Root of Evil
The notion of “evil” has been ingrained in the mind of mankind, whether they are aware of it or not. Evil is simply defined as “morally wrong or bad.” Morality is a fascinating discussion in of itself, but that goes beyond the scope of this simple post. What we should begin with is the reason for morality – why does morality exist? Morality exists because, as a people, we desire a code of conduct that is accepted among the society. The reason this code is so desired is to satisfy our own instincts. Morality is usually designed such that it preserves those that abide by it. For instance, it is considered immoral to murder. Murder is an obvious example of preservation, most notably self-preservation. Therefore, morality exists because of self-preservation. The effect of self-preservation on the human psyche is fear. Fear is what conditions us to protect ourselves, to ensure self-preservation. Fear is what causes misunderstanding and misconceptions. Several mechanisms are put in place to calm our fears, such as morality. Since morality is a code of conduct, we know what to expect of our fellow man. It adds a sense of certainty and predictability into an uncertain world. In other words, our fears are calmed by having a sense of knowledge and control over what happens to us. Therefore, I propose that the root of evil is fear itself. Fear (which is an effect of self-preservation) causes man to react irrationally. Fear of not fitting in can cause a person to leave their inhibitions behind just to be noticed and accepted. Fear of a potential war can lead a nation to preemptively strike in order to “protect” itself from an invisible threat. Anger is caused by fear, whether the fear is realized or not. There are many conclusions that I can draw from this observation that scare me. To rid the world of evil, was God (an all knowing, all powerful being) created to give people a sense of security and comfort? This would cause fears to diminish, which in turn would reduce the “evil” in the world. That scares me… What do you think?