Most of my Quotidian Paradigm Shifts go by without comment from my friends, but once in a while one will pop up that many people will object to. Such was the case with this:
“Evil does not exist. Even the most evil of acts are committed by people attempting to do good. People are often misguided, but never evil.”
Part of the problem is trying to fit a paradigm shift into 140 characters, but the bigger issue is semantic. One’s agreement with the above statement is very dependent on your definition of “evil”. When I tweeted that PSQ, I was talking about people’s intents, but it was pointed out to me that there’s a use in calling a spade a spade…and even if a person is well intentioned, they can certainly commit evil in the world.
So, it calls for a Paradigm Reshift, which is also part of the experiment.
Evil is something to be eliminated. I’m pretty firm on this one, regardless of how you define evil. Evil should not be tolerated and must be eliminated whenever possible.
This is why it’s not practical to label a person as evil. A person might be immoral and their actions might be inexcusable, but a person is never something to be eliminated.Thinking of a people as evil makes it easy to also think that the person needs to be eliminated.
Even those of you that disagree with the death penalty fall into the trap that evil people need to be eliminated. Our penal system is based on removing people from society…eliminating them as a form of correcting society. This temporary fix is obviously not working as our penal system has several systematic failures. What would help is to eliminate the evil in society.
Here’s where the challenge lies…and the solution. If the person is not evil, but evil is still a thing to be eliminated, then where is the evil? How do we search it out and eliminate it?
People who commit evil acts are certainly a symptom of an underlying evil, and it is impractical to believe that the evil ends there. People are guided by evil towards destruction and if you seek out the source of the evil you can stop it’s spread. Thinking that the evil begins and ends with individual is naive and will help neither those afflicted with evil nor those suffering because of it.