Saturday, May 23, 2015

Evil

The other day I wrote a blog entitled Kindness where I referred to a bored customs agent as 'evil'. A reader challenged me on the use of the word suggesting it's too strong and I had exaggerated the circumstance.  I stewed on this and considered softening the word to 'mean'.

Then I went for a run...

Those of you who are familiar with the intense pleasure of running trails into a rising sun understand the effect on the brain. Garbled thoughts become defragged and are filed and connected. Some are deleted while others simply gel. Colours and memories become vibrant. New ideas crackle like pop rock candy on the tongue. A calmness settles in the brain as heart, legs, and lungs become one. 

...and I reflected on evil.

The word evil in the context of the essay is appropriate. Here's why.

The concept of evil is a continuum ranging from a little evil (e.g. bored custom agent) to a lot of evil (e.g. Hitler). To suggest the word 'evil' be used to only describe the most heinous acts is naive and let's us off the hook. We all commit acts of evil from time to time. Fortunately, most of us show remorse and some may apologize.

When one wilfully degrades, humiliates, bullies, hurts, or excludes another person or group, an act of evil is committed. These are small evils on the continuum, but nevertheless, they are evil. We don't need to look too far to witness this level of evil; we can find numerous examples in the work place, on the streets, in the news media, and on social media to name a few.

The bored security guard is probably a good man most of the time, but make no mistake, he committed an act of evil, low on the continuum, but evil nevertheless.

Just like all of us.


It's a good day to be alive.

Mike
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