Born, Made, or Happenstance?
The answer has always eluded me, are people evil or are people made to be evil? Ever since I was young I could never truly grasp onto what the answer was.
In movies the villains were usually senselessly evil, being evil for the sake of being evil. But then in the world around me it was apparent that people were made evil by the people and environment around them.
As I’ve grown older I’ve looked deeper into the world around me and now I’ve become confused once again. People who are raised by alcoholics or abusers tend to become wary of alcohol and more loving and protective of their own children (though there are still the unfortunate times when the child becomes the parent). So does a negative environment make a person evil? Or just more prone to evil?
If that’s the case then is everyone born inherently good? And does that goodness come in different ‘levels’ of strength that allow it to last through negative environments? But… if everyone is born inherently good, then there must also be those who are born inherently evil?
I’ve gone and confused myself again. Perhaps everyone is born inherently good and evil, and the environment they are put into slowly wears down either part. One day some of them will give into the whispers of their evil while others will hardly pay attention to it?
So perhaps, people are not just born evil, or made evil, they are born with the possibility to be either and it’s all just happenstance.
- the ramblings of someone who would like to be a philosopher.
Confession of a Being
I am evil.
And good is learned through restraining our own.
When I was a child, I didn't know my actions could count as bad.
Until my conscience was built towards good. Until I was acquainted towards the difference of good and evil.
We have a values education subject during elementary, and I learned to be a hypocrite just to have a high score during a quiz and exam.
If morality didn't exist, then we wouldn't be able to categorize ourselves in good and evil.
If there wasn't "evil" to begin with, then we wouldn't be able to acknowledge the "good".
We build ourselves through restraint.
We learn to hide our dark deep desires just to be viewed as a person with moral, with respect in regards to others.
We just learn that being evil can be a hindrance to others.
Maybe that's why such law exist just to have a well functioning society.
In a lawless world, evil is predominant in such place.
Sometimes I couldn't help but agree with de Sade, "In order to know virtue, we must first acquaint ourselves with vice."
But at the end of the day,
It was our choice to be either good or evil.
It was our own choice to be evil today and be a good person tomorrow.
However my confession is still the same.
I am evil.
I just learned to hide beneath my veil.
Humans are not humans without the existence of both good and evil.
Money is just paper...
Evil, with regard to morality, as opposed to some supernatural being with a pitchfork and a fiery abode, is a social construct. (Both versions are manmade.) It is by group consensus that evil exists; it is not an intrinsic quality of perceived reality.
That which is considered evil varies century to century, generation to generation, country to country, culture to culture, religion to religion, town to city, war versus peace time...to name a few variations on what proponents of any particular view like to consider absolute, inviolable givens.
Evil does not exist without humanity to infuse it with meaning. It does not exist in nature.
Neither does "goodness."
Both exist as a result of humanity's attempt to maintain order so that people might coexist in relative peace in (large) settled populations.
When consensus erodes, when personal welfare or survival trumps the well-being of the group, all social contracts and constructs weaken and decay.
Entropy then chaos ensue.
An Irrefutable Stance If..
Are people born evil? This question can only be answered in one way if one is a believer of Jesus Christ. If one does not believe in Jesus Christ, then the question can quickly become, 'does evil even exist?'
God explains that man was never meant to know evil. This is apparent in Genesis chapter 3 verse 22 - And the Lord God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'
He continues in chapter 8 verse 21 - The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood..."
These verses tell the reader: Man was never meant to know the difference of good and evil. But, of our own free-will we chose to be aware. The repercussions of this became a burden for our children who are now born with evil in their hearts.
Is evil learned? No.
Can evil be battled with good? Good is the only way to battle evil. The only way to prevail is to continuously choose good. Just as there is only one way to receive salvation; through the belief that Jesus Christ has already atoned for our evil sins.
Hitler. Stalin. Hussein. Manson. Bundy. Dahmer. My God, what a list of monsters that sadly goes on and on and we are adding names to it daily with those walking among us with sick, evil, twisted ideations that they act upon. All had an unusual or difficult childhood...red flags going off. Things that were ignored. Were they born evil or did they learn it? That answer is above my paygrade but...I can give my opinion.
They all did horrible acts without blinking and seemed to relish at the hurt, destruction and bodies that they left behind. Families destroyed over their cruel sadistic ideas that were carried out without conscience. They repeated their offenses over and over again. No remorse. No intention of stopping.
