The Weird World of Evil

I’d like to do a little speculating, a little exploring, a little wondering today. Come play me……

Let us first clear the way with this  miserable disclaimer just so we can talk:  I am not challenging anyone’s faith, doubting anyone’s truths, nor making sport of anything sacred, eternal, or inspirational. 


The movie Solomon Kane begins:

There was a time when the world was plunging into darkness and chaos
A time of witchcraft and sorcery.
A time when no one stood against evil.

Now you know me. I like to play with ideas and words and dreams. And the beginning words of this movie made me wonder.

What exactly is evil? What turns people into evil creatures? 

Let’s leave out the devil for a moment. The Prince of Darkness, Antichrist, and Diabolus, too.

Evil begins as a state of mind. A state of emotional instability.

Now most of us are emotionally unstable now and then. Many of us are questionable, period. But we don’t turn evil — we don’t kill or maim or abuse. We don’t haunt or terrorize or cause irreputable damage to minds or bodies.

Babies aren’t born evil. I don’t believe there is a code in one’s DNA that says “this one is evil.”

So where does it come from?

Is it bred into someone from birth? Is it manifested by abusive parents or negative sensations or  bullying at school? Is it a result of a bruised ego? A broken heart? An unbearable pain?

Hitler was an evil man. His part in World War II contributed to over 42 million deaths (and that’s a conservative estimate).  Was he evil because he merely wanted to keep the species pure? Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (259–210 BCE),  was responsible for the death of over a million people just because he wanted to build a wall to keep out the nomadic tribes of the north. Genghis Khan (1206–1227)  was reported to have killed upwards of 40 million people building the great Mongol Empire, having reduced the world’s (then)  population by as much as 11%. Did he manifest all that evil just to be the boss? An estimated 30-40 million Chinese died as a result of Mao Zedongs repeated, merciless attempts to create a new “Marxism–Leninism” China. Was he evil because he wanted all of his people to think alike?

Then there’s small time evil. Ted Bundy. John Wayne Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer. Scott Pederson. Columbine. Sandy Hook. Uvalde. The list could fill — does fill — pages in the history books. 

You see what I mean? 

These people were the personification of evil. Self centered, single minded, steadfast in their point of view. I do not one teeny tiny bit understand nor condone their thoughts, their actions.

But were they evil? Or merely misinformed? Misguided?

Evil is not the thing of sorcerers and demons. It is a human-bred mental illness that spreads from the host to those around them.

I often wondered why Sauron wanted to rule all the people in Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings. Or Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. Fiction is just as full of evil doers who want to rule and don’t mind killing half the population to get their way. Was it for the money? For the fame? For slights against their character, real or imagined?

Evil is so much more complicated than black and white statements. It doesn’t come from talismans or mirrors or crypts or buried crosses. Evil doesn’t arise from spells or enchantments or curses.

It is much more personal. Which makes it much more real.

You have to admit, evil is one of those esoteric topics that never really have an explanation or reason. 

Where do you think evil comes from?





16 thoughts on “The Weird World of Evil

  1. Personally I think it is not a right to get a child of your own, it is in fact a privilage that not everyone deserves. If you want to adopt the rules are very strict but juncks and drunks can get pregnant all the time….


  2. Horrible. Like their children are the same as a vase on the shelf. I don’t understand it, and I don’t think anyone sane does either. Evil is a big category these days. And it all stems from people turning off half their brain. Your example is haunting.


  3. Evil used to be a “man-thing” but more and more women are really evil too, renting out their own todlers for cruel men to please, just for the money, you only have to read the newspapers, it is almost every day young kids die because mum doesn’t care. A while back a young women left her baby alone for 2 weeks holidaying in Spain !!! Can you imagine !!! A young baby !!!!!


  4. I agree with everything you said. Conditioning can be so powerful. Unrelenting abuse, in all its many forms, can sooner or later break anyone. Some can come back and recover; others never have a chance. I think they are truly dead inside. Thank you my friend.


  5. I think evil starts when kids are still very young, they have very cruel parents or lived in a war situation and their brain is just broken, beyond repair, they have no feelings left so they go after money and power, because when you have money you have power, they don’t care about others as they have no feelings left. It may not be genetic but I think that if a child has a criminal dad/mum, the child is more likely to become a criminal too. And I am afraid that once the brain is broken beyond repair they will never be normal again.


  6. Well, I DID bring up Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones too ….
    Perhaps it’s a string that separates evil and good, and, inside some people, the string gets broken. No chance to repair it; life just takes a different — and opposite — path.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it’s just that we hear so much more about “evil”– in the media, across the world. But really there are many more people like you and me, loving all the time, helping when we can, crying when we cannot. They just don’t write stories about us in the news.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know very much about what flips the switch in a person to make them evil. But I find it easier to believe in the existence of Evil than the existence of Good.


  9. I think you pretty much nailed it. I hate to summon Harry Potter here on such a good post (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but in Half-Blood Prince, I think Rowling captured that origin of evil in what Tom Riddle *chose* to do with the circumstances in his early life. Earlier, in Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore reminds us that it is not our abilities that define us; it is our actions. Our choices. Are those evil choices motivated by power and greed? As detailed by Shakespeare and the historical leaders you presented here?
    Thank you for this post. Loved reading (and thinking about) it.


  10. What is evil? Is the lion evil for slaughtering the lamb? or a mother cat for eating her young? What one person might consider evil, another might not. Just as some good deeds do more harm than good. Is mother nature evil when natural disasters happen? or do the rules not apply for mother nature? or did we make up our own rules because we didn’t like hers? We may think ourselves superior to all life on this earth, but that’s just hubris, the truth is, we are all still animals. and we are all still at the mercy of Mother Nature.


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