Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker is a published author of two suspense genre novels and a short story fiction and non-fiction writer.
How Individuals Cope with Good and Evil in the Modern World
Basics of Good and Evil
Individuals today avoid labeling unless it has a personal advantage. For example, in business, titles can be distinguished or merely a means of identification. In personal lives, labels such as mom, dad, sister, brother, etc. have purpose, but are still a means of identification or clarifying relationships. But, what about "other" labels like good and evil?
In recent years, there is an attempt to avoid labeling what we know is "wrong," as "evil." Rather, the wrong is laundered and made to seem "normal." Can it thus be said "evil" is "normal?" If so, how does this predilection to refuse to admit wrong affect young children? Do we teach them to remove the word "evil" from their vocabularies and replace it with "normal?"
We hear a lot about "changing values." Is evil a value? Is evil a value that can be changed to appear more palatable? How does changing evil to be more normal square with the human conscience? It doesn't.
Human instinct, even in very young preschool-age children, is deeply embedded mentally. A three-year-old child who has broken a valuable vase, for example, is immediately overcome by feelings of guilt. It is up to parents to teach their children how to cope with human failure, error and right and wrong.
The problem for many of today's children lies with their parents' values. Objective views of what today's parents value may seem alien to parents of yesteryear.
Adults know there is a fine line between good and evil. Once the line is crossed, evil cannot be laundered. An evil deed done must then be ameliorated or atoned for.
The Sinless World
It isn't necessary to be a supremely religious person to know sin. In fact, history teaches us that many societies totally without a structured religion were perfectly capable of understanding the concept of sin. Sin may be another word for evil.
In Native American tribes, it was considered sacrilege to defile nature. Today, humans pollute the planet with no thought of the destruction of nature. The reason for this is simple. By reducing the culpability of each individual, masses of people no longer even consider the sanctity of nature.
In a sinless world, anything goes. In an evil world, learning to accept wrongdoing as "normal" or finding excuses for lack of self-control and self-discipline is acceptable.
How Far the Degree of Acceptance?
Almost as if self-control and self-discipline are aliens in today's world, the degree of acceptance of evil in many forms is absurdly shocking. We no longer consider lying a sin or, for that matter, evil. Today, lying is normal and "okay."
We no longer teach children that cheating on tests is wrong because they have already followed parental examples of cheating. It isn't possible to "Do as I say, not as I do," when parents provide the best examples of lying and cheating.
What about stealing? Presently, this is categorized under, "Who gains from the theft." So, when first you lie on your IRS tax form and then receive a rebate you don't deserve, that's not considered stealing.
Justifying the Unjustifiable
One of the most prevalent habits nowadays is the ability to justify the unjustifiable. There is no black and white. Only grey areas that provide enormous leverage for unjust words and behaviors. So long as it gets the individual ten seconds of attention and there is always the option of justifying one's evil or wrongdoing, that's justification enough to get anyone through the "ordeal" of too close a proximity to having to admit guilt.
Making excuses for evil behavior has become a deeply implanted trend. "The person is mentally ill" suffices for nearly all manner of criminal wrongdoing and evil. "The person was abandoned as a child by its parents," or, "The person was abused," are other of the lifelong anchoring excuses for refusal to take responsibility.
Mental Illness vs. Irresponsibility
Certainly, those who are certifiably mentally ill cannot be responsible for their actions. In the U.S., 50% of those with mental illness do not receive treatment. Then, there are the plethora of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia to name just a few. The degree to which these mental disorders cause severe debilitation depends on the individual.
However, identifying these disorders in loved ones and fellow employees can be extremely difficult. It isn't until their behaviors become erratic or in some way physically and mentally debilitating that those around them realize "something is wrong." This kind of wrong is not voluntary and therefore, cannot be held to society's standards of adult accountability.
Slipping Over the Line
Ironically, latching onto a medical term for many individuals has become their mainstay for being able to say and do what society would deem "abnormal." These individuals may have some form of minor mental illness; but, they behave in a manner of entitlement to slip over the line of what is deemed "normal."
So long as they can rely on a medical explanation for their behavior, they become ever more entitled to slip over the line of common decency and adult behavior.
Each to His Own Evil
If history teaches anything about evil-minded individuals, it is that they are quite prone to unusual degrees of narcissism. Imagine, if you will, your inability to see outside of yourself to the real world as it exists. The overreach of your all-enveloping world omits interference from others, even loved ones. Your self created dimension, your world. No intruders allowed without permission, right?
The few chosen to enter your wholly imagined dimension must "fit" into "your" world. When they don't, everything seems to go askew. Everything appears to be chaotic. In order to regain control, it's necessary to garner optimal attention with outrageous, possibly illegal or evil behavior. Think Timothy McVeigh, Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson or Randy Weaver.
