I believe in evil.
I believe there is sleepless malice outside of The Lord of the Rings. Whether you take that to be some potent demon lurking in the shifting shadows or merely the sum total of every selfish action taken by man is up to you.
It’s easy to believe in Good, the idea of righteousness and all things pure and joyous. But to believe in Evil is something else altogether. Admitting there is evil in the world is not terribly difficult. Obvious citations include Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and all manner of horrific events in history that are arguably evil. The difficult aspect of believing in Evil is admitting it in yourself and those you love. Admitting that one is not perfect is a necessary justification to live life, but admitting how our selfish actions have caused pain is something most of us are reluctant to do.
The vast majority of human suffering in our world today is inflicted by humans upon each other. The lethal blend of competition in scarcity and apathy for the less fortunate has spawned a society that has to keep itself in check if it wants to endure. As Madison said, “If men were angels, no government would be required.” But to state the obvious, we are not angels; even if our selfish intents do not drive our lives, they leak out from our moments of weakness. This minor leakage across 6 billion humans on Earth creates a sum total that is a veritable source of evil.
With that in mind, it is important to move against evil. It should not be some valiant crusade, in which we take up arms to rally for righteousness and then march off for victory. But rather, the fight against evil should be a struggle to maintain our own being. To express every cliché phrase, we need to have compassion, be willing to give up our convenience, and have temperance in selfishness. It is not on the fields of battle, or in the wake of natural disaster where we should be pursuing evil. Evil thrives on our lives at home, in peace, when we become accustom to our comfort and convenience.
So take up the sword of servitude and come join me in the battle against evil where evil’s heart pulses. Hold the door for someone, let that driver have the parking spot, and give the gift of a smile to someone you’ve never met in your life.
Unfortunately, true evil does not possess an expensive trinket that we can cast into the fire and destroy. That would be too easy. Rather, we must begin to accumulate the sum total of every selfless and charitable action we can, and hopefully we’ll create a world where believing in evil is far more debatable than the many notions of what life comes after this.
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