Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Evil

I'm listening to some lectures on evil. I've only finished one lecture and we're mostly done with the second. (The Husband and I listen while in the car.)

I'm not a big believer in "evil." I believe in selfishness and apathy and ruthlessness and lack of empathy, but "evil" is so abstract a term as to be mostly useless. In my opinion, it's a crutch people use to define something they don't agree with. I like to be more concrete than that.

Also, "evil" is highly subjective. It changes depending on the person and the culture and the place within (or without) that culture. Whereas genocide, for example, is genocide no matter which way you slice it, and regardless of what a particular person or culture thinks of it. At least when you're talking about something concrete you can have a meaningful discussion about it.

Of course, I like to explore moral ambiguity. My vampires are a great example of this. From a vampire's point of view, he's a predator doing exactly what he was meant to do: prey on humans. I mean, the cow that provided my tasty steak dinner might have a few things to say about me and evil were we able to ask her. But I like to think I have my redeeming qualities, and my vampires do too. What people seem to mean when they talk about evil are blatant, obvious things. The devil that hath a pleasing face interests me much more.

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