Philosophy Of Evil
Lin Pyae Hein
Editor: Akani Ngobeni
What is evil? Is evil a needed force in this world or not? How does evil form? Those are the questions humanity should be asking ourselves before we begin to question evil in our world. The questions might be simple questions with simple answers, but even the most straightforward answers have the most profound meaning behind them, which we are not aware of yet. In the end, why do we not question ourselves? Even the most superficial answers can help us dig deeper into what it means to be human and what we can do for our nations. It could be due to ignorance or arrogance, or many other factors that have influenced human civilization, such as religious beliefs. Some people blindly believe in their God. I am not saying believing in God is wrong. It becomes an issue when we blindly follow anyone or anything without questioning.
The genocide of the Jews during WW2 was considered a crime against human morality but not the millions of abortions occurring in the US. Why is that? Is humanity devolving back into primates or what? Killing our children is now considered a right. Or are we just arrogant beings that view an unborn life as unimportant as the lives that are already living on their own? No, that's not it. The truth is that society's dominant nation or group decides what's right or wrong. In the case of the genocides of the Jews, the West, and its allies, being the more dominant nation, get to decide what's right or wrong. The case for abortions of millions of unborn children is made by the more dominant group in society, which would be the one with a fully mature body. Is it wrong that someone else gets to decide on their future, or is that evil itself? That is not the case with evil. We as humans can't decide on what's evil that easily. We are no Gods, just mere speculators hoping our speculations turn out to be the right ones. Then how do we understand the concept of evil more thoroughly? What we can do within our power would be to start questioning ourselves, society, and our peers.
To start with the first question, what is evil? The first thought that would cross your mind is that wrong causes harm to people and society. In truth, all our actions hurt people, whether we like to admit it or not. Let's say the US government passes a policy to build government facilities for the poor. That is a noble cause, but where will the government get the money from a wishing tree? No, it will come from taxpayers' cash, and tax rates will rise for those who don't have the means to avoid paying taxes. Is that an unjust act upon those who will now have to pay taxes? The government's failure to understand all these individuals' situations is like forcing a responsibility upon them to help someone they don't even know. Those who are now obliged to pay higher taxes for someone else's benefits, some people will start to view this change of law as an act of injustice upon them, while others will be happy to pay the higher taxes, that is if they can afford it. It is indeed an unjust act of law upon someone to make them responsible for someone else when, in turn, the person they are responsible for has no relation to them.
To look at it from a different perspective, isn't it the job of our fellow men to help one another? This would be the right thing to do, helping those in need. Human beings have only gotten this far by helping each other and building each other up throughout humankind's history. We couldn't have possibly achieved what we did if all those who came before us did it all alone without the help of others. Yes, humanity has indeed built each other up to get where we want to as a society or nation, but those responsibilities, for the most part, weren't forced upon us to help others. We did it out of our thoughts and actions, out of self-interest. The government forcing citizens to pay higher taxes for the benefits of others when it is not their responsibility to look after the poor is an act of evil. Forcing a person to pay higher taxes or give up their rights for another human being when it's not their responsibility morally to do it, even if it's an act of law, is an act of evil to force an act upon somebody.
Let's move on to the next part of what evil is: how it is connected to self-interest. Define self-interest. It is when an individual seeks out something or someone for their benefit. Humanity began as selfish beings seeking their interests; sometimes those seeking them benefit society, and sometimes they do not. Self-interest itself becomes evil when a human being forces their beliefs on another person if they disagree with them. In essence, what it has become is a dictatorship or a society built upon injustice, with only certain groups of people getting special privileges.
In contrast, others are excluded from legal protection, justice, and liberty. That is evil when a person or a law unlawfully forces them to perform acts that they are not required to obey under the direction of freedom, liberty, and justice. Evil is when certain groups of society are granted special privileges under any circumstances while another part of society is excluded from having the same opportunities as others. Not being given freedom, liberty, and justice is evil. Citizens and governments must both follow the rule of law for a society to function correctly.
