Do I Understand Evil?

A teacher once told me that I had a problem believing in the concept of Evil. I think that he was right. Then. I also think that I’ve changed, and although I’m still not 100% sure that any man is born a monster I am rapidly beginning to find it hard to believe in the concept of Good. Or at least in the power of Good to overcome Evil. For all the blood donors, the vigils, the Facebook profile overlays that have sprung up since last weekend’s shooting in Orlando… for all that, what does it actually matter or mean? The best will in the world is not going to bring back the 49 souls we lost that night. Nor will it bring back the countless others that have been killed all around the world in the week between then and now.

My problem with the world is less grandiose than good vs evil. It is simpler. It is a question: Why do we insist on killing each other? It might sound naive, you might argue that it’s something to do with human nature and a thirst for power or whatever else. But I still don’t understand why people find the need to take another human’s life. Sure, I understand anger – although I try my hardest not to let it rise in me too often (this week I’ve been angry for sure). But why must anger lead to violence? What is it about the human (and let’s be honest, most often the male) brain that processes anger and hurt into the desire to cause harm to others?

I feel like this is an area where I could read a lot of theory from Freud or Socrates or other men (and hopefully some women) who have had thoughts about this and written them down. And while I would be eager to do that, so eager in fact that if you have any suggested reading then please leave it in the comments, I feel that even when I’ve read the thoughts of wiser, deader men than me about this subject I will still find myself unable to comprehend. To really get it.

So maybe Dr Faulkner was right after all. Maybe I just don’t get Evil. But you know what? I think perhaps that is the only way I will be able to get through my life. By not really understanding Evil and hopefully by finding my belief in Good and it’s power again. Because as another wise man once said “All that is necessary for the triumph of Evil is for Good men to do nothing.” Perhaps it is time I started to do something, something actually active to fight back against all the evil that I don’t understand.

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