There is no evil. Do an inventory of this planet and you will find no living, breathing, menacing evil. There is just human behavior, in all its self-serving short-sightedness. Evil is a concept, a reification of an observed pattern. It is a useful semantic short-cut to flag dangerous (as in “unsafe”) people. But there is no evil per se.
The topic of evil has been a long-standing interest of mine and this writing is to acknowledge that a major cultural milestone has been reached in the discussion of evil. Read Simon-Baron Cohen’s “The Science of Evil” or at least a review of it by NY Times.
Much of what I have been blogging and writing about has been focused on compassion and forgiveness. As I see it, all human behavior breaks down to two elements of psychology: motive and effort. Motive is universal: we are all pursuing wellbeing, moving from minus to plus, operating – at core – on the pleasure principle. So, in this sense, we are all motivationally-innocent. No evil here. Just living. Effort-wise, we are all doing the best we can at any given moment in time. Of course, one’s best is safe and beneficial to others but another’s best is dangerous and even possibly sadistic. Why is that?