Is evil a needed force in this world or not? That is the next question I will begin exploring. Whether evil needs to exist in this world or not is a topic complex for anyone to understand. Though a person might say, "What are you talking about?" Evil is a force that only brings forth destruction, chaos, war, deaths, and uncertain times. We don't need evil in our world. What we need is peace."
What that person said is true, though not the whole truth itself. Evil reveals parts of society that humans are unaware of and shows us there needs to be change, innovation, and unity for solid nations to live against the empire of evil. You might be asking, how is it that evil will show us deficiencies within society? To answer that question, why is it that evil surfaces once again if society was perfect? Culture has its weaknesses, allowing evil to bypass the law. Men will either react to this new evil with fear or courage.
If men were to react with courage, they would form a temporary or permanent alliance to fend off the forces of evil for the safety of their self-interest or society as a whole. There have been several instances where men have joined forces to better their nation or community. A notable model would be the American Revolution, where men of all different backgrounds joined forces against Great Britain. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and John Adams all whose ideologies differ from one another, but they are fighting for one cause, freedom from Great Britain. After the end of the war, America's founding fathers were left with a nation without an idea of where it would be headed in the future. There is a need for innovation, change, and a more unified country to be built upon this new nation. An idea that would forever alter the future of the United States was none other than the United States Constitution.
The creation of the United States Constitution was a brilliant idea. However, changes had to be made in the constitution to fit the changing tides of time to prevent any form of injustice and evil from surfacing again in this nation. The American Revolution was just one instance where men joined forces for their self-interest and the betterment of America. Countless times, such as the People Power Revolution, which occurred in the Philippines in the 1980s. Evil, in the end, does not always bring chaos, destruction, death, war, and uncertain times. It also brings forth innovation, unity, and change, but the good always doesn't win. After all, this is not a fairy tale.
We finally arrive at the final question, "how does evil form?" To understand how evil forms, there needs to be an understanding of the development of human morality. At the beginning of human civilization, it was a norm for a tribe to plunder each other for the survival of their tribes. As society progressed, a new model was formed. Now sacking was a crime, but the ownership of another human being was not a crime. At present, the request of another human being is a crime.
We are now no longer at a stage in human civilization where certain groups of people are granted special privileges. But in the past, certain groups of humanity attained special requests, hurting those beneath them or in a miserable state. Most of the time, people in a sad state of society have no say in how the government should be run, or they are deprived of materials that will lead them on the right path of righteousness. From this pitiful state of society, anger, revenge, and hate will begin to sprout soon to either fully grow into an oak tree or be rooted out before it becomes an issue towards society.
Evil begins to form from within the miserable state of society out of anger, revenge, and hate towards those who deprived them of the rights of freedom, liberty, and justice, plotting to topple down the existing society to replace it with the one they envisioned in their minds. Once the revolution starts, only one side can win the side with special privileges, which is also a form of evil, or the side wanting revenge is also evil. Whoever wins wouldn't matter as a society will be left in shambles once the war ends, and the winner will be the new guiding light for its nation. Let's say hypothetically, the side trying to get revenge won. They could either use absolute power and rule with an iron fist or divide up the power of governments into different sectors. The new rulers decided to use complete control and management with an iron fist to attain more authority, oppress those who disagreed with their ideals, use it for malicious purposes, and severely punish their former enemies. An empire of evil is formed if that were to happen. A dictatorship is founded. If it takes the opposing path, it will be guided upon a course of positive growth for the new nation.
To conclude, evil begins to take its shape when the thirst for revenge, lust, authority, hatred, and anger starts to get out of control and negatively hurt society. It is normal to have those negative feelings. We are all humans in the end, but one thing needs to be in control. We must control our emotions, actions, thoughts, and mind before they get control of us. That is when evil is formed when a person starts to lose control of himself and stray from the path of righteousness.
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