Good & Evil

Remember that I’m not writing this for you. It’s for me. I’m not trying to help you – there’s plenty of others that can do that if they’ve got the time when they should be writing – or doing something else that might get them somewhere. We all need to help ourselves, and that’s what I’m doing: I’m doing this to help myself because at the moment things don’t seem to be rolling all that well. 

I need some oil on the crankshaft and a bit of a squirt in the pistons. It’s seizing up and I hate that. 

I was thinking about good and evil, those two stalwart and go-to labels that we use as an explanation for all the things we don’t understand.  

Good, ok. We want this one. We can be friends here because we could all do with a little more of this in the world. But don’t be fooled. This is over-used and an excuse. In my family of fools the term good is used all the time to justify stupid mistakes and general obtuseness; you know like the sort of mistake that could easily be avoided with a little bit of reflection or, god forbid, a bit of advice. 

They don’t do advice all that well in my family. It’s a weakness, see. So when they get shafted by the nice man at the door who looks like he’s so nice and so good but actually all he’s doing is making them think that he likes them. And that’s all they really want in this over-baked and shit-smelling world, is for someone to tell them that they’re liked.  

Oh he was a lovely man. He had good in his eyes. 

I tell them; I tell them time and time and time again that they shouldn’t be suckered into by people who want you to think that they like you because they’re preying. The trouble is that, because I don’t make as much effort to make them that think that I like them, (generally because I don’t), they take more notice of the smiling stranger at the door. It’s an opinion and where I come from there’s an awful lot of weight put into those. Often it’s all people have that they have some sort of a control on. Even more often, it’s a fixed thing. Immovable because to change an opinion is like taking advice: it’s weak.  

When he scams them they get defensive first of all and they shout me down because I knew all along and why didn’t I do something to stop him. And then this good man is suddenly evil. An evil man. 

Now I hate this idea more than I hate the idea of the good man. I hate the use of the term evil because what it does is passes on the responsibility to somewhere else. It puts the situation into a box that doesn’t need any sort of analysis of explanation because to call something evil is enough. It alludes to all the things that are evil. It puts them in that box so that when we say 

Oh he was an evil man. I see it now in his eyes. 

It takes away the responsibility and removes the idiot to the status merely of victim. Poor victim. Has the man changed? Nope. 

I hate that. I hate it because it fails to face up to the reality and it means that people never get to move on. The religious connotations remove the responsibility of actually facing the truth that this man was and is a human being and that he, as a human being, has done something bad to me, as a human being. It would be so much easier to dehumanise this challenge and deal with it as a separate entity that has no place here on this world and that I am simply unlucky. 

But that is simply not good enough. It’s the sort of shit that the Bible still spouts after all this time and the sort of shit that people who lack the intelligence or courage to face up to the truth come up with. Remove the unfortunate event from the daily level of things – it has no place there – and make it a beast. An anomaly that can be put safely in its box and forgotten about. Until next time. 

The thing spirals and it works on the macro as well as the micro. Hitler. We call him evil and nobody argues with that (we’re not allowed to argue with that sort of thing); people look at ancient cultures that killed off the elderly when they get old or ate dogs and horses; the vegans call the rest of us evil and there are few politicians or businessmen or pop stars who haven’t been called evil at some stage or another.  

Truth is, it comes down to opinion. Hitler thought he was doing the world a favour. I’d like to have thought that someone could have taken him aside and explained to him that 

Mate, what you’re doing, it’s fucking terrible. It’s misguided and most of the world thinks you’re wrong. The people who follow you, they’re doing it because they’re scared and they need their jobs. Adolf, you might like it but the world’s diverse. It’s full of people of all sorts of colours and beliefs and each of them, just like you, has a view. An opinion of the way things should be. What you’re doing: it ain’t going to work. It just ain’t. And also – get over yourself.  

Instead they called him evil and that missed out the whole dialogue and meant that no one was actually questioning how a human being was capable of doing what he was doing. It dehumanised him, made him a monster and therefore gave him justification to carry on. 

Look at the current president. Many people don’t like him or the things that he does. Often they call him evil even though they know that he’s actually a person with different views to their own. If enough people band together and say that his opinions are different to their own then it becomes accepted that he is wrong and they are write. 

It’s just opinion. There’s over 7 billion of the fucking things on the planet. Deal with it and make yours count. Don’t make monsters of people because that’s easier than challenging the human being.   

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