“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again” by Paul Simon
There is in our society a fascination with evil. We can see it in the number of books and movies dedicated to the dark side.
What is evil? That is a very hard question. The classic definition portrays a devil who is associated with darkness pitted against a benevolent and loving God. This devil has a host of fallen angels, called demons who go throughout the world tempting people to do all sorts of wickedness. In this rigid definition, anything outside of that benevolent God would be referred to as evil. Thus hosts of people fall into the category of evil.
Of course, many people would reject this definition vehemently. They would point to demagogues such Hitler and Stalin and label them evil. Of course, this is a very slanted view as many powers and personalities have done atrocious things resulting in mass murder and even genocide. We are comfortable casting Hitler into the lowest depths of Hell and praising George Washington, a practitioner of genocide and an owner of slaves, into heaven. By all rights, George Washington should be burning in the hottest flames with a whole host of other wicked people. If you think this is unfair then you are not allowing yourself to view the world through the eyes of the victims of George Washington.
Evil should not be subjective, that is there should be absolutes. It is wrong to kill, rape, steal. That is very basic. Yet the waters get convoluted. If it is wrong to kill then why do will celebrate war. In fact, the best killers in war receive a medal for their atrocities for their actions on the battlefield. Furthermore, the method of delivering evil shouldn’t matter. That is if one uses bombs from drones, or missiles or fly airplanes into buildings, relatively they are all equal, as they are all, in the end, the same.
Of course, most people don’t want to see themselves as evil. Keeping the facade of righteousness is necessary for a person’s ego. We don’t want to be seen as part of the problem but rather as part of the solution. So Wall Street executives, who with a stroke of a pen, cause ruin and destruction, would plead innocence. In their eyes, they are simply conducting business. To satisfy their egos they will come up with philosophies such as social Darwinism to justify their wickedness.
There is an element that I think we can all agree upon as evil. It exists in the realm of fiction and manifests itself in life from time to time. Serial killers are a good example of being evil. Yet some elements of the public have a fascination with them. Charles Manson, who claimed to be innocent, received a great amount of attention. He attracted followers and received many letters. To the public, in general, he was frightening anathema but to a small minority, his actions were heroic. It all depended on whom you listened to.
There is the concept of gray. That none of us are totally righteous. That in each of us exists negativity that keeps us far from perfection. If we are honest we will see our own flaws, but is that evil?
Movies that scare us have been very popular for a long time. I grew up watching horror movies such as “Halloween”. The plot was very simple, consisting of some psychotic killer out on a murderous rampage. Of course, the drama of the movie was intense, one never did know when the killer would pop up for the kill. It was fun being scared.
In my own writings, I have delved into the world of evil. Perhaps it is an expression of the darkness that lies within me. Some of my fellow Christians have condemned me for my efforts, what is there to gain? Personally, to me, I make a distinction between fiction and real life. I am in real life an avowed pacifist and I am against all war. Yet on paper, I am fine with depicting scenes of hideous rampage. I wish my ‘righteous’ colleagues would be more concerned with fighting evil in real life, like stopping war, rather than getting upset over words of fantasy.
I invite you to look into my darker side. Presently my two horror books for this week are on sale via Kindle for under a dollar. Check them out to be scared, enticed, fascinated and challenged.