t believe?
    Then must too, evil, right?
    I like the “requirements” — they make a great deal of sense! Where did the admonishment to not eat the limbs of live animals come from… was that a common practice or something?

  26. Evil exists. G-d exists even for those who don’t believe. I can believe I’m hovering in front of the computer even though I’m sitting on a chair.
    The requirements as it were are said to be inherently in every person – the not tearing a limb is a way to prevent cruelty to animals though there are many ways to define that.

  27. “I know a lot of folks who don’t think you get into Heaven unless you are baptized.”
    There summed up in two sentances is the reason I started looking for answers outside of organised religion.
    Loosing a baby is tough, loosing an unbaptized baby is tougher – it was a faith breaker for me.

  28. Is paying taxes that are used to kill people in war O.K.? or death sentences O.K. from our side. Is it O.K. from their side? Anyones side? We are all irrational. Look at plants and “lower? animals,” please tell me why we should have dominion over them. “SOLIPSIS”, there isn’t even a word for it because it would make sense. There is no separtion between anything and it’s environment.

  29. The Jewish religion is waaay more lenient about that sort of thing. Heck, by some accounts you don’t get punished for anything you do before you turn 20, never mind 1. A baby that, G-d forbid, dies – there is no reason they will be punished at all.
    Our rabbis tell us that every soul has a certain function on this earth. Somehow, in some way, the baby must have done whatever it was that was needed for it to do.
    Punish a baby? That’s like punishing green tea for not being black tea.

  30. Dave —
    I’d love to have your reincarnation article here!
    Evil has religious intent in origin and definition.
    The law does not address good and evil but it does legislate right and wrong, so I think there is more than a semantic definition going on here.
    I also think those dyads means different things and have different intentions. The first is meant to punish while the second is meant to correct behavior.

  31. Dave —
    I guess you haven’t read the analysis of the embedding of fundamentalist “religious key phrases” that Bush drops into his public speeches. For non-fundamental ears the phrases whiz by, but for the carefully tuned religious ear, those parsed, purposeful phrases are hidden messages that Bush is on their side and fighting for their team. So, I believe Bush believes “evil” is a religious term with Garden of Eden intent.
    Reagan used the same shaded semantic iconography in his use of “evil” as wrapped up in God and country and the flag. I believe Reagan felt the Soviets were Godless. He wanted freedom of religion over there and he wanted the churches opened and “Evil Empire” is part of that coded parsing.
    It’s quite easy to be religious and evil simultaneously. Have you read about Ted Haggart? Jimmy Swaggart? Jim Bakker?
    It doesn’t matter what the other people actually are — the only thing that matters is your shared definition of the term is comprehended for the purposeful demonization — so the use of “evil” here may not have any meaning over there but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the coded phrase is being correctly interpreted by the ears and minds of the intended audience.

  32. Excellent topic David! Sorry, I am late!
    I don’t think I was born with any “evil” or “good” in me. I think it’s my environment that shaped me. I might do something utterly wrong, based on my temporary/permanent judgment/obsession that would harm my neighbor/community/society as a whole –
    But that doesn’t mean that I was born with it.

  33. Dave —
    It doesn’t matter what the Soviets thought. It only matters what those applying the “evil” label think and know.
    When an evangelical calls you “evil” and then calls a lesbian “evil” — do you think the word has the same meaning and intent or does culture and context and religious training change the meaning?

  34. I agree, Dave!
    It’s just like the Islamic Fundamentalists that call us “Infidels.” Do you feel like one? No. They feel we are, though, and that’s all that matters to them because the audience they’re seeking accepts and comprehends the label just as if it were our “evil” label we apply to them.

  35. I understand David! I am too busy figuring out why on earth I joined the PhD… 😀
    Jokes apart, I don’t like anything to do half heartedly, that’s why I don’t comment on a regular basis, – because I am either working on my assignment…or working on my assignment… 😀
    but I still read your post – daily, religiously!!!
    Let me know if you have any question on my comment!

  36. evil is a word which with a D in front becomes Devil.
    evil backwards is live.
    Evils is an anagram of Elvis.
    This means that the root of all evil is a lot of silly playing around with words and talking nonsense.
    Ain’t there something in the Bible about me my dad screwing my mum to produce me so I’m born evil – that’ll be the Original Sin. Can that be right?
    Hope so, because otherwise I need to explain why I’m not innocent. I’ve killed birds and cheated on women, just because my dad nailed my mum. Bliss

  37. Yes David, I am reading! and Saying “hello!” and letting you know that I am alive!!!
    The only thing is my “me time” of daily reading became late at night instead of early morning – that sucks! 🙁