Necessary Evil

Cassidy - Lenoir, North Carolina
Entered on October 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I decided only a few months ago that evil is absolute. For there to be light, there must first be darkness. I had looked at many ideas around me and found that the consequences of ridding the world of them would be greater than having the “evil” objects in the world to begin with. Sometimes, something humans consider evil cannot be removed. I believe simply in the thought of necessary evil.

I was curled up in the love seat in the corner of the room with a paper towel of fresh chocolate chip cookies on my lap and a glass of milk on the floor beside me. My father and I were chatting. I remember the subject had started with my boyfriend, changed to sin, and narrowed down to abortion. It was not the first time we had been brought to the subject. But none of our discussions had ever affected me like this particular conversation.

I will admit that I was not listening at first. The cookies in my lap were far more appealing and essential than our conversation. As the discussion progressed, however, we both began to talk about the benefits and detriments of abortion, sex, and birth control. I was interested now. When the talk grew heated, my father stopped me mid-sentence and spoke.

“Cass, there are things in this universe we call necessary evil. We don’t like having them in the world, but we can’t afford to get rid of them either.”

That single phrase left me speechless. I had always gazed narrow-mindedly at issues resembling abortion. They were terrible, period. Those words opened the pages of my mind in an instant and I immediately started reading the story of life with a new voice. I asked my father to explain. He gave me an example about how my mother had aborted her first few children. Her pregnancy with me had been pure luck. Only with insistent argument from my father had they kept me. He had told me that abortion had started as a way of keeping the population down. It was also a way to “rescue” someone’s life. Sometimes a baby could kill its mother. We ended our talk not too long after but, of all that was said that day, my father’s words stuck with me.

I see many similar issues in school. Although I may have a narrow-minded outlook on them in the beginning, as I look into them a little more I ask myself if they could be gotten rid of or if they happen to be a necessary evil. Keeping my father’s phrase in my head helps me to keep an open-minded outlook on most situations. I’m not perfect yet, but I no longer see abortion as frivolous murder. It is but one of the many necessary evils we have in our world.