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."
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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