Some people like to use the word evil.
It’s easy to understand why.
It’s part of our culture. Christianity likes to do the same. (Even if it initially was to discredit competing religions.)
It makes it simple.
We don’t have to look for complex answers to why people behave the way they do.
We can use simplistic solutions. We can tell ourselves that everything will be good if we just get rid of the evil people.
We can put it on others and keep ourselves safely on the good side.
And yet, it is an overly simplistic term. It robs us of the opportunity to a more real understanding which can help us deal with it in a more constructive way.
And that too seems very obvious, but it apparently isn’t to everyone yet.
So what’s behind what looks like evil?
One answer is trauma. When we are traumatized – whether it’s from social conditions or personal interactions – one way to deal with it is to react to it through dehumanizing others and using verbal or physical violence. And that can certainly appear as “evil”.
So what’s the solution? In some ways, the solution is also simple. It is to create a society where people’s basic needs are taken care of. Where food, shelter, education, and health is taken care of. Where there is less inequality globally and within regions. Where people who suffer receive help to heal and get back on their feet.
This is already in place in some countries, mainly in Northern Europe, although there is always room for improvement. To have this happen globally is a taller order, partly because many are opposed to it.
Some are opposed to it since it benefits some to have a great deal of inequality. The current neoliberal ideology, adopted by many in industrialized countries, ensures continued and perhaps widening inequality.
And ironically, some who are traumatized adopt a strong us vs. them ideology which prevents them from supporting policies benefiting everyone – including themselves. (We see this in the US, including among many current Trump supporters.)
Note: I am not blind to the irony in calling “evil” an overly simple label and then proceed to give a relatively simple answer and solution…