I do believe that some souls come into this world and no matter what kind of environment they were born into we would have seen the same results. There are dark hearts and dark minds void of human compassion and emotions. Something is missing. What we recoil the thought of - they embrace. There is a dark side - a dark force.
The matter of people being born good or evil has been debated for centuries and will continue to be...no earthly being knows the true heart or mind of another....Evil does walk among us. It always has been there. It lurks in places we don't expect it....the darkness does not think or feel guilt, shame or remorse and is waiting to strike as others are living their lives.
Evil, a Glass as Clear as Mud
Evil is too diverse to say that it is something that a person is born with. There are too many parts. It is a learned thing, and for some it is all to easy to learn.
Here are some prime examples of evil that is learned.
An evil queen who wants to kill a kid for reasons only known to her? That is learned evil, an evil she may have even learned from her mirror on the wall.
A Ruler who wants to take over everyone, and force them to obey his many rules, a learned evil, maybe from school, or media, or their parents.
A little girl takes down every other little girl in order to bring herself up, is a learned evil, maybe learned from her parents or sibling.
No matter how big or small the evil it is learned. It is not a thing that a person is born with. And who knows maybe not all those people are evil, maybe it is the heroine.
Maybe in reality the queen was protecting another, and the girl who she killed was a monster.
Maybe the ruler was doing what was best for his people, and if he didn't do what he did they would be enslaved to another, much crueler person.
Maybe the little girl is bringing everyone else down, because they are stuck on a tall cliff and she can climb and take them to the bottom.
Evil is learned, and maybe, just maybe, there is no evil at all.
Aside from rare cases where someone's brain is born structurally different (like psychopaths) and it affects their moral choices, "evil" is learned.
According to Crime Traveler (https://www.crimetraveller.org/2015/07/serial-killers-childhood-abuse/), of a certain serial killer study group, 68% reported at least one kind of childhood abuse, compared to the 12.5% of children that are abused in total (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/06/02/318227196/odds-of-abuse-and-mistreatment-add-up-over-childrens-lives). This implies that most serial killers' actions were affected by childhood abuse, which means their environment impacted them. (Of course, environment is no excuse, and most abuse survivors don't commit terrible crimes.)
I recently watched a TEDx Talks video about someone who almost became a school shooter. He said that his family was very aggressive and his parents were drug addicts who abused him. He had to move frequently, was always the new kid, and was always subject to bullies. He got kicked out of his house and was homeless for years. Eventually, he bought a gun and planned to shoot either a school or a mall, because he had nothing left to lose. However, his best friend—whom he had lied to and stolen from—still treated him like a person, and he decided against using his gun because of that one friend who treated him like a friend. He now is happily married and has four kids. If this doesn't show that someone from even the most "evil" parents about to do the most evil things can learn, I don't know what does.
In the vast majority of cases, evil is learned (meaning there's no excuse, but also meaning most people can change).
an act of learning
when i was
a young boy
took me into the city
to see a marching band
you grow up
will you be
the savior of the broken,
the beaten and the damned"
well one of the trumpet players
stepped on my foot
and i decided to give up on my
dreams of music
and instead pursue a career
the petty wrong
taught me a lesson
that in the most tender of moments
there is the potential for learning
the depths of evil
in the events of the smallest insignificance.
Nature or Nurture
Are people born evil? Or is it sculpted within a person? There is a consistent correlation with every serial killer, pedophile or sociopath: trauma. Whether it is sexual abuse as a child, witnessing a horrifying event, or trauma in the womb, an event of significant negative influence must happen to damage a certain part of the brain in order for a person to be shaped into an “evil” person. Of course, just to clarify, not every person suffering from trauma becomes “evil”. Evil is not born within a person; it is woven through vulnerable, broken minds.
As a child, I believed people were born evil. Due to how villains are portrayed in movies and books. I believe they were created that way...
Now looking back and understanding movies more in depth... and rethinking life it self. Well, my life...
I have found that villains' are created by people who surround them. Often the ones closest to them. Mainly family. People who stab you the back, people that gives nothing but empty promises, people that take you for granted when they need a shoulder, but is never there to catch you when you need someone...
At some point, you get tired of being let down, tired of wearing your heart on your sleeve, and in the end; you just switch off your emotions....
and this action...
This action leads people to think that you were born evil, forgetting or overlooking that they are the reason you became this person...