Evil and Power
The engine that drives evil is always power. Without power, evil is like a car without fuel. It goes nowhere. Evil must have the strength of power in order to reach the extremities required to gain control. This power can be a shrill, militant voice, a commandeering demeanor or the use of religious tenets. These elements of power create fear. For evil individuals, fear is absolutely essential to their goals of control and the end result of autonomous power.
But, what about those who refuse to fall prey to fear? The evil individual must carefully craft a plan of action that strikes at the heart of each individual's most weakest trait of character. This may be gender, sexual preference, physical or mental handicaps, psychological insecurities or simply being too old and therefore, useless to humanity.
The Evil "Hook"
Every evil person knows all humans have an Achilles heel. The craftiest evil person has an inner radar that almost immediately finds the Achilles heel in others. Still, the evil person needs a "hook" to trap others onto their "line." This may be glitzy, glowing charm or discovery of an individual's deepest secrets.
The evil person believes that evil can only be built upon a solid foundation of power and within that power must be controlled over others. If they can convince the world outside of their own little dimension they are the ones who are "normal," they've already set the evil gauge low enough to amass followers.
Through mind control efforts that seem to the naked eye to be innocuous little "habits," evil becomes normal and an everyday part of life. Until children's natural instinct to ferret out right and wrong takes over and holds adults accountable.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker
FlourishAnyway from USA on November 27, 2017:
As evil as some people are, I find their apologists, colluders, and those who are complicit even more evil. They see what is wrong but often go to great lengths to cover it up and enable the evil doer. Trump is surrounded by them. Watching "Get Me Roger Stone" convinced me that Trump is not his own (evil) man but merely a puppet at the hands of forces much more sinister than he.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on October 17, 2017:
I grew up in an all male household with only my working Mom as the only other female. I know men better than some of them know themselves. When you are always outnumbered in your entire life by men in your family, your church, your jobs and your social circle, you learn by observing their behavior.
Most men loathe women like me because I can "read" them all too well and that keeps me always one step ahead of them. Yet, I don't claim that the super Houdinis like Trump and his Boys of the Mobster League don't work harder and harder to be concealed for who they are can't fool an entire country.
But, keep this in mind whether you are male or female. Trump and his bullies live in the kind of world you all might remember in those amusement parks where you walked through a room full of distorted mirrors.
Trump World is the distorted mirror that can make you look like a skyscraper or a short squatty tank. Trump World cannot live in your world. But, you cannot live in theirs for one very good reason. You have the values in your bloodline that come from your ancestors you can't dishonor.
How many of us would spend one whole refusing to accept the responsibility our parents taught us was part of being a mature minded adult? Trump spent October 16, 2017 refusing to take blame for the inactivity of his own party. Then, he went on in that same day blaming the Puerto Ricans for their inability to immediately wave a magic wand and make all of the effects of 2 hurricanes disappear all so he and his fat cats can save FEMA money to build a wall.
How many of us would then go on to bite that hand that fed us the party support by blaming that party as Trump did yesterday for not immediately getting the "job done."
But, that IS what Trump calls "leadership"...point and delegate like he does as CEO (Childish, Empowered Oafs) of Trump Organization where all he has to do is call out a single word, "Fired!" and his empirical status is intact.
How many of us would dump billions of dollars in bankruptcies on the rest of the country for no reason other than snookering business partners? How would our parents and ancestors view that? Worse, how do our younger generation view it?
There is no good in a money hungry fool who can't follow the straight and narrow if his life depended on it. He lives by the mirror distortion that for him there are NO consequences EVER for anything he does or doesn't do as part of his duty.
Distorted mirror reality has no ability to accept honor, duty or reflect real values as taught to all of us in childhood by decent, honorable parents.
How many of us would spend
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on October 16, 2017:
You call attention to an important problem in today's culture. The "normalization of evil." Unethical behavior becomes so prevalent that it starts to seem normal. Sexual harassment of women by powerful men--Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, for example--that's just how it is. If a man is a star or a star maker, women have to just let them do it.
Tamara Moore on September 06, 2017:
I greatly admire police officers and Firefighters. I know they help, and protect us :-)
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on September 06, 2017:
I did teach officers as to the "use of force" for Harris county Sheriff's Office. I also taught CPR, Professional Responsibility, Legal Updates and Crisis Intervention Training.
Do not blame all officers for the mistakes of the few. They will be dealt with by the administration. I think you misunderstand what I said. Perhaps if you read some of my articles you would change your mind. See below:
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on September 06, 2017:
Jay, Nice escape from responsibility. Do you want to be the one to teach this cop how to be a good officer? You bet you don't.
Sorry but when men like you try to bluff their way out of what we know is wrong, all attempts at feigning denial of bad adult behavior falls on you. No one else.
Men in the western and southern states live as if this is still Dodge City. Trigger happy guys with fists always balled up and ready for a slug fest. If these grossly immature and insecure guys can't get attention with that bully posture, they usually go the strut and swagger route, anything to get attention.
This cop was doing was all too many men these days think they can do and get away with...bully women into doing what women KNOW is wrong. If this cop is what passes for a display of masculinity, it would seem your gender needs a refresher course in closing mouths and learning to use your brains first.
That isn't how I was raised. But, your attempts to bat the ball back into everyone else's park but YOURS only proves the point of my feature story.
Try teaching YOUR children responsibility for THEIR actions before you preach gospels of Dodge City style parenting to the rest of the world.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on September 05, 2017:
I believe how children are raised makes all the difference in their ability to follow rules and understand why governance is the only methology to keeping the masses from chaos.
As for police officers, recently in Salt Lake City, a cop arrested a nurse on duty, after roughing her up and dragging her in handcuffs to his cop car.
The reason this rogue cop did this? The nurse was following orders and refused to take blood from an unconscious patient.
I am so fed up with men in this country demanding women do what women know are violations of rules and regulations.
This cop's attitude is NOT unusual. Men every day try to force women to do what women know is wrong. Then, when the women get caught, where are these men? Hiding from their own culpability.
Women are having to fight more and more often today to refuse to do what men tell them. We are not good little puppies who must "obey." When we refuse to break laws, rules and regulations for a man, he NEVER accepts her "disobedience." This is how so many women end up dead.
Time for men in the US to stop following their big baby instincts and grow up. This is no generality either. Women's prisons have a majority of women incarcerated because they stupidly obeyed some guy.
Men do not like the word "NO!" They especially hate that word if it comes from a woman. Ergo the reason why more women than men are raped.
Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker (author) from Old Bridge, New Jersey on September 05, 2017:
There are men in the world who have been "conquerors" for good and evil. I stand on the courage of my convictions that not ALL human are born with the propensity to be evil. Those who deny evil do so from the guilt within themselves and are, in fact, benefactors of normalizing evil.
Are all humans capable of mass murders? Are all humans capable of being trigger happy? Are all humans capable of being pedophiles?
This is where the idea that there is NO evil...only mental illness falls through the cracks.
As for not "casting stones," please. Would you have us not cast stones at the gun toting fool who walked into a classroom of first graders and killed 11 of them? Sorry but I do cast stones because I am a sane, rational human being who knows good from evil.
I cast stones upon those who deserve to be stoned. These are the people who sit back day after day doing just as the please to others because we have enablers who refuse to cast stones.
I'd throw boulders if a guy walked up to me and I saw him beating a child. But, you go right ahead and cast no stones.
Tamara Moore on September 03, 2017:
I write poems and various posts about Narcissists and Sociopaths. I found your article to be interesting. Yes, its true that evil needs power of some kind. I find from my experience with narcissists, this power comes in the way of their Flying Monkeys, and Enablers, among other ways that these kind obtain power. Yes, they do strike at peoples weaknesses. They hit below the belt, and make it as painful as possible for their targets.
Jay C OBrien from Houston, TX USA on September 03, 2017:
About HALF of all Americans will experience a mental disorder if we include old age. If we do not include old age, about 20% (1 in 5) of people have some form of diagnosable mental health disorder. There are 1.5 times more suicides than homicides. Mental illness is pervasive in society.
Good vs. Evil? Remember no one is entirely Good or entirely Evil. Do not cast stones (condemn) to the extent of creating negative emotions within yourself. Negative emotions Are Sin. We have the law to decide what is good and evil and Peace Officers to enforce the law.
threekeys on September 01, 2017:
You made some interesting points especially how "evil/harmful wrongdoings" are being normalized and white coated. If I use colour as a metaphor, it is where white is the new black and black is the new white.
If anyone sits on the sideline and does not act against "evil/harmful intentions" then these so called good people become the oppressor, the "evil" one.
Without going into detail and so without giving the proper context, I am aware of someone whose job stamps her with a position of trust and safety within the community, yet she runs a white collar gang that uses parents and their young children (and the elderly) to commit acts of harssment and initmidation together with gas lighting methods. Now if you have always felt protective of children and the elderly, a huge spanner is thrown into your worldview in relation to these groups.
I believe cities, suburbs and towns have a personality-have a soul. Sometimes there is a ill match between you and this city, suburb or town.